Nobody’s Perfect, And Neither Am I

Ever since I can remember, I have been an over-achiever. In fact, I was even before I was born. I wasn’t able to wait a full nine months, and came into the world a full two weeks before my due date. (Sorry, Mom.) This commitment to achievement stayed with me through all of grade school and high school. I was the kid who freaked out over a B grade. I was in band, FBLA, choir, and took honors classes. All through my life, I have been a Type-A, driven, confident ball of kinetic energy. I don’t apologize for it either, as my family and friends will tell you.
Now that you’ve all decided you don’t like me, it’s time for some honesty. I arrived at Western in 2010 fully intending to hold myself to the same standards that I always had. I would earn straight A’s, lead my class, and continue in my conquest to rule the world. For the first year, that worked out pretty well. I took mostly general education classes, and I found them challenging, but certainly within my abilities. I had one job, at the cafeteria, and although I had almost no social life (or sleep!), I still balanced work and school.
And then sophomore year came. And, with the harder classes, I also acquired a second job. I started as News Editor at the Journal at the beginning of my second year here, after working as a freelancer. This new job, combined with my cafeteria work, meant that I was now working 25-30 hours each week, while possessing a full-time credit load. It was then that I found out that the standards I had held myself to for 20 years were unattainable.
This wasn’t an easy realization. Throughout my life, I have always been my own worst critic, forcing myself to go above and beyond, even when it isn’t necessary. I have to remind myself daily that even if I fail to attain perfection, (and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), I always do the very best I can. There will never be a time when everything is exactly the way I want it to be, and I have to accept that that’s okay. There’s a tremendous peace that comes with knowing that you did the best you possibly could.
I’ve also seen, especially in the past year, how important my friends and family are. I’ve always known they were there for me, but I’ve never liked asking for help, because to me, it looked like weakness. That isn’t true, though. When you’re going through a difficult time, it’s crucial to let those close to you support you. I’ve been learning to do so.
Now junior year has begun, my classes are tougher, and I received a promotion at the Journal, so I have a lot on my plate. Life has become an exercise in learning to relax, do my best, and move on. Admitting that I’m overwhelmed isn’t easy; it was hard for me to even write this column. I hope, through being honest, that others will be encouraged. Achievements do not define us, and never will. The new school year is perfect for a fresh start; take advantage of the opportunity to be kinder to yourself.

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