Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Can Admit it - I'm Not Perfect

Half an hour to kill in the library before class - blog time!

Now that I'm back in school, I'm reminded that sometimes, I suppose, I can tend to be a perfectionist, I guess.  I mean, I don't really think I have a problem...I just think everything I do should be perfect.  Right?  Some might also say I'm something of a people-pleaser, so when I'm a student, that trait manifests itself in being utterly determined to please my teacher.  (I really don't agree with any of this; it's just something people have told me.)

The truth is, I think the only reason I'm in school is to impress my professors with how smart I am.  They aren't being paid to actually teach me - they are being paid to admire my work and say things like, "You're just so brilliant, there is nothing you can possibly do to improve!"  I'm pretty sure that's what teachers are for, in my case.  If a teacher ever actually tells me that I have a weakness that I should work on...well, they may as well tell me I'm stupid and should drop out of school.  (Luckily I've never gone to that extreme! Er, um...uh, moving on...)

When I hand in an assignment and it's received with praise, I have succeeded.  When I'm in fifth grade and the sixth grade teacher reads my short story to her class as an example of good writing, I have succeeded.  When there is actually something I need to work on, or (heaven forbid) learn...well, then I have failed.  It all started in elementary school, when some well-meaning teacher told me I was smart, and the bar was set.  From that point on, I could not hand in anything less than superb.  I felt as though I had this huge expectation of me, that my teachers would be so disappointed in me if I turned in anything that was less than A+.  I didn't get the highest grade in the class?  Way to go, Kim, you suck.

In fourth grade, my dad sent a note to my teacher, saying she assigned too much homework because I was spending so much time working on things.  The teacher then went over the work with me, and explained that I was putting in way more effort than necessary, and that I was trying a little too hard to go above and beyond what was asked.  Oops.  Apparently I still haven't learned.  Only these days, I want to give up if I don't feel that I have the time to make something perfect.  I get very discouraged, thinking I might as well just quit.  I have yet to find that balance that most other students seem to have of just doing your best, realizing that sometimes life gets busy and sometimes the professor can actually do his job and teach me something new. 

But I'm getting there!  Today I will be handing in an assignment that is not very good - and I know it!  But it's not graded, and it's just assigned so that we are practicing writing...so I have decided that that's okay, and that I'll still be a successful student.  I can even spend time with my husband and my friends and watch a movie and keep living life, instead of being too wrapped up in being the perfect student in school.  As Bron, my awesome advisor at Long Beach State told me, I need to get a B!  I need to see that life will go on, and I'll still be a smart, capable person.

So...this post isn't really for anyone else except me...I'm psyching myself up for relaxing a bit and easing up on myself.  And I'm practicing my writing...for fun. :)


  1. You are too dang smart ;-) Why do you think I am always writing you! LOL I love you Kim and I completely understand what you are saying! Great words.

  2. Interesting...did we all turn out like this? I must admit that I sometimes look for the easiest route to an A instead of aiming for the top, since I know that in all reality that will be good enough for me. (Dad needs to learn this!) But rest assured, it's nearly always my goal to be at the top. When my students ask why I ended up with a degree in stats, I tell them that it was because I wanted to quit a programming class I didn't understand and I had to switch my major to stats to get out of the requirement. You're not the only one who quits when stuff gets hard. :)


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