Perfectionism

  1. Hi everyone. In summer my GPA was 4.0. Now that I actually took harder classes Fall term (I HATE CHEM), my GPA has dropped to 3.78. I know, that is still good, but I keep beating myself up over getting a B in Chem. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, anyways to help? I have tried just 'not caring' and trying to relax about, but nothing seems to help.


    Sara
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   llg
    I had that problem in high school. Fortunately, I grew up and got over it.

    Seriously, extreme perfection to the point of obsession is not healthy. It is a sign that you have some issues that you need to think through and deal with. It's great to have high standards, but don't let an unhealthy drive for perfect school grades get in the way of your learning and ruin your life. I urge you figure out why you have this obsession so that you can focus on learning (instead of grades) and getting the most out of your education.

    Good luck,
    llg
  4. by   JoJo_Ga_Girl
    I know exactly how you feel. I don't think growing up has anything to do with getting over it either. This could apply to any goal you have. I used to obsess about my grades, classes, everything about school. Not because I am a perfectionist, but I really wanted a 4.0! I overloaded myself one summer(algebra, history, american lit and human growth), pushing to get enough credits to be a sophomore so my HOPE scholarship would kick in to pay to my tuition. I ended up getting a B in a history class AND a B in my Human Growth and Development. I have since finished my prereq's with a 3.9 and gotten the acceptance letter to the only school I applied to but still...I look at my transcript and my teeth grind! I am so over myself and my B's...I have done better than most and I have so much to look forward to. So, in my opinion, mourn your 4.0 for now, get over it and keep on doing your best. Dwelling on it will just affect how you do in your other classes. Remember, a lot off people would kill for a B in Chem. You aren't alone in how you feel.
    Good luck to you!
    Joanna
    P.S. I cooled off about losing my perfect GPA when my gifted 1st grader came home crying because she got a B on a math test. She's lucky I didn't ground her for a week for being such a slacker!
  5. by   llg
    Quote from JoJo_Ga_Girl
    P.S. I cooled off about losing my perfect GPA when my gifted 1st grader came home crying because she got a B on a math test. She's lucky I didn't ground her for a week for being such a slacker!
    I think this is a good example to use to discuss this topic. When we see someone else (in a situtuation sufficiently different to allow us to separate ourselves from it), have a similar obsession with grades, it's easier to see that such an obsession is not healthy.

    Over my many years as a student, I have learned to focus more on my learning and growth instead of my grades. When I was young, I focused more on my grades and other people's judgment of my work. But I have learned through experience that it is the learning and growth that is most important.

    I often learn the most in classes that are more demanding and in which I am more likely to not get an A in everything. It's easy to get an A in an easy course -- and that A doesn't mean much. But a course that really challenges my thinking and forces me to change the way I think about something or approach something is one that will teach me more -- but I will be more likely to get a few grades that aren't A's along the way.

    For example, in my PhD program, I wrote only 1 paper that did not get an A. I got a B+ on my Theory Development paper -- but my struggles with that paper lead me to ask questions that eventually became the focus of my doctoral dissertation. Stumbling on that paper enabled me to find the weakness in my area of interest that needed to be addressed and was an invaluable learning experience along my path of inquiry. Had I gotten a A on that paper (and an A in the course instead of an A-), my thinking would not have had that stimulous to progress as it did.

    Perhaps the OP should reflect upon WHY she did not get an A in chemistry and use the knowledge gained by that reflection to learn and grow instead of being upset by it. See it as a postive learning experience (which is what education is supposed to be about) instead of as a totally negative thing.

    If you always get an A ...you are not being challenged enough and not learning as much as you should be learning.
  6. by   muffie
    and twenty years later you work with nurses who's ways are not on par with yours
    so you bang your head against a wall every shift
    perfectionism is self-defeating and truly evil
    the hole in my head from banging it against the wall is rather large and messy
    do yourself a favour and relax

    congratulations on the wonderful grades
    Last edit by muffie on Dec 30, '06 : Reason: the almighty smiley
  7. by   rn/writer
    Perfectionism is the enemy of excellence.

    Grades are not an end in themselves. They are the means to an end. If you focus too much on the letters or the numbers, you can actually miss important things along the way (llg made some really good points). And you can end up confusing things like self-worth and life perspective with how well you did on your last test. I truly believe that grade obsession can have some characteristics of addiction.

    Of course, you want to do your best. But a year after you graduate, your grades will fade into obscurity. As long as your GPA is high enough TO graduate, crossing the finish line is what matters most.

    I have never once in almost thirteen years of nursing had a patient (or a doc or a co-worker) inquire about my GPA. That's a darn shame, 'cause it was a really good one.
  8. by   JoJo_Ga_Girl
    I have dropped classes I have had an A average in because they weren't challenging. I go to school to learn, not make A's, which is something I had to teach myself. I find more pride in the fact I have had my school's most challenging professor for 3 of my classes and was able to pass, let alone pass with an A. I know why I got my B in history...I wasn't challenged, I had no interest. I got a B in human growth because my teacher managed to take something interesting and make it nothing but bland power points at 8am after I had been in history class the night before til 11pm. But we also need to remember that nursing schools look at your GPA so somewhere along the line we need to worry about those letter grades. Obsess, no.
    My best friend just finished a double masters in business mgmt and accounting/finance. She goes on and on about how through her entire college career she maintained a 4.0. I just laugh. She did all of her undergrad and grad online through AIU. While well known and accredited, I was able to complete one of her major assignments for her without the benefit of a textbook or a business background AND managed to get her a perfect grade on it. I don't think she would be able to go into my chem lab and get me an A on an assignment.

    As far as always getting A's and not being challenged enough....very true. I have had a problem with that my entire life. I skipped 4th grade because of it. I have failed and dropped classes in high school...honors classes...because I wasn't challenged enough and felt extremely bored. I intend to take my education as far as I can just to feel a bit of challenge other than fighting ZZZZzzzZZZ's in an extremely boring class. I am taking an Organic chemistry class during the spring semester instead of sitting on my butt waiting for nursing school to start in the fall because I love chemistry.
    If you worked your butt of for your grade, if you learned something in the process, and you know you gave your all...enjoy it. You did fantastic in my book!

    And to rn/writer about never being ask your GPA. My business friend posts hers repeatedly on her resume!!!
  9. by   ginger58
    My dad was a perfectionist, my music teacher and I thought being a perfectionist was a good thing. I have driven myself nuts beating myself up and now look at it as a curse.
    Try to work on not beating yourself up while you're still young! Life is too short and you don't want to be miserable.
    Best wishes.
  10. by   CuriousMe
    Quote from rn/writer
    Perfectionism is the enemy of excellence.

    Grades are not an end in themselves. They are the means to an end. If you focus too much on the letters or the numbers, you can actually miss important things along the way (llg made some really good points). And you can end up confusing things like self-worth and life perspective with how well you did on your last test. I truly believe that grade obsession can have some characteristics of addiction.

    Of course, you want to do your best. But a year after you graduate, your grades will fade into obscurity. As long as your GPA is high enough TO graduate, crossing the finish line is what matters most.

    I have never once in almost thirteen years of nursing had a patient (or a doc or a co-worker) inquire about my GPA. That's a darn shame, 'cause it was a really good one.
    Well that's all well and good once you're IN a program....but it's GPA more than what you've learned that will get you in most programs. Most folks in this forum are still working on getting into a nursing program. You're right, grades are the means to an end, and they are the commodity that will get me into a nursing program.

    Until I'm in a program, I don't have the luxury to not obsess over my GPA.

    Additionally, perfectionism isn't the enemy of excellence, it's a means of obtaining excellence. When you strive for perfection, you may miss....but at least you're shooting as high as you can.

    Peace,
    Cathie
  11. by   stpauligirl
    Quote from orcagrrrl2003
    Hi everyone. In summer my GPA was 4.0. Now that I actually took harder classes Fall term (I HATE CHEM), my GPA has dropped to 3.78. I know, that is still good, but I keep beating myself up over getting a B in Chem. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, anyways to help? I have tried just 'not caring' and trying to relax about, but nothing seems to help.


    Sara
    Don't beat yourself up, Chemistry is a hard class.
    Your GPA is very good, keep it up and you will be ok. If you have more science classes to take try to get A's as hard as you possibly can. Unfortunately nursing schools require "perfect" grades to get in....if you have never been a perfectionist there is a good chance that you will become one while taking prereques. It's enough to give you a headache to "HAVE TO GET AN A" in every class to be competitive and I can't wait t'ill it's over myself.
    Hang in there! Keep your head up and do your very best.
  12. by   stpauligirl
    Quote from CuriousMe
    Well that's all well and good once you're IN a program....but it's GPA more than what you've learned that will get you in most programs. Most folks in this forum are still working on getting into a nursing program. You're right, grades are the means to an end, and they are the commodity that will get me into a nursing program.

    Until I'm in a program, I don't have the luxury to not obsess over my GPA.

    Additionally, perfectionism isn't the enemy of excellence, it's a means of obtaining excellence. When you strive for perfection, you may miss....but at least you're shooting as high as you can.

    Peace,
    Cathie
    I agree with you.
    I just talked to someone who is in the same nursing program that I am trying to get into.....THE KEY IS TO GET IN!!!!!! Once we are in it doesn't matter if we get A's or C's...as long as we pass to graduate and pass the NCLEX. Everybody will have the same degree in the end.
    I can't relax about my GPA either and the pressure to get A's in all of the prerequisites gets old after a while
  13. by   rn/writer
    Quote from CuriousMe
    Well that's all well and good once you're IN a program....but it's GPA more than what you've learned that will get you in most programs. Most folks in this forum are still working on getting into a nursing program. You're right, grades are the means to an end, and they are the commodity that will get me into a nursing program.

    Until I'm in a program, I don't have the luxury to not obsess over my GPA.

    Additionally, perfectionism isn't the enemy of excellence, it's a means of obtaining excellence. When you strive for perfection, you may miss....but at least you're shooting as high as you can.

    Peace,
    Cathie

    I agree with you.
    I just talked to someone who is in the same nursing program that I am trying to get into.....THE KEY IS TO GET IN!!!!!! Once we are in it doesn't matter if we get A's or C's...as long as we pass to graduate and pass the NCLEX. Everybody will have the same degree in the end.
    I can't relax about my GPA either and the pressure to get A's in all of the prerequisites gets old after a while.
    I don't disagree about pursuing a high GPA to get in. I do think there are many students already IN a program who risk losing their perspective and maybe even some learning opportunities because they continue to focus on their GPA for its own sake.

    What I meant by perfectionism being the enemy of excellence is that if only perfection counts, you can rob yourself of the joy of achieving excellence. Perfectionism is the unrealistic idea that nothing short of perfection counts. It is an all-or-nothing approach that can lead to sky-high stress levels, the loss of enjoyment, depression, and a negative self-image. Pursued to its extreme, this obsessive kind of thinking can cause so much pressure and grief that a person can even entertain thoughts of self harm. I have watched people go through this, and it is not pretty.

    Aim high. Aim very high. But keep a sense of balance and proportion about life as a whole. Don't waste time whipping yourself if you fall short of your goals. Develop appreciation for whatever you are able to achieve and build from there.

    Because we are human, excellence is achievable; perfection is not.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Dec 31, '06
  14. by   lisabeth
    I know very much how you feel. I made my one B in Pharmacology that I took in the summer semester (4 weeks). Our 4.0 is gone forever.
    Dont worry too much, cause I dont think they expect perfection. I think we are the only ones who place that kind of pressure on ourselves. Good luck.

    Quote from orcagrrrl2003
    Hi everyone. In summer my GPA was 4.0. Now that I actually took harder classes Fall term (I HATE CHEM), my GPA has dropped to 3.78. I know, that is still good, but I keep beating myself up over getting a B in Chem. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, anyways to help? I have tried just 'not caring' and trying to relax about, but nothing seems to help.


    Sara

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