Last week, we ran a workshop on perfectionism at the Academic Success Centre. The number of students who showed up was relatively small, but the issue is…HUGE and very, very complicated. University in general—and U of T in particular—does seem to endorse the notion of perfection: the object of all our labours is the exquisitely unsullied, simply pristine 4.0 GPA. As the participants talked, it became apparent that they (okay, okay, that we) shared the belief that perfection—oh, if only one could ( “but of course,” we murmured with a modicum of false humility, “one can’t, can one?”) achieve it—would transform us: timid, we would become brave; lonely, we would become popular; dull, we would become razor-sharp; reviled, we would become loved.
Tonight, when, in all likelihood, I should have been doing something else (did I mention that there’s a connection between perfectionism and procrastination?), I was reading a friend’s blog and came upon this quotation. I’d like to share it with the participants in last week’s workshop…and with anyone else who (caught up in a ceaseless—and, undoubtedly, somewhat tiring and tiresome—quest for something approximating perfection) had hoped to come to the workshop but didn’t dare take the time away from their studies to do so: