NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ791394
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1086-4822
Never Perfect Enough
Landphair, Juliette
About Campus, v12 n1 p25-27 Mar-Apr 2007
What exactly is perfect? Students describe perfection as a combination of characteristics valued by their peer culture: intelligence, thin and fit physical appearance, social poise. As students chug through their daily lives--morning classes, organization meetings, club sports practice or the gym, dinner, another class, more meetings, library, sleep for four or five hours, and start all over again--they consistently observe and internalize peer messages about what is right and what is wrong. It is "right" to make good grades, to appear thin, to seem unflappable. It is wrong to seek out help, to be over a size six, to be different. Of course, there is no such thing as perfect. In striving for a perfection that does not exist, students never feel completely competent. This omnipresent sense of inadequacy mingles with the desire to hide any manifestations of imperfection, including stress, depression, and bad grades. Students keep their anxiousness and pain to themselves; the few who end up in the author's office have reached a boiling point of stress and anxiety, and even then, they dread thinking that others--primarily other students--will somehow find out that they are in need of help. Educators may be able to address perfectionism by enlisting the input of the "victims" themselves. Several students worked with their residence life staff on a campaign about perfectionism that emphasized the negative consequences of striving to be perfect; it included a panel of well-liked faculty, staff, and student leaders who discussed their success as a patchwork of accomplishments, setbacks, mistakes, and basic good luck. (Contains 3 notes.)
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A