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ERIC Number: EJ791395
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1086-4822
The Performance of a Lifetime
Burdette, Kimberly
About Campus, v12 n1 p28-29 Mar-Apr 2007
In this article, the author recalls and shares the first half of her college journey. Her memories do not play back to her in bursts of sounds or colors; friends or lovers; feelings, touches, tastes, or ideas. They play, rather, as silent images of herself that flicker disjointedly across her mind, the lens of her memory having recorded her experience from an observer's perspective rather than through her own eyes. Why? Because she lived those years paying attention not to what she saw or how she felt nor to exciting things she learned in class or funny moments shared with friends but instead to how she looked throughout. Rather than living, she was "watching" herself live, distancing herself from her inner experience in order to observe herself from the outside, in order to make sure that she came across as flawless. Aided by a college environment that emphasized the achievement of excellence, she puts all of her energy into excelling in every domain, from physical appearance to academics. She worked so hard that she finally squeezed herself into the feminine mold that she thought would open the doors to happiness. No one knew that the stress was killing her. She simultaneously hits her goal when she finally made dean's list, weighed ninety-two pounds, and was more weak, exhausted, and terrified than she had ever been in her life. The glory lasted until her stress escalated into a panic attack that sent her to the hospital. The harm she was causing herself finally sank in, but it was petrifying to have deviated from her facade of perfection. Because of the hospital visit, she had to miss two days of classes and several important assignments. She was panic-stricken at the thought that she had let her teachers down and that they might think poorly of her. But because of the support, acceptance and encouragement of her professors, she made the commitment to "be" herself rather than display herself.
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