Students struggle to become “perfect”


Nicole Schroeder

Junior Sydney Magee sits in the EEE room, scribbling away at her latest homework assignment. She still has a lot of assignments, quizzes and tests on her to-do list, as well as multiple standardized tests to study for.
With all of the time it takes to finish her school work, however, Magee said she finds it hard to focus on actually learning the material for each of her classes.
“I feel like…throughout the year, you get thrown a bunch of information you have to get tested over,” Magee said. “I feel like in order to play ‘the game’ you have to learn how to study a lot and then just kind of forget it so you can move on to the next thing. I think that a good student would be able to know that information and maybe not have to spend hours and hours studying it, but just know…the skills, not so much the facts.”
In fact, Magee said the amount of time it takes to truly understand the material, as well as the time spent in sports and participating in volunteer work, would make it impossible for a student to be considered perfect.
“I think there’s a difference between what a perfect student would be and a student who gets good grades,” Magee said. “[A perfect student] would be well-rounded [and have] good academics, but also be involved in sports and music and volunteer and stuff, and there’s just not enough time during the day to be able to excel at all of those.”
According to a recent article in NY magazine by Melissa Dahl, many people agree that perfectionism is defined as the need to be or appear to be perfect. However, Senior Juan Chacón said he believes there isn’t a singular definition as to what makes someone a perfect student, even though many students may still strive for perfection.
“Perfection is in the eye of the beholder,” Chacón said.
Freshman Layla Kheiralla agrees with Chacón and said she also believes it is impossible to be a perfect student. She said people generally aren’t impeccable and students are no exception.
“I believe that students can be really good students…[but] I don’t think anyone can be the perfect student,” Kheiralla said. “I mean, they could participate and get good grades and be helpful and stuff, but people make mistakes.”
However, Precalculus teacher Dennis Fitzgerald said he believes achieving perfection as a student is not necessarily important. Instead, he said students should strive to excel in the areas they enjoy most, even if it means they aren’t perfect in other areas.
“As long as you are enjoying what you’re doing and you’re learning in each of those fields, why can’t you learn something in Math and Science and English and Art and still be involved with music and sports,” Fitzgerald said. “You don’t have to be perfect at it all, but as long as you are enjoying it, then I think that’s cool.”
Nevertheless, Fitzgerald said it is important for students to still try their best in school and said he believes the best way for a student to be successful is to find the balance that allows them to learn well but still make time for other commitments.
“I think everybody’s different, and I think everybody, just like adults, [has] to find a balance in their lives. One person’s balance might be being able to juggle six different things, where [for] another person…they’re more comfortable just doing four,” Fitzgerald said. “And…just like with students, adults are the same way, where you enjoy and try to do certain things and you live life that way, but you have to find a balance so that you’re not overly stressed out trying to do what you’re trying to do.”
Chacón agrees with Fitzgerald and said it is easy for students who strive for perfection to work too hard and create unnecessary stress in their lives. Furthermore, he said he believes aiming for perfection can affect students’ ability to socialize with one another as well.
“Their people skills can definitely be tampered with,” Chacón said. “[And] if you try too hard, you’re gonna get stressed out. [Students] should…still strive for perfection, they just [need] to be more chill about it.”
Rather than trying to become a perfect student, however, Kheiralla said she believes students should simply try to remove distractions from their environment and focus on learning the material required in each class.
“I would say just keep your devices away unless you need them for research…and ask a lot of questions if [you’re] confused about stuff,” Kheiralla said. “Just study and try try not to do…stuff that makes [you] a bad student.”
Besides practicing good study skills, Magee said students should also learn the ways that they work best. In order to succeed in school, she said students should then incorporate these methods into their study schedule.
“I think organization would be a big thing, not just with your school work but knowing when you need to do stuff and when you work best [and] just knowing yourself,” Magee said. “Some people don’t need as much [help] as others. Some people know that they need to work really hard and if that’s what they want to do, they do so…. It [goes] person by person and that’s your judgement that you have to make.”
By Nicole Schroeder