Confessions of a Control Freak

If you're a collegiette who tends to plan things a little too carefully, care about things a little too deeply, or take charge of situations on your own a little too often, chances are you may have been called a "control freak" at least once throughout your educational career. For now, let's not delve into all the reasons why calling someone -- particularly females -- a "control freak" can be so wrong. Instead, the purpose of this article is to let you all know that you are not alone. We understand your need to feel in control of your life, and it is valid.

From one collegiette control freak to another, here are some confessions. 

1. Yes, I am very aware that I feel the constant need to control things.

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It's not that we want to be "uptight" about everything. Rather, it's that we are more comfortable and feel calmer when we know we have handle and control over situations that affect our daily lives.

2. I know I may come across as pushy at times.  

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Ahh, back at it again with the gendered insults. Well, the truth is we know we can sometimes be perceived as "pushy" or overbearing. Again, it's not on purpose. Often times, the pushiness comes through because we're working on a project/assignment/etc that we care about deeply, and we just want to make sure that it runs smoothly and is the best it can be.

3. I can get slightly on edge when I'm in a situation where I feel out of control.

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Okay, very on edge. But it's a natural response! 

4. But do not, under any circumstance, tell me to just "calm down" or "let it go."

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You may think it's helpful, and maybe it's coming from a good place, but just don't say it. First of all, I'm not Elsa from Frozen. Second, saying "just calm down" is probably the most passive aggressive piece of advice we hear all the time. If we're panicking over the feeling of being out of control, a better way to offer help is to remind us to pause and breathe deeply, or to simply listen to us vent. 

5. Because the reality is, there are real reasons why I can't "just relax." 

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In many cases, issues of control can stem from anxiety and/or OCD disorders. These are conditions that we live with, not that define our entire being. So please, don't make us feel bad about it. Here is a helpful link which lists and defines common adult mental health disorders.   

6. I often feel the need to be in control because I have so many things on my plate.

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As collegiettes, we are busy bees! Balancing coursework, a job, an internship, research assistantship, etc. takes a lot of time and planning where control is necessary. We just want to be our best selves. 

7. Needing to be in constant control also applies to others' perception of me.

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We know it's unrealistic to expect everyone to like us...but that doesn't mean we're going to stop trying to get people to like us. (Which can be unhealthy; WE KNOW AND WE'RE WORKING ON IT)

8. I may or may not need constant reassurance from those closest to me.

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Particularly during these times of high stress. Another academic year is coming to a close, and many of us graduating are feeling like we're spinning completely out of control. Everything up to this point has been structured and guided, but now the future is ours (and it's horrifying)! 

9. I have very high expectations for myself and for those around me.

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Because we not only want to make others proud, but we want to be proud of ourselves (even if it means being a little extra "pushy").

10. Because at the end of the day, the things I worry most about controlling are the same things that I care most about.

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And this shows both in our quality of work and the professional relationships we build. No, it may not be ideal to be a "control freak," but there is a lot to be said about a woman who is passionate and hard-working.