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Perfection Does Not Exist

Woman standing Nina Ulhikova Our society is evolving, and the goal of perfection is moving with it. Social media has created the standard for every aspect of our lives whether it's the college experience, beauty standard, or the image of success. We kill ourselves to emulate perfection when in reality, a true definition of it does not exist. Have we stepped back to think about who we have let define what perfection is? For years, I’ve struggled with trying to be the perfect friend, sister, daughter, and student. Eventually, trying to reach an unachievable goal in each of those roles led to extreme burnout. Ultimately, I created a false self-image and being put on a platform consistently created more pressure than I could take. So, instead of scrolling through Instagram trying to live up to the perfection showcased in everyone else’s lives, let’s create our definition of perfection. The best part? Your definition can be manipulated by you and you only, you are in control of what perfection is. 

Even though social media is one of the most influential forces in society, there are plenty of other factors that influence how we define perfection. The connections we make outside of ourselves also play a huge role in this process. Personally, as the oldest sibling in my family, I constantly felt like I needed to be an example. Being a positive example of my siblings became my biggest motivation, but it’s also where I felt crushing pressure. I started to get into the habit of defining myself based on what I’ve achieved rather than who I was on the inside. My identity was created based on being the example for my siblings and nothing I ever did was solely for me. Was I extremely focused? Yes, but at the same time, I became resentful and unhappy. My idea of perfection was created by everyone else, and I felt trapped. Suddenly, I could not make any mistakes because I was supposed to be “the example.” It was not until recently did I realize that even though our greatest role models are perfect in our eyes, they are not exempt from making a mistake and learning from it. Their mistakes are what makes them admirable, and that goes for us as well. 

Over the past few months, I’ve learned that as college students stress comes from all angles. The drive to achieve the ideal success only adds to it. We spend four years trying to build the best future for ourselves and sometimes that can be more pressure than we can physically, mentally and emotionally bear. The college experience is a unique one because even though we are focused on our present academics, we also have to lockdown internships, Co-ops, and job opportunities to prepare for our desired careers. Society has formed this image of what the college experience is supposed to look like, and we overwork ourselves trying to get there. The reality is, everyone, experiences college differently and we shouldn’t spend these precious years of lives trying to live up to unrealistic standards. A universal image of perfection does not exist even in the realm of a college student. 

From body image to academics, society does not define our definition of perfection- we do! Our world is consumed by the media and other outside influences so it can be hard to have this mindset. It’s time to come to the realization that times are changing and as powerful women we can’t let society dictate the standards we have for ourselves.