Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

Perfect does not exist. We know this, it has been a line drilled continuously into our minds but is far simpler to listen to rather than believe. There is immense pressure trying to balance every aspect of adolescence and as full-time students, we are expected to handle it and excel in it. But what happens in those moments when we end up burnt out? You inevitably let yourself down when you go full speed trying to reach a standard that doesn’t exist. As college students, our culture and environment reinforce that our value lies in what our test scores are, how good we look, and the number of friends we have. This is all out of our control to an extent and that is why perfection cannot be achieved. You cannot genuinely achieve a flawless life in a society that is ever-changing and unpredictable.

There is a narrative pushed onto our generation and the generations before that women have to be a perfect image. Others have picked apart our outward appearances but the worst critics will always be inward. It is expected that we are thin with perfect skin and teeth, embodying society’s version of beauty from the minute we wake up, to the late hours we stay up studying. It is exhausting to have to feel the constant weight of looking our best in an incredibly superficial culture, but the good news is that you can let that weight go. Society’s image of the ideal woman will continue to fluctuate but choosing to stay authentic is the closest choice to non-existing perfection. 

Now the pressures of academic success are a whole other beast, being that we are fighting for a career and a future with financial stability. It is another heavy weight to bear when your main purpose in college is to get good grades and have a plan for when you graduate. A lot of us don’t have a plan. I have no idea what my dream job looks like and with practically two years left in school, there are so many blanks I have yet to fill in. But not having direction is okay, getting a bad test score is okay, as you are not defined by your lack of success because it is not always attainable. Adapting the mentality that trying your best is all one can do. There may be uncertainty and failure in the process, but growth will follow.

We will always find imperfections within ourselves and our lives. However, an authentic reality is far more meaningful than a curated one that causes you to lose yourself. Being okay with the ugly and uncomfortable is the only way to prevent this burnout from perfection. I will repeat this one more time, perfect does not exist. Listen to what that represents for you in the different aspects of your life, whether it is in school, your relationships, etc. Be proud of what you accomplish rather than letting your mistakes defeat you along the way.

Sydney Kumor

Virginia Tech '25

Virginia Tech junior majoring in Business Management with a minor in Political Science. Part of the Her Campus writing team with a strong passion for creative writing, cooking and coffee!