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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

Call me a Type A Personality

“You need to loosen up,” was the most recent piece of advice offered to me by a well-intentioned friend. He said it as though I had not heard that same thing time and time again, or as though I don’t tell myself that very thing over and over every day. Throughout my life, I have always been considered the “tightly wound” friend who just never seemed to relax. In high school, I refused to even consider the possibility that I was too task driven and often reacted by placing the blame on others. I chose to believe that other people weren’t motivated enough and that they were lazy. It wasn’t until very recently that I started to realize I was the odd one out. 

The best way I can describe myself is as possessing an all-consuming inability to relax. I always have to be doing something because if I am not, in my mind I am wasting potentially productive time. I obsess over planning out my schedule in order to maximize my efficiency. Many of my waking moments are spent thinking about what I can do next. I find myself constantly analyzing my past mistakes to determine how to best avoid them in the future. Hours upon hours are spent perfecting everything that I do because I don’t see failure as an option. To find this time, I brush aside social events, emotional stability and mental health.

This semester, I began by packing my schedule full of classes, and when that wasn’t enough I added a few clubs to the mix. Of course, I just couldn’t be satisfied so I began volunteering weekly. After a while, it felt unacceptable to remain without a job so I began working as a nanny. And yet, I still felt I could do more which led to me joining a cognitive development lab on campus.

I can’t give an exact date of when I realized my actions were problematic, but it happened soon after my arrival at college last fall. It finally hit me when I was surrounded by peers who had been accepted into the same university as me that you don’t have to be high-strung to be accomplished. All around me, I watched people flourishing in their academic careers while also enjoying their social life and spending time relaxing. So then I was left with one question: why am I like this?

So much of my time was spent working or completing assignments that it’s all I ever seemed to do. My “free time” consisted of tasks such as reading emails and organizing my google calendar. In comparison, it was a rare occurrence to find me watching a movie or spending time with friends. As you might suspect, all that work was horrible for me. I found myself drowning in a sea of responsibility and overwhelmed by the thought of failure. Finally, I reached my breaking point when I realized the only thing I truly looked forward to was checking the next item of my to do list.

Nevertheless, this is not to say that it has been all bad. Having a drive to strive towards the best has opened countless opportunities for me. I have gained new skills and have accomplished things I am proud of. Being a workaholic is one of my most powerful traits, but I’ve learned that if it’s not managed it is also self-destructive. With the help of my therapist, my friends and my family I have learned to relax, at least a little. I now know that every once in a while it’s okay to put off a task to watch a movie with my roommates or eat some ice cream. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be perfect. But, I am getting better, and that’s what matters to me most.

Kendall Callery

Wisconsin '26

Kendall is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Managing Editor for UW's Her Campus chapter. Writing is a way for her to share her bold takes and unique personality. Not only is she a perfectionist at heart but she is also a coffee, baked goods, and horror movies addict.