Why being an Academic Perfectionist is a good thing

Ayla is 21-years-old and is studying Screenwriting and Film Studies. Her favourite poet is Sylvia Plath. Ayla decided to get involved with Student Life to share her thoughts in a hope that they will inspire others.

Last month, I discussed the issue of academic perfectionism, especially in a university environment. While addressing the implications of academic perfectionism, I also signposted support systems and ways it can be managed. However, this month I would like to do something more light-hearted and address why we should embrace academic perfectionism. Hopefully these tips should help anyone show that academic perfectionism can be a strength, rather than a weakness.

You have impeccable attention to detail

Heard of the scenario that you should never say that being a perfectionist is your greatest weakness in a job interview? I’m not suggesting that you should get on board with this in such a situation, but being a perfectionist can be a good thing. Think about it this way. You’re so focused on getting it right the first time that you will look at every single detail. I’m often told that my brain works differently to everyone else because I think of things in unique ways. While I’m looking at the small details, I’m also looking at the bigger picture. This is what makes you stand out. 

You are committed to things

Commitment is something that everyone appreciates and perfectionists are extremely committed to their work. You have dedicated a lot of time to something. This is rare. It’s always been drummed into me that if you work hard, you will get results. Nonetheless, everyone has times when they don’t achieve what they want. But, the important thing is to keep trying, and that’s one of the greatest strengths that perfectionists have. 

You adapt to failure

Failure is inevitable. Everyone has failed at something in their life such as an exam, or driving test, for instance. But the important thing is to not define yourself, or your abilities, by this one particular failure. Perfectionists are good at striving to do better because they lay out enough time and effort. They are good at getting over things. Although the dangers of perfectionism are that you obsess and doubt small details, take these failures in your stride to focus on the bigger picture. Small steps will enable you to make bigger changes.