“Even now, transcending grades, perfectionism still permeates my life, and it’s crippling.”
Jade Bowler‘s confessed love of learning lends itself easily to the practise of revising. From shots of brightly coloured heart-shaped Post-Its with key information to Jade absorbing everything she can from a textbook, her imagery paints the idyllic picture of a student. Despite this, her approach to school and exams would develop into an obsession of chasing unattainable standards.
As she opens up, Jade emphasises that she remains proud of the grades she achieved following her GCSE and A-Levels exams. However, she candidly details how her her academics habits have affected her long-term mindset towards her self-worth. Over her time in school, Jade admits to creating invisible standards that she subconsciously held to herself, no matter how small the test was; if she achieved less than she and her peers expected her to, it was deemed a personal failure.
Was there social pressure to overachieve? According to Jade, yes. “Being a high-achiever gifts you with this reputation of easy, continual success – kind of as though top grades is intrinsic to you” she explains. “I had this fear that every time I didn’t understand something, every time I struggled, every time I had a breakdown, I was further away from achieving that highest grade that I felt everyone kind of expected me to get.” Maintaining the reputation she had cultivated for herself was, ironically, now contributing to her damaging level of perfectionism and the paralyzing hesitation she has over starting new projects.
However, taking a step back from education was just the thing to remind Jade exactly what was important. “I’m learning to be content with just trying, and doing my best, and most of all – just doing,” she reflected, promising to not allow her reputation for perfection to stop “getting on with things.” Concluding that she holds no regret over pursuing ostensibly perfect grades, Jade takes the time to remind us all that we are not defined by our and that nobody is perfect.