“Perfectionism” At Cambridge: The Reality of Balancing Quality and Quantity

Cambridge, United Kingdom – A student at Cambridge University reflects on the challenge of perfectionism in the academic environment and how it has affected their experience. As a perfectionist with OCD, the student recounts their struggle to maintain their high standards in the face of the rigorous workload and time constraints at Cambridge.

The student describes how their pursuit of perfection extended to every aspect of their academic journey, from UCAS and Oxbridge applications to their coursework and grades. However, upon entering Cambridge, they quickly realized that the demanding workload and tight deadlines did not allow for the same level of meticulousness they had applied in the past. The student had to learn to accept that sometimes “good enough is good enough” and adapt to the reality of the Cambridge timeframe.

Navigating the balance between perfectionism and the limitations of time became a daunting task for the student. They found themselves trading success defined by perfectionism and quality for success defined by quantity. This shift in mindset was necessary for their mental well-being and their ability to manage the workload effectively.

Despite the need for detachment from their perfectionist tendencies, the student acknowledges the struggle of sacrificing the quality of their work for the sake of meeting deadlines. They grapple with finding a healthy balance and attempting to partially return to their perfectionist roots while managing their neurodivergency.

In the end, the student emphasizes the importance of finding a compromise that allows them to take the time they need without compromising their mental well-being. They recognize that Cambridge is more of a marathon than a sprint and hope to find a delicate balance between quality and quantity in their academic pursuits. The student’s journey sheds light on the challenges faced by many students in academic environments and the need to adapt and find a healthy approach to perfectionism.