You Are (Not) Perfect

And that’s okay.

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The brain mirrors imperfections and mistakes as failures instead of an education process. Many teens are faced with the cruel reality we live in and with the cruel standards we live by. If you were to ask anyone if they have ever felt like they were not good enough, you will hear a definite yes. But what about Gen Zs standards? How have they morphed into what they are today?  

Social media is on the rise with everyone coming together in the search of their own sublimity. The problem is, while everyone hunts to find this unique style and distinctive individualism, it is all an impressing game. These actions are not even thought about anymore. Using probing eyes scanning a simple photo to make sure there are not any imperfections; a flooded camera roll that is not approved of. Social media has crumbled people’s view of the idea of perfectionism and they are now subconscious choices being made every second: how we stand, how we talk, how we dress, how we wear our backpacks, and so many more. Especially in a high school setting where the look of being trendy and being your own are all that matters to the outside world. Or so we think.

If you were to ask people that walk by you every day in the hallway, most would not even bat an eye. The corruption of a teenager’s brain is morphing to think everyone is against you and you are not and never will be perfect. Current trends have started to be made where being the truest you, being as different as possible, is truly what makes you interesting. But what does this change bring to the table, because kids will continue to compare each other down to a T. “Does this make me look fat? Ugly? Not cool enough?” These situations of juxtapose, putting yourself next to another, the rise of eating disorders, depression, social anxiety and so many more, are through the roof due to one cause: the idea you are not perfect. This idea is not only reflected in beauty standards in the naked eye but in a classroom too. 

Being not good enough is one of the scariest feelings and one of the most mutually felt by adolescents everywhere. The struggle of managing a status quo of being a perfect student, getting into the perfect college, and getting the perfect grades is something many students fall into. The infatuation with your student rank or how high that A can go sometimes drives kids over the edge. The constant need and want for increasingly more and never feeling content and good enough in your one place of education creates the fear of failure and imperfection.  

     Students are held to an expectation that there is a need to be the best in a room. While many could argue this is a good headspace to have, where is the line drawn from motivation to borderline insanity? Students like Amy Lu (10), top of her class and excels in every class she has; while helping to manage a family restaurant, sport, and clubs, as well as being held to the expectation of her brother, Denny Lu, who just entered Harvard.

On the outside many look at Amy Lu as the perfect student, put together and charismatic, but when having a sit-down conversation with the idealism around perfection she expressed just how stressful it is. She said one piece of advice that helps her not lose herself in this concept is the future is not definite. No one knows exactly where they will be in so many years. While having goals and an idea of an estimate of where that may be, no one truly knows. You can always strive for the best version of yourself but learning to accept disappointment and bumps in the road is a huge step to greatness.  

There was a mutuality in all students, saying that no matter the pressure they are under, they buckle through it. Speaking to Caroline Stahley, she verbalized on how her main outlet through all of this was the people around her. Talking through her issues aided her, reaching out for help and calming herself down through things she loves. Many people bury themselves in their work which makes them so successful, but many lose themselves when the dust settles. Finding a balance between these two items can be an impenetrable task but there are ways through it. 

Understanding no one is perfect and no matter how far you strive, you will always be you, and it is up to only you to create and define the best version of yourself. Even if that means cutting out a club to soften your load and put more energy into something you love. School is important, but so is your well-being. You should not have to be dealt with the question of, “Should I eat today or go study in the library?”

The future is indefinite, and you are your own version of perfect.