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Boston College’s reputation as a campus full of overachievers is no secret. As students, we especially are aware of the competition here and the general aspiration to do well in many aspects of our lives. Students discuss the balance of studying, spending time at the Plex, volunteering, and managing sports and other extracurriculars. If you scroll through Facebook’s BC Confessions page, you’ll see posts from people worried about not doing well in school or complaining about the competitive nature of this university. Of course, just like with any stereotype, not every student here is an overachiever. Not everyone gets upset if an assignment doesn’t get finished or if there isn’t enough time to hit the gym one day. But what exactly defines an overachiever? To overachieve means, “to perform better or achieve more success than expected.” So what is expected of us, and how do we know we’re performing better 28

than that? In general, I think as BC students we’re expected to do well academically. After all, that is why we are at this school and why we pay to attend here. One could also say that BC, as a Jesuit school, service is another vital part of campus life that all

Most want to be the full package, which usually means getting good grades, being healthy inside and out, and being involved on campus. students are expected to fulfill. Those are the bare minimum expectations, but what about the expectations for ourselves? Our own expectations are arguably more im-

portant than those of our peers and families and clearly these are different for every student. However, it seems that most students want to be the full package, which usually means getting good grades, being healthy, and being involved on campus. Of course, these are generalizations, and these are all great things to be. It makes sense that we should want to be this way. After all, BC is a selective school. I’m no admissions expert, but I would think that having the full package (or at least striving for it) and having a determined attitude are important traits to look for in a prospective student. It’s as if the reason we got into this school is because we’re overachievers. Still, this overachieving thing can get scary at times. You can’t go a day without hearing about the high stress level of one of your friends or floormates. I don’t know about you, but I can’t go a day without feeling worried about upcoming work for my classes

May 2013

on top of having a job for 13 hours a week. Bearing this in mind, is it okay or normal for us to feel like we need to overachieve? Or should we be easier on ourselves and try not to feel pressured to go above and beyond expectations? The problem with overachieving is that we try to be awesome at everything — like I said, the full package. This pressure can overwhelm us simply because it’s impossible to be the best at everything. But what can we do? We

It’s about being happy with what you’re doing every day and having a healthy balance of everything you love

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Photo courtesy of US National Institute of Health Wikimedia Commons

take on responsibilities because that’s what is expected. This can freak us out, though — think about the times you have so much work to do that you end up ignoring all of it and taking a nap. I think we can spin overachieving into something better than this concept of being excellent at everything. I sup-

port overachieving as long as there is a balance and that we’re achieving what we expect of ourselves, not what others expect of us. We can achieve this balance if we take a less extreme approach. (Maybe if we strive to just be a part of these things — school, extracurriculars, etc — and just be okay at them, our lives would be less stressful.) There’s no need to be an expert at everything. In a similar light, there’s no need to focus all of your attention on one area of your life to the point of exhaustion and deprivation. For example, concentrate on school, but don’t let it get to the point of staying in the library all night every night. Work out, but don’t spend three hours at the gym and forget about your other obligations in an attempt to be fitter than everyone else. Participate in campus activities, but don’t take that classic route of signing up for everything at the Student Activities Fair. It’s expected that we should want to be successful, but why does that mean we need to be better than everyone else at everything? Being successful isn’t a competition, it’s about being happy with what you’re doing

every day and having a healthy balance of everything you love. Why should other people’s goals affect us to the point of needing to become an overachiever, overtaking everyone in all aspects of life? Personally, I’d rather be doing many things that I enjoy, even if I’m not the best at them, over being excellent at one thing. And like I said, it’s impossible to be excellent at everything. Don’t overachieve because you want to be better than everyone else, and don’t overachieve to the extent of being unhealthy. Don’t let competition take over your life. All in all, it depends on your expectations for yourself. Are extracurriculars just as important to you as your schoolwork? Is maintaining your health just as important as hanging out with friends? Decide what’s important to you and balance your time between those things. Remember that you don’t need to be the best; as long as you’re satisfied with your involvement, that’s all that matters.


Perfecting balance, not ourselves  

Boston College's reputation as a campus full of over achievers is no secret.