The perfect student is one that I put on in high school and kept on all through college. In elementary school I was not a good student and I received passing grades. I also had teachers that were not the loving uplifting type. I went to a Catholic School and we had teachers that were very strict and did not care that I was struggling. My first grade teacher was a nun that we had a saying about "She's lean, she's mean, she's Sister Maureen". I had a teacher who felt my desk was too messy so she threw the contents out of my desk out the window into the snow. I then had to go out and gather it all up and I had teachers who put distributive kids in corners. These teachers and incidents did not help my self esteem or stop kids from teasing me. When I go to high school I decided that I was going to work my butt off so that I could be liked by my teachers. I had some great teachers who actually seemed to care if I succeeded or not. I became the stereotype teacher's pet. I look back and think "wow, I was such a suck up". I think that part of me figured if I could not find acceptance within my peer group that I could find it with the teachers. I helped grade papers, made copies and even brought them gifts and cakes for their birthday. I wanted, no, needed to be the best in this area. It was something I could control. If I worked hard enough I could make good grades, and while knowledge is good and I love learning now, I wasn't doing for my own accomplishment, I was doing it for acceptance. I also didn't realize that by being the perfect I was alienating my peers even more and gave them even more fodder to use against me.
Because I worked so hard in high school, I got into the only college I applied to. And I figured the perfect student mask worked for me in high school I continued it through out college. I made friends with the teachers, sat in front and made sure that my work was in on time. College was much more demanding and this mask was increasingly hard to keep on. Even when I was student teaching, I made sure to go above and beyond to make a good impression and be as helpful as possible to the teachers and administrators in the schools I was placed in.
I took this perfect student mask and just changed it out to the perfect worker mask as I graduated college, trying to make myself indispensable to my employers and coworkers. I worked many long hours, went out of my way to impress and gave of myself and my resources to be what my employers needed. Believe me when I say that these masks are exhausting. I so wish that I had given myself some permission to relax these masks some over the years. One the other hand, like some of the other masks, the reasons for going on were no the best but the long term outcomes were beneficial to me. Because I worked so hard in high school, I was accepted into the college I wanted, and I have gotten many jobs and advancements because of my drive to be the perfect student and worker. I am focused and driven when given a task and do not give up. I see all of these things as positives of this mask but I do have to still give myself permission to relax now and then.
How are you striving to be the perfect student or co worker? Are you stressing yourself out trying to live to standards you have placed on yourself Look closely at why you are doing what you are doing in school or work? Make a list of ways you are going above and beyond and decide what needs to be adjusted so that you are achieving your goals but not pushing yourself to reach unattainable goals.