Biggest University Reality Check!

Posted by Sunera on February 3, 2014

On-board to York

Quit With the Quintessential Performance Would You?

All jokes aside, in the pursuit of being the quintessential student I actually attempted the polyphasic sleep pattern but it is absolutely unpractical not only for undergrad students but for anybody unless you belong to the elite class or you win the lottery. I was hoping it would be my holy grail to acing exams. I often make erratic decisions and they seem perfectly logical at the moment.

Unfortunately I used to be very Type-A personality. Once I had put my mind to something I had to achieve it drill sergeant style. I have also read time after time that Type A personalities are more likely to die earlier due to morbidity inflicted from stress.  (Yeah, I know way to go….) I got three of my exam marks last week, and what do you know I got my very first C at York on an exam. I am not new to University, but yet I just don’t learn! I cannot give up the idea of either it is perfect or nothing. Here are the events in chronological order that contributed to this C:

  • Pulled at least three all-nighters.
  • Studied form the least important concept to the most important thing in an attempt to master the exam. Absolutely wrong approach.
  • Worst of all I pulled an all-nighter the night before the exam. Seriously, who does that? Naturally I blanked out on the exam for good twenty minutes.
  • Got a C.
  • Studied hard not smart.
  • Tried so hard to maintain a good mark and paid a heavy price for this.
  • I had a goal to land all A’s and A pluses only. Unrealistic much??

I guess old habits die hard and once in a while they sneak back in. Type A personalities are usually perfectionists too. Now most people say that being a perfectionist is not really a bad thing but I say otherwise. You want to be a high achiever–not a perfectionist. Let me explain the difference. I realized I was a perfectionist when I was working full-time because an audit with a score of less than perfect just would not do, and I used to spend hours and days thinking of ways to get a perfect score next time.

It does not have to be perfect all the time.
It does not have to be perfect all the time.


  • Tasks take longer in the anticipation for perfectionism.
  • Procrastination due to the fear of making mistakes because you realize it will take you hours trying to prefect your task.
  • Accompanied by anger, anxiety, and frustration because a job is never good enough after spending a lot of time on it.
  • Standards are too high, and often unrealistic to achieve.
  • Excessive checking of everything.

High Achievers:

  • Are generally happier than perfectionists because they are more laid back.
  • High achievers set realistic goals and hence goals are easily achieved.
  • Realistic goals mean fewer disappointments.
  • Tasks are completed in a timely fashioned.
  • Have a greater sense of satisfaction with their work.

Game plan:

  • Don’t set unrealistic goals.
  • Setting realistic goals does not mean having no standards.
  • Yes, life goes on if you get a b. You genuinely tried your best and there is nothing more to it.
  • Don’t aim for perfection.

In order to maintain my perfect record I had taken this too far. I am involved on campus, work on campus, and get good grades, so naturally I got accustomed to setting these high standards for myself. It is unreasonable to aim for a straight A’s transcript if it is causing you sleepless nights and stress because one is not willing to accept anything less.

At this point I realized that the perfectionist traits were starting to reemerge and I needed to rethink my goals. Getting this C was a reality check. I feel enlightened from unrealistic expectations that I created in the quest of seeking the prefect academic record. Perhaps it was my first queue towards steering me in the right direction and helping me refocus on my goals.

I reminded myself why it was that I came to school in the first place. Upon my acceptance to York U I had different goals than just chasing straight A’s. Funny thing is that the class I had the most realistic expectations with regarding grades was where I got an A on the exam. My first assignment in this course was a B, and the class average was not all that particularly high, which led me to have realistic expectations. Is there possibly a correlation between setting realistic goals and succeeding? I think so! If you ever find yourself stuck in the same rut just remind yourself that setting realistic goals does not mean having no standards at all.

Hope you found this blog post helpful. Do you ever find yourself setting unrealistic expectations? If so share your stories below.

Safe travels till next time!



Sunera graduated from York University in May, 2016 with an Honours BA in Work and Labour Studies.

See other posts by Sunera

  • Sunera

    I agree! As long as we try and keep it balanced! 🙂

  • Megan

    This is something I struggle with too. When I was still at UOIT in my old program, my grades were horrible which was a huge shock from my grades in highschool. Since coming to York things have been much better except for two specific classes – neither of which are related to my degree, my interests, grad school, or even what career I want to pursue. I think the hardest part is when you are chasing a high GPA for grad school but even then, grades aren’t everything. You can still hit their minimum GPA or slightly higher and have tons of experience to boost your case ^_^

  • Jamila

    lol, I gave up on having perfect grades a long time ago. I’m always good as long as it’s nothing lower than a C.

  • Avatar
    Mike Arnold

    Nice post Sunera! I would love to chat more about student’s potential on campus. I run a math tutoring company and we are always looking for new ways to reach out to York students!