Striving to attain perfection is a given for many of the students attending Albuquerque Academy. The perfectionists at Academy set exceptional goals for themselves that eventually lead to achievements which once seemed impossible. Students use perfectionism and high expectations to motivate themselves and keep them on their toes at school. “Perfectionism helps you to follow through…and entails going above what’s expected from you, [yet] it’s also a strong word which is often used as a negative term,” Tatiana Valdez ’16 said. In this sense, procrastination is not a major issue for students trying to attain perfection, since it keeps them on task and focused enough to get their work done. Attention to detail is also a major component of perfectionism. “[A perfectionist] is someone who is really focused on detail, but more than the average person,” Helen Liu ‘17 said. Perfectionism is accompanied by an ambitious drive in life, which gives it a reputation as a quality exhibited by the successful. Endeavoring to surpass one’s standards is a beneficial quality for high-achieving students. Furthermore, the most rational perfectionists are those students that realize absolute perfection is impossible, yet continue to strive towards it without letting their inherent inability to achieve perfection consume them.

Many students may not even see themselves as perfectionists relative to their peers at the Academy, yet, on average, students seemed to agree that Academy students tend to be perfectionists. “Inherently, being at this school, students are more focused on getting good grades and [having] their lives in order just so that they can handle the academic course load,” Liu said. This is also exemplified in the careful admissions process at Academy, which requires testing, transcripts from former schools, and letters of recommendation from previous teachers. Academy holds its students to a high level of academic rigor, which creates an environment where students generate competition among themselves. This competition and accompanying increase in perfectionistic students results from pressure from Academy’s teachers, high standards from the school, and the school’s attempt to maintain its prestigious reputation as a school cultivating academic success.

Along with academic perfectionism, athletic perfectionism is emphasized at the Academy as well. Noteworthy achievements in sports develop from the hard work, determination, and willfulness exhibited by perfectionists. “You have to be a perfectionist to excel… and there is a certain level that you have to hold yourself accountable to [in order to succeed],” track and cross country runner Jordan Lesansee ‘17 said. For athletes, the most effective path to success is to strive to achieve perfection in practice and training and then translating that into their competitions. “I imagine the perfect form [as I swim], but it’s always a lot harder than it seems. Still, it’s better to try and be close to perfect than not try to be perfect at all,” swimmer Jordan Lee ‘17 said.

In order to lead a productive life, some level of perfectionism is required to exceed and achieve success. As motivation to reach above one’s own expectations, as well as those of people around them, perfectionism drives Academy students to put their greatest effort in their studies and athletic training.  

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