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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first semester at university I got a 4.0 GPA. This semester, however, I did not get a 4.0 GPA. I got like a 3.9. I feel like such a failure and that my life is over. I contemplate suicide now for the first time in months. I don't feel any purpose in going back to school now and I don't see a reason to live.

I know this probably sounds crazy, but it really meant a lot to me and I couldn't pull through no matter how hard I tried. I feel like a total idiot and everyone is judging me thinking, "Oh look, he gets normal grades. He's normal." I can't process this failure and my college career and life will forever be tarnished by this. I just don't see a way to get past this and I can't process the situation well. I'm not sure what to do or how to approach this without hurting myself or killing myself. I just feel so ashamed and done.
 

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I'm sorry you feel this way. I've been in this thinking pattern before and it is as irrational for you as it was for me. You are catastrophizing, not accurately assessing the situation.

First of all, if a 3.9 is "normal", then your school has a serious grade inflation problem! I'm pretty sure your grades are well above average. It isn't a failure and your college career will be fine (assuming you don't give up because of this) and your life is certainly not tarnished. The same would hold if you had a 3.0.

Besides, your grades matter less than learning and challenging yourself. That will get you much further in life than having perfect grades.

If you keep having these thoughts, and aren't doing so already, I suggest seeing a psychiatrist and/or therapist. I found it helpful.
 

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explain please

3.0 is considered good
 

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...........

a) Failure is an important part of the learning process, and you didn't even remotely fail, you just did slightly less than perfect. But you need to learn to deal with failure. Otherwise once you get out into the real world and have your first setback, you will freak out and alienate everyone and make the problem much worse than if you had just learned to accept it and move on from your mistakes.

b) Think of all the people out there who have REAL problems, REAL reasons to commit suicide, REAL failures or bad circumstances, like not being able to get a job, or make enough money to pay their bills, or having a debilitating illness that prevents them from being successful at all. I'm going to guess that you have never experienced these types of problems in your life, because if you had, you'd know that there's more important shit in life than jumping through all the hoops of academia completely perfectly.

c) I absolutely 100% guarantee you that nobody else gives a shit about your grades. Even your future employers don't care that much. A lot of employers don't even ask for GPA, and there's basically no difference between a 3.9 and 4.0. You are staking your entire self-worth on a system that is bullshit.

d) You know what employers care about more than doing absolutely perfect in everything? Adaptability and resilience. If you lack those, you won't have very much success in your career at all, no matter how well you did in school.
 

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Why is a 4.0 this important to you? Perhaps the reason behind this can be dissected?

In my opinion 4.0s are overrated. I have been told by undergraduate and graduate admissions and by prospective employers that it indicates the student is obsessive and not well-rounded. People want to see extra-curricular activities, good character, people skills and industry-related experience in applications as well, and they are willing to make lower grade exceptions when they see this. Also network, network, network. Grades are not the end all and be all when it comes to excellence and mobility. Academic politics matter.

3.8s and 3.9s are honestly not normal either. For perspective, this is my seventh academic year and I count six professors among my closest friends. This will not set you back and this is nothing to be ashamed about. You are not a failure. Be proud, cultivate your marketing skills and you will do splendidly.

Don't forget to make use of any campus mental health services if you are not well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As a kid in elementary, middle, and high school I watched some of my classmates get praised, make perfect grades, etc. I wanted to do that too and could not.
 

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I'm in college and feel the same way. @Dao is right, I am obsessive, but I don't care. I'm either bored or stressing myself out.
 

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As a kid in elementary, middle, and high school I watched some of my classmates get praised, make perfect grades, etc. I wanted to do that too and could not.
Make sure to tell that to your therapist: they should be able to help you accept that you can't be the best at everything. Putting all of your self-worth on something you can't achieve isn't going to make you happy.

I've seen you make this kind of threads before, and seriously, it's not healthy. Get of the internet. See a real-life psychologist.
 

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Generally I don't dig Psychology today, but found this as a result of a study I've read which is cited in it on the difference between adapative and maladaptive perfectionism.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blo...1212/all-perfectionists-are-not-created-equal

I can't share the source but this is from: Gnilka, P. B., Ashby, J. S., & Noble, C. M. (2012). Multidimensional perfectionism and anxiety: Differences among individuals with perfectionism and tests of a coping‐mediation model.

ABSTRACT
This study examined the relationship between adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism, anxiety, and coping processes in a sample of 329 undergraduate students. Specifically, participants with adaptive perfectionism had the lowest levels of anxiety, followed by participants with nonperfectionism, and participants with maladaptive perfectionism had the highest levels. Various coping processes mediating the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and anxiety are discussed.
Discussion
 
The results of this study are consistent with previous research that found differences between individuals with adaptive perfectionism,maladaptive perfectionism, and nonperfectionism(e.g., Rice et al., 2007). As hypothesized, these three groups differed significantly on measures of anxiety. Participants with maladaptive perfectionism were the worst off, with higher levels of anxiety than participants with adaptive perfectionism and nonperfectionism. This finding is consistent with previous research that found maladaptive perfectionism associated with higher levels of psychological distress (e.g.,Dunkley et al., 2003).

Participants with maladaptive perfectionism were also more likely than those with adaptive perfectionism to use unhealthy coping processes such as distancing, accepting responsibility,and escape–avoidance, as suggested by the mean scores presented in Table 2. It is interesting that participants with adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism were equally likely to use positive reappraisal, seeking social support, and planful problem solving. Participants with maladaptive perfectionism,compared with those with nonperfectionism, more frequently used confrontative coping, seeking social support,accepting responsibility, escape–avoidance, planful problem solving, and positive reappraisal. Participants with adaptive perfectionism, compared with those with nonperfectionism,more frequently used seeking social support, planful problem solving, and positive reappraisal and were less likely to use escape–avoidance.

Folkman et al. (1986) stated that coping processes can occur simultaneously and seem contradictory or can alternate between different processes. With this perspective in mind, one possible explanation for the similarity between adaptive perfectionism and maladaptive perfectionismin some specific coping processes is that individuals with maladaptive perfectionism may avoid, distract, and escape from anxious events and simultaneously ruminate about the event, thinking to themselves they will do better next time,or they plan for the future while still blaming themselves for their inability to meet their towering standards. This is consistent with conceptual literature (Hamachek, 1978) suggesting that individuals with maladaptive perfectionism do not believe their efforts will ever be good enough and, as are result, experience significant distress.

Participants with adaptive perfectionism had significantly lower levels of anxiety than participants with maladaptive perfectionism and nonperfectionism, as suggested by lower anxiety scores and large and medium effect size differences,respectively, in the current study. This is consistent with other studies that have found that adaptive perfectionism is associated with positive outcomes (e.g., Rice & Dellwo,2002) and suggests that adaptive perfectionism may act as a buffer against psychological distress. Whereas adaptive perfectionists were as likely as maladaptive perfectionists to use positive reappraisal and planful problem-solving coping processes, they were significantly less likely to use more unhealthy coping processes such as escape–avoidance, accepting responsibility, and distancing. This suggests that adaptive perfectionists, on average, view potentially anxious events and situations with significantly less self-criticism and are able to focus more on how to improve in the future. This fits the conceptual view of adaptive perfectionists, which suggests that these individuals are more likely to gain a sense of satisfaction in their endeavors and much less likely to engage in self-criticism (Hamachek, 1978).

The results of this study also extended the findings of earlier research investigating the mediational role of coping in the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and psychological distress (e.g., Dunkley et al., 2003; Wei et al.,2006). The use of ineffective coping processes mediated the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and anxiety(see Figure 1). This result was generally consistent with the results of Dunkley et al. (2003) and Wei et al. (2006), which suggested that ineffective coping partially mediated the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and psychological distress. However, the results of this study were in contrast to Rice and Lapsley’s (2001) study, which did not find support for a coping-mediation model for maladaptive perfectionism and psychological distress in a similar sample of college students.

Higher usage of more effective coping processes did not mediate the relationship between adaptive perfectionism and anxiety as suggested by confidence intervals that included zero for each coping process (see Table 3). These nonsignificant results, even with the use of the APS-R, which was designed to measure both maladaptive and adaptive perfectionism,are consistent with the results of other studies that found no support for the mediational role of coping with adaptive perfectionism (e.g., Dunkley et al., 2003). Although the results of this study suggested that individuals with adaptive perfectionism use more effective coping processes, no support was offered for the mediational role of coping in the relationship between adaptive perfectionism and anxiety.Future researchers should continue to look at more complex models that include additional measures of coping and other psychological outcomes.

Participants with adaptive perfectionism used more healthy forms of coping processes and fewer unhealthy coping processes compared with participants with maladaptive perfectionism and nonperfectionism, as suggested by the mean score differences noted in Table 2. In addition, participants with adaptive perfectionism were found to have the lowest levels of anxiety, followed by participants with nonperfectionism and, last, participants with maladaptive perfectionism, who had the highest levels of anxiety. Although coping processes were not found to mediate the relationship between adaptive perfectionism and anxiety, four coping processes fully mediated the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and anxiety. This study offers support for the use of perfectionism instruments that measure adaptive and maladaptive forms of perfectionism when working with adults with anxiety.
So in line with others, you could perhaps best get support from mental health services on how to address your coping mechanism and what are more effective strategies.
Generally this sort of thing means you have to think and be aware in those moments when you're beating yourself up, but by being conscious of better strategies, you'll be able to probably hold yourself on the maladaptive kind and make a conscious effort to use better methods.
This of course isn't something that happens quickly but takes a bit of practice before it eventually starts to undermine your unconscious process in which you immediately fall back to the maladapative coping strategies.
Being able to direct your thoughts by being aware of them are important to not letting yourself go through the worst motions of thought.

Maybe you'll also end up reflecting on your past, you mentioned seeing other praised for their high marks and perhaps you could put this in perspective as to whether you were only shown affection for achieving things to which love was then conditional and likely follows that one only feels worth anything upon achieving something but in the meantime they're hating themselves until things are done.
Except this never brings one to a stage of saying they're worthy of affection, respect, love and so on because though externalties can help that sense of self, they are certainly not the best source of it since they're unstable. SO you'll possibly end up having to challenge the self concept that may say one is only worth anything based on their utility and beyond that they need to not only be with utility but the best.
This mind set sets one up for failure on account that one can't be the best all the time, the framework in which one can only be satisfied if one beats everyone else is a lot less satisfactory than the one that competes with self and has more intrinsic motivations.
In respect to competativeness, there are those that criticize the education system and even general society on this very basis saying that competition doesn't actually yield the best in people which can take on an interesting perspective.
Against "Competitiveness" (#) - Alfie Kohn

I suppose it doesn't help how much pressure it put on education stuff as if it defines the rest of your life to which I provide this though not sure if it's necessarily relevant to your experience.
 

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You should be less concerned about your grades and more concerned about your self-confidence/ idea of self-worth.

Your success in life will not be determined by whether or not you get a 4.0. It will be determined by the impression that people have of you, and whether you are willing to connect to them as another human being. The world is run by people, not by numbers, and it's only by what you do to/for/with other people that you will succeed or be happy in life. Because of that, you need to love yourself regardless of how good a job you can do at school in order to get a 4.0. People will only truly care about you if you love and respect yourself unconditionally.

I know that sounds like a load of BS, but I've been in your position. I was using grades as an excuse/defense to simplify things and avoid other things that I couldn't do (in my case, making friends, winning people's hearts, sustaining a relationship). Your obsessiveness with grades is a distraction for a much greater anxiety for something else. Find it and solve it, because getting perfect grades won't make your other problems disappear. No other person in the world gives 2 shits about it. (unless the grad school you want to apply to has a 3.5 cutoff, and even with that, you'll still be totally fine with a 3.9).
 

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I've done extremely well in life without any formal education.

Let me give you a great quote: "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened" - Mark Twain

Are you the type of person that runs scenarios in your head? Do you create fictitious conversations with people or events which are negative that cause you physical stress?

You have no proof of what this life holds for you. I have friends with law degrees struggling to pay their tuition off by working 2 jobs. I also have friends that are highly successful which were once suicidal.

Here's a question: Do you know if killing yourself will even make the pain go away? What if the afterlife exists and it's worse than where you are now? At least on Earth you can control some variables of your life.
 
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So sorry to hear that! Perhaps the sun won't rise tomorrow due to this catastrophic event.

You are probably young and haven't met failure much before. I do hope your lucky streak would continue, that there will not be any bump on the road except this 3.9 GPA. God forbid what you'd do if anything more serious would befall.
 

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Sounds like you have low self-esteem and believe that people won't appreciate you for who you are. That you need to have some great appreciation to warrant others approval.

You should work on your underlying problem of low self-esteem. You don't want to go through life thinking you need great accomplishments to have value. As soon as you reach one, you shortly feel pressure to repeat that performance.
 

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No one is going to care if you got a 3.9 instead of 4.0.
I'll give you an example from myself, perhaps it will help you.
I work in a hospital for my placement practice and I am appreciated more for my knowledge and thinking than one of my peers who's got better grades, but has a terrible character and he doesn't really know what he's doing, he only knows how to get good grades (which is what my colleagues at the hospital have told me)
And I've already got a job offer from one of my professors because she knows what I am capable of.
I'm a perfectionist too and I've suffered to the point of depression from that. It's not worth it. Being happy is more important.
 

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Did I write this post in a parallel universe or something?

Perfectionism, especially with grades, has been something I've always struggled with. I haven't had to deal with it much recently since I've been out of school, but I'm sure if I were to get back into an academic setting my old patterns would rear their ugly head again.

I'm not sure if this advice would work with me since my perfectionism is so deeply ingrained in me that it's hard to challenge even though I know it's irrational. There just this part of me that deeply needs to be among the best/most intelligent since I feel I don't have any other valuable abilities. But maybe this would work with you: What would you tell someone who got a 3.9? Would you think any less of them? Would you think that they're just "normal" or an idiot?

Sometimes we judge ourselves more harshly than we do others.
 
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As a kid in elementary, middle, and high school I watched some of my classmates get praised, make perfect grades, etc. I wanted to do that too and could not.
College is too late for perfectionist ambitions. Unless you're doing some bullshit degree, it's all about struggle. Sometimes even just making to another year is an achievement that eclipses anything done in high school.
 

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Forget the GPA, everyone in the GPA system is -normal- If you want to be exceptional do internships, get real life experience, master skills, carry your profession out of the class, learn how to make an impression or be comfortable in professional/social settings, think out of the box, dive in opportunities, do research, publish articles... -even- when they cost your GPA

I could not possibly overstate the insignificance of GPA.
 

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I understand how GPA can be important to you. If you always get 4.0, it can become part of your identity. But you have to let that go and accept that you cant change your score. You did what you did and same goes for everyone else. Don't think of it as "I always get 4.0 but this one time I failed." Think of it more like "I always score extremely high grades."

3.9 won't ruin your career. 3.966 (from the 3 semester GPAs) is almost perfect and employers won't use that small difference to be the determine whether you are hired or not. You are doing fine, and if you want to maintain the 4.0, just try harder next time, but allow yourself (mentally) room for mistakes. you just have to accept it and move on.

you're really going to be okay :). I recommend speaking to someone to help you feel better.
 

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I understand what you're going through. I suffered from a similar perfectionism, and still do in many ways. I remember getting an A- once and I was distraught. Fact of the matter is, it's stupid to fret about it. What's done is done. You can only learn from it what you can and move on. Do better next time.

Also, if I'm not mistaken I remember you from another thread. You were insecure about not being a genius, I believe. In light of this, and also the fact you mentioned suicide in the OP, I don't think this is your run-of-the-mill perfectionism. I suspect you need some medical attention, and therapy will hopefully help. This is stemming from something deeper. I suspect advice from an Internet forum will not be much help, I'm afraid.
 
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Forget the GPA, everyone in the GPA system is -normal- If you want to be exceptional do internships, get real life experience, master skills, carry your profession out of the class, learn how to make an impression or be comfortable in professional/social settings, think out of the box, dive in opportunities, do research, publish articles... -even- when they cost your GPA

I could not possibly overstate the insignificance of GPA.
This.

It's important to work hard, but when you've got a stunning GPA and no life skills, you've got nothing to show for it. Your skills will define you in the workplace, I guarantee it.
 
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