So… mPOLs. Mid-Term Presentations of Learning. The joy of every PLP student.

For those who do not have the pleasure of presenting an mPOL, they are basically parent-teacher interviews, except that instead of the teacher talking to the parent about the student’s learning, the student is talking to both the teacher and the parent about their own learning in the form of a presentation.

As usual, a driving question is in order.

What is your learning goal that you want  to reach by the end of this school year, and how will you meet it?

After thinking long and hard about this one, I decided that I want to work on not being such a perfectionist. I struggle with the concept that no one cares how my work looks, or how long it is, or whether my drawing of the Empire State Building is completely accurate, which causes way too much stress, and makes it hard for me to hand in my work on time.

So, that’s the goal. Whether I’ll be able to achieve it or not; well, that’s the real question.

To better define areas where I need improvement, I will reflect on my Humanities, Scimatics, Maker, and PGP classes, and my work habits.

Let’s start with Humanities.

In Humanities, over the last 2 terms, we have learned at lot of stuff, from how to convincingly advertise to the Feudal System. I feel like I have been putting a lot of effort into my Humanities assignments. I really enjoy Humanities, but I stress too much about the projects, because I feel like if I do anything below the highest standard, I will have failed, and everyone will be disappointed in me. Obviously, this isn’t true.

I learned this the hard way after spending hours and hours on my Worldview video,  and eventually getting to the point that I gave up a little on making it perfect, and just going for it. Unsurprisingly, the non-perfect-Evelyn part ended up better than the perfectionist-Evelyn part.

You can watch it here, if it so pleases you.

Let’s move on to Scimatics.

Scimatics is probably one of my best classes in terms of perfectionism. Because we do most of our Scimatics work in-class, there is less opportunity for me to spend an unnecessary extra 3 hours on my projects. We have learned about light, tectonic plates, fractions, and all sorts of other stuff.  I’ve found that when we are doing experiments in class, my perfectionism actually helps me, in that all my measurements are accurate and precise. Maybe I’m destined to be a scientist!

Next, let’s discuss Maker.

Maker is like perfectionist condemnation. Not that I don’t like it; it’s one of my favourite classes. But there are so many opportunities for me to redo assignments over and over again. For example, the Power of a Pencil project. We did a lot of awesome, fun art projects, but my perfectionism kept getting in the way of my enjoyment of the project, because I was so fixated on what I didn’t like that I forgot to appreciate the parts that were good.

For example, my self portrait. Every time one of my lines was a bit wobbly, it would bug me until eventually I erased it and started over. The end result was good, but if I let myself get lost in the work it might have taken a lot less time, and turned out even better.

My self portrait, for your viewing pleasure.

Last subject review: PGP.

PGP is an interesting subject. We don’t have an actual class for it, but we have had meetings over the course of the year. We were also evaluated in PGP while we were in Oregon. In my opinion, I have done well in PGP. I always use Things to remind myself of assignments, and mark my engagements in my Calendar. I do struggle to stick to the time blocks that I set, though, often going way overtime and not having enough time for everything, which can lead to some late nights. That’s my perfectionism coming into play.

An example of me using Things correctly. Notice how I have due-dates, tags, and categories.

When perfectionist-Evelyn runs the show, I start to spiral into a never-ending cycle of doing and redoing. I end up not having time for everything I want to do, and not just as far as homework: I also start to cut into my me-time, where I do things for myself, like reading, drawing, going on walks, and hanging out with my dog. This leads to an overall less happy Evelyn, who gets less sleep, is more stressed, and never gets to do things that she likes.

This is why I need to break this habit. But how?

I have discovered a method that I call Prioritizing. It’s basically where I decide which pieces of homework are the most important to me, and put the most effort into those. I can also set time limits to enforce this. For example, if I decide to put 80% effort into an assignment, I could set an appropriate amount of time to spend working on it on a timer, and that forces me to finish it faster and not focus on finicky details.

Another thing I’ve been doing lately is setting Down Time on my iPad. From 7:00pm to 8:30am every day, all my apps are locked, and I can’t access them. This forces me to finish projects before some unearthly hour like 11:30pm. I turned it off around the Winter Exhibition because of the amount of work that I had to do, but I should probably turn it back on sometime.

These are just a few strategies I have in place to prevent myself from doing anything extreme. I still need to reign in my perfectionism much more than I have right now if I want to have a relaxed life.

To effectively beat perfectionism, I have to be much more disciplined. If I notice myself drifting into the cycle of doing and redoing, I have to pull myself out and take a break. It will be difficult at first, but if I want to meet my goal, I have to practice.

That concludes my mPOL blog post! I hope you enjoyed learning about the inner workings of Evelyn’s anterior cingulate cortex (that’s where perfectionism comes from!). Thanks for reading!


Evelyn  👩🏽

(P.S. I changed the little emoji next to my name! Which one do you think is better?)