How much of a perfectionist are you?

The perfection meter

De Perfectiemeter
Illustrations by DUB. Photos from Shutterstock and 123rf
De Perfectiemeter vraag 1

You overslept and you're going to be late for class. What do you do?

A Be late anyway. You’re sure you can borrow notes from someone. So, you decide to close your eyes for just a few more minutes. After all, it’s not like they're waiting for you.

B Go to class at your normal pace. You might still make it and, if not, that’s okay too. Everything you manage to take from this class will be a bonus and you can catch up on things during the break.

Run to class as fast as possible. You decide not to have breakfast. You're covered in sweat when you finally get to class but at least that's better than missing it.

De Perfectiemeter vraag 2

You have an exam in two days. But tonight there's a party you'd really like to go to. What do you do?

A Go to bed and have a good night's sleep. The party is too close to the exam and you want to pass this course with a good grade. Otherwise, why else would you study so hard?

B  You decide to stop by the party but not stay too long or drink too much. After all, you do want to pass this course. 

C  Go to the party! Students are supposed to have fun. Besides, you're going to have an entire day to get rid of your hangover and there's always the chance to retake the exam. 

De Perfectiemeter vraag 3

In your second year, you're expected to explore possible Master's programmes. You are asked to deliver a preparatory assignment in which you look into what you can expect from the chosen programmes. What do you do?

A Have a look at the page about Master's related to your Bachelor's and write down what you like about the programmes and what you could do with them. That’ll get you far.

B Do a complete self-examination and think about what you would like to do in terms of studies and what you would like your first job to be. You check out all possible Master's in the Netherlands, define your preferences and record your findings in an elaborate document.

C  You're not thinking about that at all right now. You still have an entire year to go. A quick look and some scribbles on a post-it should do the trick.

De Perfectiemeter vraag 4

4.    You tell your parents that you’ve failed a course, so you have to retake it next year, which means it's going to take you longer to graduate. They are disappointed. How do you feel?

A  Awful. Failing the course was bad enough but now you’re letting them down too. You would like to make them proud and the fact that you’re not succeeding in doing so is hard to take.

B  Absolutely fine. You don't let your parents' opinion influence you, so it doesn’t matter what they think of your performance.

C  A bit gloomy but you get over it quickly. They are allowed to their opinion and you listen to it but that’s pretty much all you can do. 

De Perfectiemeter vraag 5

The committees of your study association are looking for new members. They are holding talks to explain what the position entails and how good it would look on your resume. What do you do?

A  Think about it for a while and then ask around if there is a nice committee. It never hurts to do something extra but you don’t want to be overwhelmed with work.

B Don’t really see the use of joining a committee. That's nothing but extra work and besides, you don't think it amounts to anything. Being a member would get you a nice sweater and maybe a fun outing or two, but that's about it.

C  Sign up immediately, possibly even for more than one committee. It's important to have a good-looking CV because it helps you get a nice job later. Perhaps you could even join the council for a year, which would be even more amazing.


Score chart:























11 points or more
You seem to be extremely perfectionistic. You want to do everything well and make everyone happy. You don’t settle for anything but the very best and reach for the highest achievable goal. Although this is praiseworthy, it can also be incredibly tiring and stressful. If you notice that your perfectionism is causing you problems, you can always make an appointment with the study advisor or student psychologist to get some tips.

7 to 11 points
It looks like you're perfectly balanced. You love doing your best and often put in a little more effort than your classmates. But it all comes easy to you. You’re aware of the expectations of others but you don’t let them influence you too much. Perfectionism doesn’t seem to be an obstacle in your way. But if you do start struggling, you can always contact a study advisor or student psychologist.

Less than 7
You basically just go with the flow. You feel little to no need to be the best at anything. You don’t compare yourself or feel pressured by the people around you either — or at least you don’t give in to it. Your approach to college is completely laid back. But are you sure you're studying something that suits you? Are you sure you'll get all the necessary credits? Maybe you consider yourself to be lazy or you’re doubting your own skills. If that's bothering you, you too can benefit from speaking with a tutor, study advisor or student psychologist.

Disclaimer: This test has no scientific basis. Don't read more into the conclusions than necessary. Perhaps the questions will prompt you to think about how much of a perfectionist you are and what that means to you.

A study conducted by a team of UU researchers shows that students with unrealistic expectations regarding their own performance and a significant need to control things tend to suffer more from stress and are more likely to burn out. Read more.


Banner DUB Magazine 2022 cover

An entire magazine on students' mental health!

This article was originally published in our print magazine Vallen en Opstaan ("Falling and getting back up again", Ed) which you can get for free at several places in the entire university from October 19 onwards.

This special edition talks about why UU students often struggle with mental health issues. They have to deal with high expectations coming from others and themselves, not to mention they live in a time where there are many options to choose from, which can be overwhelming. Most of the articles were written by four UU students.

You can take a quiz to see how you fare in the "perfection meter", learn how students overcame obstacles, reflect on the suggestions made by wellbeing experts, and recognise yourself in the photo comic ThirdFloor.  

The magazine is in Dutch but all articles are available in English online. Just click here to read them all!