I’m a perfectionist.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am by no means claiming to be perfect, I just have anal-retentive and OCD tendencies… such as checking the dictionary to make sure anal-retentive has a hyphen, then Googling it to double check. I just like things to be in order.

I think that’s part of the reason I enjoy copy editing so much – if I see that something is out of order, like an oxford comma, I can look in the AP Style Guide and fix it. Problem solved.

I am by no stretch neurotic about everything, but there are just certain things that need to be perfect. In my closet, all of my clothes face to the right side, and they’re arranged by style – from sundresses all the way down to sweaters – in color order. It’s just easier to have a place where each thing belongs – in the morning, I know exactly where to find my purple sweater. Now, pay no attention to the pile of dirty clothes on the floor beneath my immaculate closet, because that’s one of those things that just doesn’t bother me.

My ability to just let things go has already been put to the test this semester. Because I took 18 credits per semester during my freshman and sophomore years, I only needed to take one class this semester to be eligible for graduation. So, I registered for the linguistics class I needed, as well as an American literature class, but I still needed another course to remain a full-time student.

For my elective, I decided to take a theatre class called Principles of Design. My roommate, Nicole, took this class two years ago and recommended it to me. I trusted her judgment and signed up for the class.

The first thing we were told to get was a sketchbook. This was my first clue that this class was not going to be quite what I expected. I don’t draw. I really don’t. I don’t even doodle in the margins of my notebooks. Primarily because having things drawn all over my notes would drive me crazy, but also because I’m not even slightly artistically inclined.

Our first assignment was to find five full-page pencil drawings online and replicate them. Wait, what? Reluctantly, I bought a sketchbook, printed off five sketches and began drawing (and drawing, and drawing, and drawing).

And you know what? I don’t hate it. I’m even willing to go as far as to say that I enjoy it. My sketches are not perfect – or even anywhere close to perfect – but working on them is a nice stress reliever, and it’s nice to work on something different as opposed to another poetry analysis or literature journal.

Whenever I find myself tensing up and getting frustrated with a sketch, I always think of a quote from the movie Black Swan, “Perfection is not just about control, it is also about letting go.” I’m still a little neurotic, and very habitual, but I’ve loosened up at least a little. I’m beginning to learn that you can’t be in control of everything, and even though something’s not perfect, that doesn’t mean it’s worthless either.