Every assignment has a deadline. With every deadline, a decision has to be made. The assignment is done the day it’s due, but up until that point, effort can be put into the project to make it better. But how much bettering is worthwhile? When can an assignment be deemed “good enough?”
Whenever I go to submit an assignment on Blackboard, even if I know that I followed the exact specifications of the assignment, I hover my mouse over the “Submit” button for a good 10 seconds. Am I sure I didn’t miss anything? Even if the answer is yes, I still wonder if the project is good enough. I have the same reluctance toward handing in assignments in-person, too. Up until the second before I hand in the assignment, I can still make changes to improve its quality. I’ll lie awake in bed worrying about whether or not a project is good enough to be turned in; I almost always wake up in the morning and put the “finishing touches” on it, partly so that I know that I did my best. But is that much nurturing for a school assignment really necessary?
Consciously, I know the answer is no. It’s an assignment for a college class, not a personal project where I can spend as much time as I want making sure each little detail is just right. No, I have to finish the assignment by a certain time, and follow certain guidelines. So, as long as I finish it before the deadline and follow the project guidelines, then technically speaking, the assignment is done, and good enough for what it’s for. But, on the other hand, if I want to actually get something out of the class, I’ve found that I have to go a little bit above and beyond what’s required. I make my own guidelines on top of the teacher’s guidelines, I suppose.
Although working hard on an assignment is fine and dandy, I have other assignments and projects of my own, too. At some point, I have to draw the line in the sand and recognize when to move on. If I have extra time to work on an assignment, and I want to work on it, then I can let myself go above and beyond for my own benefit. Otherwise, if I don’t have time to go above and beyond, I can do a “good enough” job on the assignment, and rest easy knowing my homework is finished, and ready to turn in. I won’t get docked for not having anything to show.
So what is “good enough?” To me, it’s when the assignment is done according to the proper specifications, and by the due date. Then, the assignment is good enough. But still, sometimes when I do an assignment up to the “good enough” point, I feel like I’m slacking. A part of me knows I’m not slacking, but other parts aren’t so sure. I say to myself, It’s not the end of the world…I just have a lot going on…Or, I don’t have the time to go above and beyond the bare minimum. The part that isn’t convinced wags it’s finger at me, but everybody has busy times when the work that has to be done is arranged in a careful balancing act; when the delicate balance could easily disrupted by something as mundane as a head cold.
Recognizing the point when an assignment is “good enough” is a way of regulating my perfectionism. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, and I can’t make it be, as much as I may like for it to be. In terms of college assignments, I don’t have to make things perfect, or even well above and beyond the criteria given. I can work extra hard on an assignment if I really want to, and if I have the time, but I don’t have to. Just as learning something new in a college class is important, so is learning when to call an assignment “good enough”. There will be times when I don’t have time to work all day on my homework, and at those times, the skill of knowing when something’s good enough comes in handy. I won’t be docked 10 points for work that’s only half-done or work that isn’t completed on time. Finding the balance between perfect and “finished-to-the-specifications” means I can continue getting a college education. And I don’t have to be perfect to do it.
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