Five things we can learn from overachievers (instead of hating them)

September 16, 2016
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We all know (and secretly hate) an overachiever who is juggling an internship, a job, a dual-degree, four extra-curriculars and still manages to pull HDs on the regular. Frankly, they put the rest of us to shame with their work ethic and bright futures.

Sometimes it’s easier to hate them and forget they’re smashing their uni life out of the park. But maybe instead of hating them, we should all start to learn something from them. Next time an overachiever knocks you over trying to ask the lecturer about an assessment due in six weeks, it might be worthwhile saving the eye roll and having a bit of a listen.

You’re definitely not taking notes in any of your classes, so why not take notes on these five top things you can learn from overachievers instead of hating them.  

How they got their internship

The only thing an overachiever likes more than asking how you went in an exam, is talking about their internship. They could tell you about all of the ‘important work’ they do for this successful business until the end of the earth. But hey – internships are undeniably important so maybe next time, instead of picturing how they’d look with a black eye, have a bit of a sticky beak into how they got their gig.

They applied online? Find out where.

They knew a guy who knew a guy? Get some contact details.

Their parents set them up? Invite yourself over for dinner.

You never know when the worst person in your degree could set you up with the best opportunity you could find.

How to kiss a tutor’s ass

Sometimes to get through a tough semester with a lot of commitments, you’ve got to do some serious sucking up. No one knows this like an overachiever. Tutors like anyone who can participate in class and overachievers have a knack for showing off the fact they’ve actually done the readings for the week.

As annoying as it is to treat your tutors like people, it can earn you a little bit of leeway with attendance and marking. It might be worth your while to join the overachievers club and kiss a bit of ass – failing that, at least learn your tutor’s name and put your hand up more than once a semester.

How to take pride in your work

One of the worst things about an overachiever is their smarmy grin when they get their results back. The thought of it gives me the visceral reaction to punch something – but there’s an important lesson to be learnt from it. Learn to take pride in your work.

It’s important to remember taking pride in work isn’t just about the results, overachievers are proud of the work they put in to an assessment and think their work is HD material when they submit it. Rather than mentally noting how best to murder the overachiever celebrating their success, realise they stand as a shining beacon that it is possible to treat your work the same way.

Tips on studying through the night

The key to a solid life balance is knowing when and how to pull an effective all-nighter. Next exam take a look around – I guarantee you will spot the overachievers by the tell-tale signs of having less than three hours sleep the night before. Sure, the difference between the two of you is they need an all-nighter because they were in New York saving orphaned puppies while you need one because you watched the whole first season of Stranger Things in a day – but hey, they’re equally valid excuses.

A classic overachiever will hit the exam room on zero per cent energy and consistently get 95 per cent results. Ask them about their caffeine intake, motivation songs and highlighter techniques, maximise your last minute study with their help.

How to take it all in your stride

When it comes to assessment scheduling I have the emotional fortitude of a leaf. If I have more than two in a week, I crumble. Yet somehow there is an overachiever out there doing readings and writing essays on the bus to a job interview without breaking their stride.

This is the biggest lesson that can be learnt from overachievers worldwide.

The ability to just say “this is fine – I’ll get it done”.

We might never stop hating overachievers but maybe we should start learning from them, after all, the better the rest of us do, the less they can brag about everything.

Darcy Munce

Darcy is a Journalism student at UNSW who can be found either watching American sport or ’90s sitcoms. He dreams of one day anchoring at ESPN with enough downtime to re-watch Scrubs for the thousandth time.

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