25 February 2011

Treating the Ophelia Syndrome

My classmate Julia wrote a good, concise synopsis of our last reading, "Diagnosing and Treating the Ophelia Syndrome" by Thomas G. Plummer.  I don't quite agree with the article yet, but I just realized how ironic that is when I responded to Julia's post, our classmates posts, and the class discussion on this topic!

You know, Julia, I was just scanning some of our classmates blogs and I found that everyone agreed with the Ophelia Syndrome article. I still am not sold on the idea. But, ironically, I realized that by being skeptical about the merit of this article I am actually doing many of the things the author suggests--I am trusting myself with this opinion, living with the uncertainty, and essentially thinking independently of my classmates, despite both my professor and the author of the text establishing its legitimacy. Isn't that funny? I am going against the grain but, at the same time, going right along with it.

I think a lot of my attitude has to do with my perfectionist/overachieving nature. I do not use the terms perfectionist and overachieving as a compliment to myself. This morning I took a final, had an emotional breakdown, cancelled my trips to London and Paris, decided I should probably change my major, and slipped into a depression because I feel like a failure. There are plenty of negative aspects of overachieving. Whatever it does to me, I am a perfectionist when it comes to schoolwork, and that always involves giving the professor what he or she wants. Does this mean I cannot think independently? Are the concepts mutually exclusive? Perhaps, but I think there is at least a possibility that students can give the professor exactly what he wants without giving up their individuality.


  1. Why are you canceling your trips to London and Paris? Why are you changing your major? Why do you feel like a failure?????? :(

    I am a perfectionist myself. Overachieving can be a great curse, but I also think that when you exercise independent thinking you are able to give a teacher more than just what he or she wanted. Overachieving overachieving! When you are passionate about whatever it is you are doing, it always just comes together more. Just my thought though. The irony is pretty great with your response to this reading though, haha!

  2. Well, I told those little anecdotes about myself to show the problem with being a perfectionist overachiever, but in rereading my post I realized that I was not quite clear about that. All of those things happened because I tried to do too much and, when I found I couldn't do it all perfectly, I lost all sense of propriety and thought I'd lost control of my life. Perhaps I'm just a control freak at heart :)

    I agree with what you said about passion, Rachel, though I have a feeling that you know much more about it than I do. I often make myself enjoy things simply because I must do them, like homework and washing dishes. I don't think that's legitimate passion :)

  3. I was really glad to have a dissenting voice on the article ... it's always good to have a diversity of opinions. One thing you've got me thinking about is the fact that there are a lot of people out there who, unlike Polonius, are worthy mentors, those who share their wisdom not to control or manipulate but to uplift and nurture.

    With this in mind, I think that it would not be the best response to "The Ophelia Syndrome" to become so independent in your thinking that you reject the possibility that others have advice or guidance on how to think or how to develop thinking that could really help you. Maybe the real point of the article is not that you should rely on your thinking alone, but maybe that you should take the responsibility for choosing your mentors wisely.