Caralena Peterson


I am a recent college graduate in the process of getting my first book The Effortless Perfection Myth published. Effortless Perfection is a term that was coined at my alma mater Duke University in 2003; it’s “the sense that one must have the perfect grades, perfect body, perfect social life, all without any visible effort.”

I have seen far too many young collegiate women chase after and eventually get crushed by the notion, not only that this way of being is possible, but that anything less constitutes a personal failure — myself included. My book aims to debunk the Effortless Perfection myth and detail a road map to empowerment for those about to enter college, currently in college, or out of college but still trying to make sense of their experiences.


my writing

Recent works of mine have been published in Ms. Magazine, Inside Higher Ed, Bustle, Elite Daily, Garnet News, and The Duke Chronicle. Scroll down to join my newsletter and follow me as I build my platform!


MY mission

Effortless Perfection has created an environment wherein we are so set on making it seem like we have everything put together at all points in time that, when we do inevitably hit a road bump, we look round at our seemly flawless peers and assume we are the only ones struggling.

We do not realize the extent to which every other member of our community is carefully holding their cards close to their chest, unwilling to show anything beyond a socially accepted front of confident ease.

We conclude there is no other way to deal with our problems than alone if we do not wish to stand out as “broken” or “the one who couldn’t keep up.” Thus, the consequences of such struggles became much more harmful and extreme. 

my book is about showing enough of our own vulnerabilities that others do not feel the need to hide their own.

I apply this concept to self-esteem, confidence, assertiveness, body image, hook-up saavy, rape and raunch culture, Belonging, and Identity on behalf of young women.

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