All throughout school you compare yourself to others. “Susie got accepted into five internships already and I haven’t even heard back from one” “George is graduating a year early while I have to take an extra semester during the summer just to catch up.” The comparisons are really difficult to avoid. Obviously you and your friends are going to talk about your accomplishments and you will want to support them but it can be difficult when you feel you aren’t successful enough. It is important to remember in these moments that success is subjective and everyone’s journey is different. These two messages are super cliche and can be annoying to hear but it’s true.
Do you ever take time to consider what you are comparing yourself to? How many times do you ask yourself, do I even want that? I know I rarely ever do. I was complaining to my friend Tommy one day about how behind I felt in preparing for grad school in comparison to our friend Dolly, who had already toured and held meetings during our sophomore year. Tommy asked me very bluntly, “Cindy do you even know if you want to go to grad school?” I realized Tommy was right, I never stopped to consider if I wanted to achieve the same goals as those who I was comparing myself to.
Take a moment to reflect on that. What do YOU want? When you compare yourself to someone is it because that’s what you think you should be doing rather than what you want to be doing? After you’ve determined what you want or what your plans are, use comparisons to other people as guidelines or options. If you want to do internships like Susie, take note and ask her for help. If you know that you wouldn’t want to graduate early, congratulate George and appreciate your path. Now that you are in college, you are much more in charge of your life. Take advantage of this new found control and forge the path you’d like to take.
I understand that a lot of this is much more easily said than done, but with diligence, you can accustom your mind to think differently. Continue to be supportive of your peers and allow yourself to be sad when you feel behind. It’s valid to feel upset or jealous as long as you use that emotion to fuel your actions in the future. You can do whatever you set your mind to but you have to take action. Just comparing yourself to others won’t get you anywhere!