“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
Being in your late teens and early twenties on a college campus is an unparalleled experience. There will never be another time in your life when you are almost exclusively surrounded by people your age.
This unique setting brings lots of excitement into our lives when we step onto campus as doe-eyed freshmen but eventually we find that it does not come without its challenges. It becomes infinitely easier to compare yourself to those around you when everyone is at the same point in their lives.
There’s no arguing with the fact that a lot can happen in four years, and First-years and Seniors will most likely hold different priorities, but the fact of the matter is so many of us share similar insecurities- no matter how old. There’s always going to be someone who’s better-looking, has better grades and maybe even snagged that coveted internship for the summer. I bet you’ve already got someone in mind. This is completely normal. However, comparison can quickly turn into jealousy and resentment, and harboring negative energy is never a good thing.
It’s really important ask questions and learn from others. However, no matter what everyone is up to it is important to remember that everyone is different. There is no race to the finish line when it comes to personal and academic achievements. It’s hard at times, but focus on yourself and celebrate little accomplishments in life when you can.
In high school, almost everyone is has the same goals and aspirations: get into college or get a job. Now that we’ve made it this far, it seems that everyone is growing and developing at different paces. It can be challenging to watch a close friend get a Fulbright and an internship and an A on a paper; meanwhile you’re struggling to make it to through your 8:30 a.m. class. Challenge yourself to try to see even these small achievements as personal victories.
It can be detrimental to compare yourself to others, especially without knowing all of the details. Comparing yourself to another person is like comparing yourself to a painting. The painting is nice, but at the end of the day, it’s only two-dimensional.
It’s so natural for us to want to compare ourselves to our peers. Many of us are competitive by nature. We want to see how we stack up against one another. Here’s where the problem comes in: Someone is always going to get hurt. People don’t want to be told someone else is better than them, but the reality is, there is always going to be someone “better” than you at whatever it is you are doing.
So, here’s a pro-tip: don’t use your envy to motivate you. It may sound appealing: be the person who you consider to be successful. While this can be helpful inspiration, at the end of the day, what should motivate you is YOU. You deserve to be the best version of yourself- for you and no one else.