College students must stop comparing their accomplishments

College students must stop comparing their accomplishments

I get a text from a friend who tells me she landed the internship of her dreams for next summer. I am ecstatic for her. But deep down, I am frustrated as to why I’m not the one receiving that news. 

I sit at lunch every day and listen to my friends talk about their plans for next summer. They compare possible locations and possible positions they’re interested in. I listen in on my sorority’s internship panel as older girls share their experiences of this past summer. From the looks of it, they all landed that picture-perfect summer of their dreams. From Los Angeles to New York to even London, I knew I wanted that too. 

I even grew angry at myself that I wasn’t reaching those heights. Now being a couple months into my junior year of college, I can’t help but come to a realization. I walk past sororities with huge paper signs that scream congratulations to their members who make significant accomplishments. I scroll through Facebook and see statuses announcing my friends’ prestigious job offers or their thrilling study abroad plans. I even overhear strangers in my classes gloat to other strangers that all their hard work has paid off. 

I realized I have spent the past two and a half years constantly comparing myself to others. The sad thing is it became so mundane that I never even caught myself doing it. I focus too much on everything going on around me and how successful everyone is that I forget to think about the fact that I am capable of being that successful. Why do I believe that is so out of my reach?

As humans, we constantly compare ourselves to others; it’s simply in our nature. I can’t help that I get discouraged when I overhear the student who is involved in 12 clubs, president of multiple honor societies, maintains a job during the school year and devotes all their free time to community service. 

A classmate recently asked me if she should join SGA. Instead of giving her the simple yes, I asked her why. She was taken back that I asked her that instead of encouraging her to do it. The truth is, I wasn’t encouraging her not to. I simply was curious why she was interested. Her reasoning was that she was stressed out she wasn’t involved enough. She has many friends involved with it, so she felt she needed to add that to her resume as well.

It’s imperative that we remember not to measure our self-worth and level of greatness by comparing ourselves to others. We forget how to feel proud of ourselves because maybe that one big achievement of ours wasn’t as big as the next person’s.

This behavior is detrimental to anyone, but especially to college students. While this is a crucial four years to add to our resumes, it’s also a crucial time to figure out what we are passionate about. If you’re involved in an organization that you dread going to every Wednesday at 8 p.m., you should probably quit. While it’s important to be involved, it’s even more vital to be involved in things you genuinely enjoy taking part in. 

I spent way too much time feeling mediocre and inferior to most of the people around me. It may have taken two years of college under my belt to realize I needed to stop comparing myself, but I’m glad I was finally able to catch myself.

Annie Milbourn is a junior majoring in journalism. Her column runs biweekly. 

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