Comparing yourself to others, friend or foe? We all do it and many suggest that this is why many women hate each other on sight. It’s competition and competition makes people nervous, but they’re not going to show that to the world. So they go on the defense and start talking trash. Women do it all the time. Men call it hens clucking but the simpler word for it is just plain ole gossip.
The purpose of this blog is not to discuss the ins and outs of how women put each other down. Let us put it on a more academic level, so it can also apply to any fellas who happen to be reading. First off, let me just say that I am in my third year of college and I have qualified as a Senior since the fall. I was actually in Senior Seminar last semester, on the fast track to graduation this May. Things never go as planned though and suffice to say, I will be here until next December. I’m six months behind schedule, but I’m still graduating a semester early. Figure that one out. Don’t panic, I will not bore you to death with the details of my academic life. There’s a point to this, because it is part of why I thought of having this topic as a blog in the first place.
I graduated from high school in the top twenty of my class. I was in Beta Club and Freshman and Sophomore year, I was heavily involved in Future Business Leaders of America. I came to college with fifteen credit hours already under my belt thanks to AP classes and one class taken through the community college. I switched majors half way through my second year from Education to English and almost automatically, I was invited to join the English Honors Society, known as Sigma Tau Delta (STD, yes we have shirts playing off that joke). I’m a good student, as I hope I have made clear in the paragraph you just got done reading. But somewhere along the line, none of that mattered and I tripped and fell flat on my arse.
Now to the main point. I’m one of the worst in the world to compare myself to someone else. I like feeling like I’m smart, feeling like I can compete with the smartest and busiest people here on campus. This is partly ego and it also comes from the distinct memory of being shocked the first time my mom told me I was smart. I didn’t think I was and sometimes I still wrestle with whether I am or not. This is part of why I compare myself. It’s insecurity and I would venture to say that when others compare themselves to the people around them, it comes from insecurity as well.
I see people on this campus that have so much on their plate, you honestly wonder when they have time to breathe. So when I have Senior Seminar with those same people who are super, super busy all the time, and they succeed where I failed (and I cringe typing that word), it is like a kick in the gut. I look at friends who are taking on the same responsibilities I have taken on and I’m curious if they’re not comparing themselves as well, to see if they can manage it all. If they manage to succeed where I failed, it will be another kick in the gut. But here comes the big life lesson to take away from all of this: Stop comparing yourself to them.
Everybody’s situation is different and as my advisor said to me last semester as I was realizing what I had done, you have to learn your limits at some point. Not only that, but it comes down to learning to pace yourself. I had been an English major for a single semester when I jumped into Senior Sem. From the beginning I felt out of place, like I had jumped up too many steps and was about to fall backwards. I tried to push through it and hold my balance, but I fell. I fell backwards six months. Part of it is my fault, for various reasons, but the bottom line is I pushed too fast. And you know what, that is no one else’s business. They’re not in the same situation I was. They haven’t had my combination of classes and overall learning from Kindergarten to the present. Their experience is different and because of that, it is difficult, if not impossible, to compare my situation to theirs anyway. So why should I feel bad that our academics aren’t exactly the same? It doesn’t mean they’re any smarter than I am. It may feel that way sometimes, but it’s not true. Frankly, shit happens and life takes twists and turns that you could never anticipate in a million years. We just have to deal with it.
Intelligence is so hard to judge and even with all our technology and tests and methods, we still cannot accurately judge anyone’s intelligence. Everyone has their own talents and things they ace at, and they all also have things they positively suck at that no amount of teaching or training will ever change. We’re no better or worse than each other for these things. We’re just human. The moral of this story is that we all need to stop comparing ourselves to each other and we need to stop judging each other.
I will stop comparing myself to others and realize I am a smart woman and I am damn talented with at least one thing, and that’s good enough. I am unique because I am me and that is all that should matter.
Now ladies reading, repeat this to yourselves daily, unless you are a genius because you realized this a long time ago and you actually believe it. It’s something I need to repeat to myself every day because I may be a lot of things, but genius is not one of them. To the guys reading, you can adjust it for yourselves if need be. As everybody starts a new semester and a new rat race, we all need to remind ourselves of this. Strive for your best, but if your best isn’t the same as someone else’s, you’re still a hot item hon.