Stop comparing yourself to others and be proud

Photo by Tyler Meuter

Tech is a mentally hard place to call home.

I am sure many of you reading this would agree that this institution can feel overwhelming with heavy course workloads and the expectations that come with a top-notch research institute with many high-ranking degree programs. With such high prestige and credibility of Tech, it is only logical to think that the best and the brightest students attend Tech — and they do.

On the same token, it is also easy for someone like me to believe that “I am just average” among my classmates who have been salutatorians or valedictorians, who have received countless accolades as individuals or as parts of teams and who have been recognized, effective leaders of their community.

This feeling of “averageness” started when I was talking to one of my close friends. We scrolled through his Facebook timeline and I was amazed by what he had accomplished in such a short time. In high school, he was the student council president, president of the math and science club, captain of the science bowl team and so much more. At Tech, the situation is the same. He holds either president, chair or executive board positions in six organizations around campus, all while pursuing an engineering degree. Easy, right?

Though I was immensely impressed with all he has done and is doing now, I could not help but compare him to myself and feel a bit discouraged. This discouragement led me to believe that I had been unhappy during high school and that my accomplishments were not worthy as compared to others. Humility slowly turned into self-degradation. For instance, I have considered myself very lucky to have been accepted and admitted into Tech.

I remember seeing the “Congratulations” on the top of my screen after months and months of waiting in agony (Tech was my dream school). I was elated to be admitted, but there was a “catch”: in order to gain full admission as a student, I had to register for the late short summer semester as a summer freshman. When I looked back on it, I felt that I was not quite “good enough” to be admitted in the fall and that summer semester was a way for Tech to “test” me to see if I could survive (and surprisingly, I did).

After discussing with my friend about how I felt after looking through his timeline, I realized that I have plenty to be proud of. I have been admitted to one of the top-notch research institutes of my dreams and had the opportunity to start early and familiarize myself with the Tech campus before fall.

Thanks to the summer semester and the FASET program, I met my best friend and now roommate. I am among the best and brightest students at Tech, and my work ethic and determination in my course work reflects that. I am proud to say that I have a co-op starting in the summer.

I am proud to be part of and help lead organizations that I am passionate about such as the Public Speaking Club at Tech and the Technique. Not only have I made accomplishments, but also, more importantly, I have finally realized my place at Tech — and I am happy.

It is easy for most of us to compare ourselves to others and feel a form of inadequacy or “averageness” — and that’s okay sometimes. However, whether you choose to cast any kind of negative light upon your achievements is up to you. No two people lead the same lives and have the same achievements. It is your life. Your accomplishments. Your achievements.

Life is too short to waste time and energy on thoughts and beliefs that are more destructive than constructive. Take time and learn to appreciate, cherish and celebrate your own life and the accomplishments you have achieved.