The Issues of Comparing Yourself to Other's Academic Standards


     It is no question that there is a deep-rooted belief that some form of a higher degree will lead to a life of prosperity and is essentially the first step to self-actualization. Somewhere along the way though, the desire to work hard and strive for success morphed into an unconscious desire to live up to others academic standards. Although this is not to undermine the students that truly have a work ethic that is unconcerned with others academic endeavors, I believe it is time to talk about this topic in a new light. An environment of healthy competition has proven to push individuals to be the best version of themselves, but many times this rigor has led to unnecessary stress and a suppression of self-confidence.

    From the cold war to the fact that the world is changing faster than any data can track, the need to do well has always existed. This thirst for success has advanced our society to great lengths and is continuously growing our capacity for greatness. Competition among peers has never been a private thing but the purpose of higher education is starting to get lost among the shuffle of college acceptances. The fact that there has been a rise in extrinsic motivation, in terms of succeeding in academic endeavors, has stamped colleges with a certain golden seal, even if they don’t contain certain aspects students are looking for. Now trust me, I know that from personal experience, an environment of competition can be healthy and inspire students to strive for an education they believe opens many doors for them. Besides this fact, the unhealthy habit of students comparing themselves to the standards of the friends and family around them has proven to create unimaginable stress and toxic energy. Looking at all these aspects of the issue, it is important to understand that if college is the route you are looking to take, strive for a college that you believe has the potential to grow you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually (if you are into that). Although, the alumni, graduation rates, and credibility of a school is important, it is imperative to choose a path that will best suit you, even if it is unconventional. It is vital to understand that college, although the gateway to other opportunities, is not the only path you have to take. Once you realize that the only academic standards you have to live up to is yours, you will begin to realize that your best is sometimes as high as you can go. This doesn’t mean that you should lower your bar in anyway, but it simply means that there are so many benefits to having a loving and accepting attitude towards yourself. Having faith in the future and finding the balance between control and faith is no easy feat, but one worth searching for.

    Additionally, every college campus comes with different resources and opportunities, but it is ultimately up to the individual to utilize these tools to develop their future. If you were to take one thing from this article it is that it is not always the college you attend that will get you far in life, it is the resources you utilize to your advantage. I in no way want to undermine the stress that society has put on student in the past, but sometimes you must understand the benefits that could potentially come out of an untraditional route in life. Sometimes others’ bars of success should not define your bar of success. As I conclude, I would like to applaud the students that have a long-term plan and firm goals and the students that simply have no idea as to what the future holds. Along with the diversity of students out there I especially want to applaud educational establishments, whether its college, high school, or anything in between, for fostering environments that has developed great minds and encouraged creativity for the greater good. Whether you are in the step of your life where you are in high school or already in high school this lesson applies to so many situations and essentially speaks to the fact that you need to have faith in what the future has in store for you.