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Real Talk Freshman Year: Comparisons

Despite all that’s occurring in the world and FSU making the decision to go online for the rest of the semester, I decided to continue my series on freshman year real talk. For current freshmen, future freshmen, or anyone who wants to feel less alone, this is for you!

When you first enter college, everything is so new and exciting. Everything seems to be a big deal: like whether that picture matches your feed, whether that cute boy you swiped right on Tinder will swipe back, what fraternity’s tailgate you’re attending, or even what color your birthday balloons are. If you think these sound like first-world issues, well, you are correct. And, if you haven’t realized, hopefully, you soon will, that most of these things that seem like big deals are self-imposed nonsense. Even worse is that we overthink and get entirely stressed about these self-imposed nonsensical things.

21st birthday balloons
Kortnee Greenfield

A lot of this comes from having unrealistic expectations, and by comparing ourselves to others, which starts the minute we emerge from the womb….what was your birth weight compared to others, when did you start crawling, when were you potty trained and so on. So, as you can see, comparing is not an easy thing to unlearn as virtually everything has a benchmark of some sort by which we measure ourselves against. And the older we get, the more we become acutely aware of the benchmarks our society has set for every aspect of our lives and also how we measure up to them. I’m not going to lie, I’ve never felt as insecure in my life as I did the beginning of freshman year. I’d find myself constantly comparing myself to others… “I don’t look as good, I’ll never be able to manage that class as well as so and so, or I could never pull something like that off.” The negative self-talk ran rampant in my head. 

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others that may be smarter, better looking, more popular, richer, more athletic, and (you fill in the blank). I get it. Yet, the thing that baffles me the most is that we are part of this all-inclusive generation where we are supposed to be more accepting of all things human, yet we still can’t fully accept ourselves as we are. Insecurity and distraught mental health are at an all-time high. The introduction of the Internet and social media has exponentially increased our exposure to “ideals,” which in turn fuels comparisons and further ignites our insecurities. We have to rise above this and realize that instead of putting so much time and mental energy into comparisons, perhaps we should simply call ourselves out on it and focus on how to be successful in our own way and on things that actually make a positive impact on our world. When the comparison game starts in your head…shut it down. The fact of the matter is that you can’t be those “ideal” people or situations, but you can control your own thoughts and actions. We must also acknowledge that behind every ideal image is a perfectly flawed human who is most likely going through their own troubles and trying to figure themselves out, so we often only see part of the story. The world doesn’t need more envious copycats, the world needs genuineness and acceptance.

many people crossing the street
Rwoji Iwata

As you progress through your college years, remember that comparisons often make us lose sight of who we are and our uniqueness. If you have to compare though, do it only based on your values and goals, so you don’t waste time trying to become someone or something that’s already been done. You were born an original, don’t die a copy.

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Hey, I'm Taylor Kirby! I'm a sophomore double majoring in Marketing & Advertising at FSU. You can find me in my room mourning the loss of "Vine" as I pretend I don't know almost every Tik Tok dance.
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