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How I Learned & Am Still Learning to Stop Comparing Myself to Others: By Listening to Hamilton

Let’s get real, college can be super depressing; especially in the age of social media. It feels as though after high school, social media becomes a competition. We’re all competing to see who has the best life post-graduation. Who went to college? Who didn’t? Who “glo’d up” Who peaked? We find ourselves consumed; cyberstalking our colleagues’ social media platforms, until either we feel better about ourselves or more commonly until we’re convinced we already failed at life before the age of 21. And from all this made-up competition; I will be the first to admit it; I can’t help but to feel bittersweet about others life advances, especially when it feels like my life has been on pause.


Although we are told countless amounts of times to not compare our lives to others, Why do we still do it?


Last night as I was jamming to’ Wait for it’  from the legendary Hamilton soundtrack, and scrolling down Instagram; as one does when they are procrastinating sleep, Aaron Burr’s lyrics (Leslie Odom Jr.) struck me differently; in the power ballad he sings;


1) I’m not falling behind or running late/I’m not standing still/I am lying in wait


That night I kept replaying not the whole song, but 3 sections; this was the first. I am not exaggerating when I say that I had literal tears falling down my cheeks. It was because I had a realization that I wasn’t completely happy with. I was Aaron Burr.  I work my ass off like him, and again like Burr wasn’t seeing results. So, of course, I could empathize with him feeling some kind of way about Alexander Hamilton, storming in with his brilliant mind and literally changing the world. In the lyrics above, he does assure himself that everything meant him will happen. Because again; there is no rush. Our success will happen in our time, so why are we so worried about everyone else’s. 


2) Hamilton faces an endless uphill climb/He has something to prove he has nothing to lose/

Hamilton’s pace is relentless/He wastes no time/What is it like in his shoes?


He backtracks in this section. Although he knows that things will happen in time, his mind still wanders…what would it like to be him? How would it feel to be in his place? Everyone has wondered what it would be like to be someone else, and it is natural for Aaron Burr to feel this way. This comforted me; it was nice to know that Lin Manuel Miranda’s adaptation of Aaron Burr felt the way that I sometimes feel now. It reminded me that emotions are timeless, which is why I can relate to an idea man who was alive in the 1700s.


3) Hamilton doesn’t hesitate/He exhibits no restraint/ He takes and he takes and he takes

And he keeps winning anyway/He changes the game./He plays and he raises the stakes./

And if there’s a reason/He seems to thrive when so few survive/ Then Goddamnit I’m willing to wait for it[…]


This is exactly when I realized; someone’s success is not your failure. I will say it again in caps for the readers who can relate to me. SOMEONE’S SUCCESS IS NOT YOUR FAILURE. I feel like musical Aaron Burr’s greatest flaw is that he compared himself to Hamilton too much. Yes, in this song he belts about “waiting for his time” but in the musical, he ultimately drives himself to madness from this internal battle in his head. He goes as far as to killing Hamilton in a duel (in the musical and in real life.) This section of the song sounds like he is reassuring himself about something he doesn’t actually believe. But the thing is, you and I have to believe it. We can’t just tell ourselves false truths then internally let our blood boil until we explode. Because yes, he exploded. Aaron Burr exploded. He killed Hamilton.


After reflecting on this song and my life; I am pretty sure of this. I don’t want to be an Aaron Burr. I don’t want to be a jealous person and resent the people in my life for being successful, because dammit, I’m going to be successful and get EVERYTHING I want out of life.  I don’t have to be him and neither do you. So moping around and comparing yourself to the people around you and be an Alexander Hamilton. Be confident. Don’t hesitate. Raise the Stakes!!


Maniya Ross

Montclair '21

Hello, my name is Maniya Ross and I am a Junior at Montclair State University Studying Television and Musical Theater. I am an actor and writer as well as a musician. After receiving my BA, I hope to further my education and pursue my MFA in Acting.
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