Stop Competing With Others

As Berkeley students, many of us have felt, at some point or another, the feeling of having to become a part of the “rat race:” to join more clubs, to find that perfect internship, or to have the perfect social life. It can feel like a sprint to portray ourselves in a certain light--whether it be our friends or family. But is that really what we want? How can we stop competing with others, and start competing with ourselves?


The answer is not simple--we live in a society where getting little sleep to finish assignments at the last minute often times is considered “cool,” versus someone who starts weeks in advance is a “nerd,” and where it can often feel like a competition about who has the least time because they are so busy with research, sports and social events. We may feel pressured to have the most aesthetic Instagram, or the most connections and job experiences on LinkedIn. Perhaps the first question we can ask ourselves is, why do many of us think being busy, and getting so little sleep is “cool?” It has been scientifically proven that getting less sleep makes us more prone to lethal diseases and can also depress our mood. Isn’t it “cooler” to be healthy, and choose to involve yourself in only the things that you are truly passionate about and find worthwhile? Next time you ask yourself whether you should join another club to add to your resume, think about whether or not it can truly enrich your life in a meaningful way. Resumés can impress others, but make sure you are impressing and fulfilling yourself along the way.


Another thing to consider is time as a commodity. No matter what, there are only twenty-four hours in the day. While it may be tempting to fill your schedule with a variety of different clubs and social activities, think about the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. While one might say that exposing yourself to a variety of different activities can provide a range of different perspectives and viewpoints of careers and or interests to explore, think about how much time you can devote to each activity. If you choose a select amount of activities or events, you can fully invest your time and energy into them, rather than spreading yourself thin. This would likely provide you with more opportunities to explore options and explore your personal interests. If you spread yourself too thin, you may find yourself tired, irritated, overworked, and unsatisfied with the path you have chosen. Choosing what you get yourself involved in can be important for both mental and physical health.


Lastly, it may be helpful to introspect why you may feel the need to impress and compete with others. What is truly the benefit of being “better” than someone else when it comes to grades, extracurriculars, and social life? If happiness is a choice, then you can make the decision to be happy with achieving your own goals. In the end, if you are happy, then you already have already won the real competition. Rather than thinking about what others have accomplished, keep on focusing on all the great things you have done and the bright future and opportunities that lay in front of you!