On Feeling Like I Fail To Measure Up Academically

Much like I did last February with the #LoveMe challenge, I’m going to focus on self-love this month. There is never a bad time to do this, but I think it’s nice to do it when everyone is already talking about love anyway. I won’t be posting about self-love stuff each and every day, but I have a few thematic posts scheduled – discussions of mental health, tags about me + my life, and so on and so forth.

Today I’d like to talk about comparison. Because I used to think I didn’t compare myself to others, but realized within the last couple of months that I totally do. Which was a bit of a shock, since I’d spent so long building myself up as someone who Doesn’t Do That.

That was the last little remnant of my Not Like Other Girls™ phase, I think. I’d long since gotten over that when it came to music and clothes and makeup and and reading tastes and whatnot. Like, you do you.

But I used to be all like who, me? I’m not insecure about how well I match up with everyone else. In any way. That’s for other people. I’m a strong independent woman who don’t need no social comparison.

This belief began to erode when I joined the studyblr community last year.

Maybe it should have been obvious where my weakness lies. I work myself hard, often until I’m overtired and my roommate has to tell me to knock it off already. I was placed in gifted & talented programs in elementary school. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I love making to-do lists and picking out brand-new planners to use during the coming year.

When it comes to academics, I definitely compare myself to others.

I work hard because I love studying, it’s true. I love learning! Plus, if I’m honest, I like to sit. I don’t exactly adore writing long research papers, but if I’m forced to choose between that and going for a run I’d choose writing the paper every time.

But I also work this hard because I’m afraid that if I don’t, I won’t live up to everyone else’s standards. Actually, no matter how hard I work, I never really feel that I’m living up to expectations, which just means I push myself even harder.

I see my friends studying in the library, laptop open and textbooks strewn all around. I see my friends serving as president of this club and editor of that magazine and RA in the dorm over there.

And I feel like I should be doing more.

My grades aren’t perfect, but they’re nothing to worry about either. One of the girls in my therapy group last semester, a senior, said I work harder and do more than any other student with depression that she knows.

I suppose I spent so long thinking I don’t compare myself to others because if I didn’t, that would mean having issues to deal with. Well, now I’m trying to face those issues. I know that absolutely NO ONE has their life together and that social media doesn’t show us reality, but I fully bought into the idea that I have to do + be more 24/7.

Accepting that rather sudden realization will be almost as difficult as learning how to stop comparing myself to others, I think.

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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1 Response to On Feeling Like I Fail To Measure Up Academically

  1. Mom says:

    I hope realizing you need to stop comparing yourself to others gives you more of the serenity that you need.

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