College is a time for meeting new people, networking, learning about your interests and setting yourself up for the future. It is also a time for fierce competition amongst peers.
It is hard not to make comparisons between people’s level of success. Hearing that someone landed a big internship, secured a job after graduation, or got into grad school may be a celebratory event at first, but can make you wonder, Should I be doing that, too?
A little bit of competition is always a good thing, it pushes you to work harder, go further, and achieve more than you might have ever thought you could. But when that competition turns into unproductive comparisons that make you feel like you are not achieving enough, they need to stop.
The truth is that there is no one set path to a great job, no “right way” to go about advancing a career or even getting a foot in the door. One person’s accomplishment should, if anything, serve as motivation for you to find out what it is you want to do next, not as an indicator of what you should be doing.
When you feel like your peers are accomplishing more than you, do not take it as a sign that you need to run to fill out grad school applications, too. Instead, use their success to drive yourself forward, make bigger strides, and explore what it is you want to do next.
Remember, your path to success will likely look nothing like the person’s sitting next to you. And you definitely do not have to have the same goals they do. So while you should maintain a healthy level of competition, stop comparing yourself to your peers.