"Don’t compare yourself to others."
That has always been one of my mantras in trying to keep myself content with my own life. After all, comparing yourself to others always seems to have such a negative connotation. But lately, I’ve really come to understand that this statement needs to be taken with a grain of salt, for it is so easy to compare yourself and feel bad when people only post their highs on social media and hide their lows. It is so simple to forget that others may face the same struggles or even more, and that talking and comparing yourself to others can help put your own life in perspective.
I came to reflect upon this today after talking with some of my classmates in my night chemistry class at community college. There I was, feeling tired and grumpy. I hated this past week of waking up at 7 a.m. to face a 9 hour workday, and then going to night class for another 4 hours before heading home to study for MCAT for the remainder of the night. I couldn’t believe I would have face this stressful schedule for another few months. Yet, my perspective changed as I talked to my classmates. My classmates were starting work at 6 or 7 a.m., working 7 days a week, along with commuting two hours to take this class because no schools around their area offered it. They were studying for the pharm tech licensing exam, taking classes at multiple community colleges, or writing applications for PT and PA school at the same time. How little my efforts seem compared to theirs.
I began to see the stark contrast between college and the real world. It isn’t simply about studying and passing a class. My classmates are making a future for themselves, and determined to do everything necessary to do it, including balancing class, work, paying bills, and raising families. I have no right to complain about how hard it is to work full-time and study, when people around me don’t know a life without it because they do it every day. It’s so unbelievably inspiring to be surrounded by people like this.With sheer willpower, they make it work, and so can I.