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Comparing Yourself With Others

It’s application season again. Premeds are looking for summer research positions. Med students are applying for scholarships and grants to fund their education. And medical school admission committees are processing and reviewing hundreds of files.

Naturally as a consequence of seeing the profiles of so many talented people, you begin to compare yourself to others. You size up your accomplishments to others to see how you have done in comparison. While browsing through all these amazing applicants, I still wonder how it was possible that I was ever admitted to medical school.

I am not a captain of a varsity sports team. I haven’t backpacked across Asia, volunteered in Africa or ran a marathon. I’m not a gifted musician in any instrument and I can’t speak three languages. Yet there are dozens of applicants that have such experiences. They have had endured life-changing hardships and have overcome poverty and prejudice. I feel like there are so many more deserving applicants than me.

If you hang around internet medical forums, you would have experienced this insecurity. Almost all the posters seem to have a 4.0 GPA, MCAT 36+, hundreds of hours of volunteering and great leadership roles. If you go to it’s so easy to feel down when comparing yourself to others.

If you haven’t had this experience before, just look up the winners of some big scholarships. Rhode scholars, Fulbright, Gates Scholars, Golden Key recipients. I feel small and insignificant in comparison when I read the winner’s bios. What have I done?

Comparing yourself to others can be a boost to your ego but for the most part it will be a blow to your self-esteem. You will feel as if your best isn’t enough. You will have no confidence in your own abilities.

When I am down and out, I just remind myself that it’s all about doing YOUR best. The only person I should be comparing my achievements with, is myself. Am I a better person today than I was yesterday?

Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. And when I think about it, when I look at highly accomplished people, I know I probably do certain things better than them. I might be a better friend, a better listener, someone who can keeps secrets well. The point is everyone has good and bad points and it would be foolish not to realize that we will always be learning from and teaching each other.

So next time that you find yourself comparing your accomplishments with others, step back and look at what really matters. Don’t do things because other people are doing it.

If you compare yourself only to yourself, in the long run, you’ll be much more satisfied with your achievements.

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One Comment

  1. mic October 28, 2023

    So true. In school, you would often come across certain people who get amazing marks, win every excellence award there is, yet at the same time are executives on councils and clubs. Its hard not to feel intimidated. I really the way you put it, its all about doing your best - whether it is school, a sport or a competition, its all about beating yourself

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