The comparison game
Madison Modany is a final-year PharmD candidate at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy.
“Comparison is waste of energy. Every individual is unique with unique talents. Find your passion and live your best life.”—Lailah Gifty Akita
It is human nature to partake in the seemingly unending game of comparison. However, when you continuously look to outward sources for validation, the result is inevitably disappointment. Recognizing how unhealthy and potentially damaging comparison is allows you to halt the cycle and to redirect focus to self-discovery and identification of personal and professional goals.
Pharmacy school is a competitive and increasingly rigorous academic environment, where you are surrounded by overachievers and perfectionists (not dissimilar to me). You encounter demands to overachieve academically, while maintaining involvement in student organizations, research, professional projects, and community service efforts. It was not long before I frequently found myself comparing my life and my experiences to that of my peers. If I lacked a volunteer opportunity or shadowing experience, skill, or quality that a peer had, I would be left with nagging, persistent feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness. It took time for me to realize that comparing what I saw as the best of someone else with my own shortcomings was the source of my feelings of inadequacy.
At large, the truth is you are the only one who can provide yourself with contentment regarding your current situation.
Breaking the cycle
Consider the idiom about apples and oranges, which establishes that it is unreasonable for comparisons to be drawn between things that are fundamentally different at their core. Similarly, there is minimal accuracy in comparisons made across human beings. Everyone possesses distinctive qualities and traits, has varying strengths and weaknesses, and experiences differing successes and failures through life. When you come to terms with this, reallocate your time and energy inward. Take time to truly and deeply get to know yourself. When you do, not only will you feel less inclined to partake in the game of comparison, but you will also begin to discover the path you want to pursue in life.
Ask yourself the following: What am I good at? What is it that inspires me? What am I passionate about? What do I really want in my life?
Do not focus on what you think other people excel at, what you are supposed to like, or the things that others around you have.
My hope for you is that you remain true to yourself throughout your pharmacy journey, feel satisfaction with what you have accomplished thus far, and appreciate those attributes and experiences that make you unique.