The end of the year is within reach, and people are starting to decide on their next steps. From prestigious internships to exciting study abroad programs, everyone seems to have something big in store for them this summer.
As I watch my peers announce their summer plans, each opportunity more impressive than the next, I’m intimidated. I’m still not sure what I’ll be doing this summer, but it will surely pale in comparison to a top tier internship in New York City or Washington, D.C.
Here’s the thing: UNC is a highly respected, illustrious institution. There is an abundance of remarkable people here. And I am so lucky to be one of them, and I am so grateful to share this space with such incredibly talented individuals.
But with it comes a lot of pressure and competition. It’s a toxic, deceptive environment that easily stokes cynicism in all of us. Trapped in a cycle of social comparison, we reveal only what we want the world to see: our best, most intelligent selves. Our resumes become status symbols in the hopes of proving ourselves worthy of our place here. We trick others into thinking we’re superhuman.
And because of that, I so often feel inadequate. I feel exceptionally mediocre. Although I have much to be proud of, I see my successes as lackluster when compared to those of my peers. I convince myself I do not deserve to be here, surrounded by people who are far more skilled and accomplished than I could ever hope to be. I panic every time I’m reminded that I know so little about so much, while those around me seem to know everything.