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  • Caroline Harris

It's YOUR Life

Comparison is the thief of joy. In our striving, insta story highlight, LinkedIn job update, clogged-up world, it is so easy to feel lost in the mix, never measuring up. I have felt this way on countless occasions during my time at UNC.


I was always expectant of the day that I’d finally feel like I was accomplishing what I needed -- getting into business school, securing a highly sought-after job, gaining the respect of my teachers -- but I have yet to find that moment of redemption. What I have come to find, though, is that there is no mile marker or accomplishment that brings full and true fulfillment. The past four years I have been searching for purpose, only to further realize a feeling of not-enoughness.


Putting hope in finally reaching a point where I feel like I’m thriving has required a transformation in my mindset. And the start of that shift is to stop comparing.


1. STOP COMPARING

Comparison is the thief of joy. When I reflect it feels like an obvious fact, but it is all too easy to get caught up in the LinkedIn job announcements, Insta posts and general chit chat of the next coolest thing friends are doing. Be happy for your peers, and build them up with encouragement and genuine excitement. DON’T let what they achieve detract from your own self-worth, easy as it may be.


2. TAKE A MENTAL INVENTORY

Instead of focusing on where you aren’t enough, try thinking or journaling about what you love doing or what you are best at. What brings a smile to your face? When do you feel most alive? For me, I get energy from the people I love, traveling, serving, and creating, whether it’s art, cooking, or fine-tuning my weekly calendar.


One of the best tips I have gotten for finding what you are truly passionate about is at the intersection of what sets you on fire and what breaks your heart. So, take a step away from what everyone else is doing and make a list of things you love to do. Take the time to ask those closest to you (friends, family, teachers, coaches) what they recognize most about you. They might see something you don’t even realize you’re really good at.


3. WIELD TIME IN YOUR SCHEDULE FOR THE THINGS YOU LOVE DOING

Instead of spending hours scrolling through social media, try scheduling out time to do something you love every single day. On my iCal, I keep up with classes, commitments, holidays, etc., but I also make sure to include something that makes me happy every day. Having it physically written into your schedule makes you more likely to achieve it. Some ideas are journaling, walking with a friend, or cooking a meal with your roommates.


4. TAKE A MOMENT TO REALIZE YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THESE FEELINGS

The more people I talk to about this feeling of never measuring up, the more I realize how everyone feels this way at some point or another. In college, we are in such a high-achieving culture, in a town with some of the smartest people we will ever be around. Let’s normalize talking about this invisible pressure to always one-up.


5. LEARN TO APPRECIATE DIFFERENCES AND INDIVIDUALITY

I have personally felt very pressured to work a certain job in business to get a sense of validation. I was under the impression that if I didn’t work for a big tech company, consulting firm, or bank, I wasn’t reaching my full potential. Shedding these confinements has allowed me to feel freer than I ever have.


So, it’s your life. Find what you love and go all in.



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