Why can’t I be more like you?

When walking around campus, take a moment to look around and see how unique everyone is from one another and what it is that they are pursuing.

People enter college for many reasons and often at different stages of their lives. You might know someone who just transferred in from community college, already struggling to adjust to the massive change in commute and tuition. Maybe you will notice a new freshman, ahead of the game and fully focused on their studies.

You may find yourself noticing the students who can balance being an athlete and manage to get their assignments in on time, making them the professor’s favorites.

Comparing yourself to these students should not be what defines your success and endeavors in college, as each path leads to a different result.

I, myself, am a student who came to Long Beach State as a transfer from Los Angeles City College. I was so excited to begin this new chapter of my education.

Yet when I got here, all I could think about was my studies. I desperately wanted to be a part of something bigger and someone who could balance multiple things at once.

I began comparing myself to other students. These students included people who had been at CSULB since their freshman year; had internships, were in sororities, could work out every day and still get straight A’s.

“Now those are accomplishments that I could never achieve,” I thought to myself.

I felt like I was not worthy of being a part of this rigorous college system and its student body.

This is where I began to visualize myself as the person I thought I needed to be, to become happy in college. I told myself that I should put in the effort and be more social and active in attending on-campus events.

At a point though, I felt like I had just begun comparing myself to the person that I thought I should become, rather than focusing on the things that actually made me happy.

It needed to stop and to do that, I made myself speak to other college students about where they were in their educational careers.

I came to realize that not everyone was a genius in their study, or played sports after class and only a small amount of students were truly able to get ahead even before coming to CSULB.

Now knowing this information, I learned that I could not keep comparing myself to a group of students who already had an advantage. It hurt to have this realization, but it also brought me to my senses.

That taught me not only how the world works, but how I work as well.

It took me time to find groups on campus that I felt that I could be a part of and learn from at the same time. It took me a year to find a job on campus to support my needs and to build upon my network.

Even though it was tough to know where I fit in for a while, it always was there, it just was a matter of when found it.

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