No matter how positive you are, we all go through phases of feeling down and come close to giving up. I’m a positive person, but this past week has proven to be a little too much.
Unfortunately nowadays, it’s become too easy to put yourself down, and compare yourselves to others, which leaves you angry, upset, jealous and every other emotion we hate feeling. I’m probably my own worst enemy, and am constantly picking at the little things in my life, and trying to improve them.
I know I’m not the only one to feel this way, as this is quite common among students. Usually the only thing to pick me up when I’m feeling down is a cwtsh from Mam, but this is clearly impossible when you live away. After multiple packets of caramel digestives, several cups of coffee and a couple dozen Asos packages later (ones just arrived) I decided it was time that I came up with my own cures to battle my personal struggles, so if you’d like some ideas on how to help you stay positive, keep reading.
1. I’ll never be as good as them.
Comparing yourself to others is something we are all guilty of. As a student, it’s easy to compare your marks to others, or in terms of placements, comparing your salary or how prestigious your company is to others. It’s important to remember that every individual is different, and we all want to get different things from university. Different people put different amounts of work into their exams, and excel in different modules- that’s life.
In terms of placements, I never wanted a placement in valuation or HR or consultancy, I was only interested in marketing and branding. I didn’t want to work in a boring office, I wanted a young, dynamic and laid-back working environment with a sociable group of employees. So even though my placement isn’t the best paid, it’s what I wanted. If I’m going to spend 6 months in a new city that I’ve never visited before, fitting in and enjoying the job was far more important to me than my salary.
Before you compare yourself to others, work out what’s most important to you.Getting good grades or ensuring that you maintain a social life during your exam periods? The job itself or the money? Make sure everything you do is what’s best for you, not what sounds best to everyone else.
2. Why are they doing better than me?
It’s easy enough to set goals, working towards them isn’t as simple. Achieving your goals takes a lot of time, work and dedication. I realised this when I started Written By H. I didn’t realise how difficult blogging would be until I entered this world. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it’s not as easy as people think. Trying to build a network and get people to read your work is hard, but it’s even harder seeing how slow the growth is. Bloggers invest a lot of time into their work- using all of their free time to write posts, giving their blogs a makeover, looking for inspiration, and everything in between. When I started, I saw all of these incredible blogs with thousands of followers, all receiving freebies and attending the most incredible events- how was I supposed to compete with that? Before you compare your success to others, you need to remember that you all started off in the same boat. People don’t become super successful over night, they’ve all endured the same struggle, but they’ve just worked through it.
That’s what makes people successful- knowing that they aren’t the best YET, but not giving up.
Also, note that nobody truly has it together, so even never believe everything you hear/see on social media.
3. How am I going to get everything done?
Deadlines- the one word students hate hearing. Trying to juggle every aspect of student life is difficult and can definitely take its toll.
At the beginning of second year, my stress levels were sky high. I’d just started my job in Bath, I was applying for placements, my blog had just been created, I had deadlines rolling in, I was in a long-distance relationship and missed my family terribly.
My main problem is that I’m a perfectionist and find it extremely difficult to say no to people, so I had no choice but to find a solution. Organisation is key, and to make sure that I can complete all of my tasks is all down to organisation. If I have multiple deadlines due the same day/ week, I change the deadlines to suit my personal calendar. For example, last semester, I had two assignments due on the 16th November, so I made sure that I finished one of them by the 20th of October, as I had something planned for that weekend. My course mates thought I was mad for having completed the piece of work before the majority of them had even started, but for me, it worked and meant that I could carry on with the rest of my to-do list.
First of all, invest in an organiser or a weekly planner to make sure that you keep on top of everything. I’ve even started planning my meals, making sure that I have food ready for university, or supper ready after a busy day.
Secondly, prioritise your work/events and cut out anything unnecessary. If you’re going through a busier period than usual, make sure you keep your time for the most important things. Don’t waste your time doing things that won’t benefit you in the long run.
4. Are my goals too ambitious?
First of all, there is no such thing as too ambitious- if you think you can do it, you can.
This was exactly how I felt last night when looking at my blog, and I started wondering whether or not I was a little out of my comfort zone.
As I said above, achieving your goals is difficult, and you’ll only succeed if you’re dedicated.
My placement year was the main focus of all of my goals since I was 14 years old. I chose the University of Bath because of its connections with the major companies, the opportunities they offer for placements, and the reputation associated to its School of Management. I knew that it was a competitive university in terms of entry requirements, so since the start of my GCSEs I knew that I had to give everything I had to secure my place.
Similarly, the main goal for my blog was to secure my dream placement, which I did, but never acknowledged the fact that I had achieved it, as I always wanted to go that step further. So make sure you take time out to acknowledge your accomplishments.
5. What if people laugh at me?
Are you paranoid about fitting in, pleasing people or failing? Don’t be. As I said in the introduction, I’m my own worst enemy, and would usually let my fear of opinions control many aspects of my life.
When I started my blog back in August, I didn’t tell anyone, as I thought they’d all think it was a stupid idea or that they’d thought I’d fail. I was so nervous of people’s reactions that it stopped me being proud of it. One thing I learnt was that no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone- it’s impossible.
Recently I’ve realised that my blog is nothing to be ashamed of, as I’ve got the one thing that the rest of my coursemates are after, a placement. And how did I get that? Through my blog? Having or doing something that makes you stand out from the crowd is more valuable than you realise, as it opens doors which lead to great opportunities.
In terms failing, this was my worst nightmare growing up. However, since starting university I’ve realised its a part of life. You can’t go through life without having failed, or even worse, go through life not trying in case you fail. If I did that, I would never have been writing this blog. I’m currently reading limitless, a book by the CEO of AKQA regarding the journeys of the worlds most successful entrepreneurs, and it’s been the biggest eye opener. Do you think the most successful people in the world succeeded at the first attempt? NO! As this book has proven, failures usually turn out to be the best of things.
The way I see it is your happiness is more important than the opinions of others, so if you love doing something, no opinion will ever be stronger than that.
6. Why isn’t my skin/hair/body as nice as hers?
Now for something a little more personal. This is a question I asked myself on a daily basis. I used to constantly compare myself to the beautiful women I saw on the covers of magazines with their gorgeous hair and flawless skin.
Due to lack of sleep, or hormones, I can wake up some mornings hating what I see. My skin would be red and flaky, and the thought of having to face people would make my stomach turn. Sound familiar? I know this is a common thought for women, so
what did I do? Put on a facemask, go for a shower, wash your hair, scrub your face, use a good face cream, pick out your favourite outfit, even if it is completely OTT and do your makeup. If you still need a little pick me up, either hit your nearest shopping centre or order yourself a treat to look forward to.
I did exactly that on Wednesday, and after writing my Gothic Glam post I realised the true power of makeup. It gave me the confidence I needed to get through the day and I felt great.
However, one thing hit me once I saw my before and after photo. If I could create such a difference using my makeup products at home, can you imagine the difference that make up artists can make to celebrities? This thought scared me, as it made me realise that you can’t compare yourself to the people you see on screen, or on the covers of magazines. So next time you hate what you see in the mirror, rather than cry, follow my simple steps above to give you that boost.
I hope this blog has helped you all feel a little more positive and confident, and would love to hear what your personal struggles are including how you get over them.