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VPSA Blog: February 7, 2019


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February 7, 2019

There’s a well-known quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” We’ve all experienced that feeling. Maybe you’re walking across campus, singing along to your Wednesday morning playlist. Then a student crosses your path, bopping to their own playlist, but you notice they’re listening on their new Air Pods. Suddenly, your wired earbuds don’t sound as good as they did a minute ago. Why do we do that to ourselves?

Comparing ourselves to other people can help us figure out who we are in society. A brief comparison can help us remind ourselves that we’re not as bad off as we may feel we are in a particular moment or motivate us to set the goals we’d like to achieve. While comparing ourselves to other people is natural and helpful in some ways, we should be careful not to take it overboard.

You never know what it costed someone to get where they are or what they have. Perhaps you feel a little jealous that someone received a grant that you wanted, but you don’t know the hours of work they put in to win that award. Yes, you know that Air Pods cost 159 bucks, but you don’t always know your friend’s financial situation—they may have left a bill unpaid to afford them!

Social media is especially good at making our lives look idealized and easy. Maybe you see a classmate on Instagram, sitting in a shiny, red convertible. But if you could zoom out of frame, you might find that the car is on cinder blocks and his friend is pointing a fan at him to give the illusion of movement—they’re really going nowhere.

Don’t get caught up in comparisons. Your life is unique. You have much to offer.  Be what the world needs—YOU.

How do you keep comparison from stealing your joy?
Let us know on Twitter!



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The Division Student Affairs supports the mission of the University by providing student-centered, high quality programs that promote an appreciation of diversity and foster a strong university community.


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