I'm still not competitive.
I realized today (maybe I already knew it) something that I have been avoiding, and why.
There is a party tonight. I'm not there.
Now, I have plenty of fine, practical reasons why I'm not there.
- I already went out, on a shopping spree with the girls to get shoes for a romantic evening with Mikey tomorrow.
- I'm going out with Mikey tomorrow, so I don't need to go out two nights in a row.
- I have tons of stuff to do for school, and shopping sprees and romantic evenings are not helping to accomplish them, so going out again is just going to make me feel guiltier than I already do for not doing "the right thing."
Even so, there's one more reason why I didn't want to go tonight.
It's hosted by a second year grad student. And plenty of second years will be in attendance.
Now, before you start thinking that I'm hating on the second years (I'm not!), just know this: it's not them, it's me.
Okay, well to be fair, it's them affecting me. But that's not their fault. They're fine people, they're doing nothing wrong. It's my way of "dealing" with them that's wrong.
And by dealing with "them," I mean dealing with their smarts/experience. (Here's where the news flash comes in.)
I don't do well in competitive environments as it is. Never have, probably never will, unless I'm for some crazy reason eventually toward the top of the totem pole and then I don't have to worry about competition because if I'm toward the top then the fight for power and prestige should be over. But I'd probably still be annoyed with my colleagues, let's be honest...
Anyway. So this program is wonderful, and I'm so grateful and blessed to be in it. But. Everyone here is so smart, and talented, and creative.
It wears me down. I should also mention here that I have never been good at being happy for other people. When my life is going well and I have all that I want, sure. I can be happy for someone else who got the job of her dreams, for the guy who doesn't have to worry about his finances. But until I have those things myself? Heck no I'm not gonna throw you a "Good for you" party.
This is not a good thing, I realize. I'm not proud of this.
So here's my (selfish, childish) logic about the second years versus the first years. Everyone's smart, creative, talented, blah blah blah. But the second years are even more likely than the first years to have more experience in the journalism world, plus a year extra worth of knowledge.
So I'm already having trouble with the constant comparisons that I'm making. I'm tired of talking about Pulitzer winners in the classroom,
because we're first semester grad students and can't win Pulitzers yet!!!
Every time someone scores an internship, gets a front page story, has the editors singing his or her praises in the newsroom, I feel more strongly the fact that I've only read X number of news articles in the last month, I've never had a journalist internship and am not sure I will get one for the summer, my closest family and friends think I'm a great writer (and it means the world to me when my dad says "You've got books in you"), but in this kind of environment you can't help but occasionally feel like a chump.
Especially in the last weeks of the semester when you're exhausted, cranky, and so incredibly sick of talking about the state of print news in this digital age,
BLAH BLAH BLAH!
(I think I can safely say "blah blah blah" here, because I wouldn't be surprised if even my professors--who may stumble upon this here blog post--are tired of that conversation. C'mon, teaches. Admit it.)
So. To recap. I don't want to hang out with second years (as a stereotypical rule--there are some lovely second years I have met with whom I enjoy chatting) not because they make me feel bad, but because my jealous, frustrated, currently cranky nature causes me to weigh my skill level next to theirs, and with a weight of jealousy in my gut any beer I'm drinking is going to taste a little sour.
And I like to enjoy my Michelob.
So Dear Second Years,
You are delightful people. Thank you for hosting your parties for the other, more mature first years to enjoy. And forgive me for not being in attendance. But just remember, it's not you, it's me.
And I have another event tomorrow, so I really shouldn't go out two nights in a row.
(Pick your excuse. Choose your own adventure, shall we say. See, now there's a positive spin for all of us.)