Comparing yourself to others around you will always happen as well as family and friends comparing you to others whether consciously or not. This is something that has weighed on my mind especially now that I have finally graduated from university.

My family has 7 grandchildren, including my brother and me. Almost all of us are in a post-secondary education or have a career. We all are relatively close in age as well. The ones who graduated from university before me did it on time and with degrees that seemed to make sense economically (Engineering and arts to then become teachers, then one enrolled in management) whereas I felt like a bit of a black sheep since I started my fine arts degree it was so different from everyone and I kind of felt like I made a bad choice, but knew id rather be happy than miserable with a good paying job. This brings me to my main point

I was supposed to graduate in June of 2023 but found out less than a week before that 3 credits were the wrong year level. I felt like an absolute soul-crushing disappointment since I had already taken an extra year of studies.

Everyone had already booked time off and non-refundable flights, but the worst part was that my cousin’s grad was the same week and some family members had to choose which grad to go to. The ones that had chosen mine; I felt extremely guilty and upset that they could have gone to my cousin’s grad knowing that I had failed mine.

Now, I know most of this feeling is my self-doubt and comparison to others but I still felt bad for wasting people’s time and money. To the point that I told everyone not to even come when I graduated because I wasted my chance and everyone had already spent money to come to it once so they shouldn’t have to again. They of course called me silly for this, but it still weighed heavy on my heart.

So, when I got confirmation of my degree being conferred in November I said nothing at first. I was nervous for a variety of reasons, what if the school made a mistake and I wasn’t graduating again, what would my family say? would it be an overwhelming congratulations or a “Wow finally you should have done that in June” or my biggest fear “Well the others in our family did it first try why didn’t you?” which would have crushed me, and I didn’t want to possibly lash out at my family for a scenario I made up in my head.

The first who I told was my brother, then a week later my mom, and grandparents, and finally at the beginning of December I told some others in my family. However, I did not put it in our family group as I didn’t want my made-up fear to happen or to have it brushed off as I had spent the last few months rationalizing and telling myself that it was okay this happened and that no one would be disappointed in me. But the thought of “good for you, anyways X did this the other day” really scared me.

Instead of telling the family directly, I figure this would be the best way to put out my thoughts as I have a large amount of them that could turn nasty if it become emotional.

I know who I am as a person and everyone is proud of who I have become but still the lingering human condition of comparing myself to others weighs heavy on my mind.