Help yourself by helping others

Sierra Hatfield

I personally struggle with the balance between networking and competing. I’m not a bad person; I’m just competitive in nature and want to be the very best that no one ever was. But what makes a good person? Is it having the only “A” in the class? Is it your self-made success?

Sometimes students forget the feeling of decorating your own resume is nothing compared to watching others succeed with your help. We are a campus community, and while we all have individual goals, our goal as students should be to encourage and assist each other with our academic and professional careers. Jealousy is toxic and isolation can only get you so far.

At a great university like UK, sometimes your best friends can be your biggest competition. Friendly rivalry can be a great motivator, but don’t let it consume you. Friends help friends reach their full potential. If you find yourself feeling down, it helps to stop and count your own successes so far. Take a moment to stop seeing yourself in comparison to others. This can help put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on the real issues, like the friendship itself.

From a networking standpoint, being a lone wolf isolates you from hearing new ideas and perspectives. A quick fix is to reach out to others. If you’re stuck on a classroom concept, there’s nothing prideful about spending your whole night trying to understand the homework. The right thing to do is to go to The Study or talk to someone from class. There are resources to help you at your disposal, and no one is going to think adversely of you for using them. The only person you’re competing against in this situation is yourself.

I gained much wisdom last semester when I had the opportunity to be a UK 101 Peer Instructor. Even though I was just a year older than my students, I wanted them to succeed. I asked other instructors for tips on how to make my lessons fun and engaging for their benefit. I felt responsible for introducing them to the potential they had on campus. I informed them about every leadership opportunity I knew of and encouraged them to get involved. I wasn’t jealous of them even when one of them won a national agriculture competition. In fact, I was so proud.

Above all, never stop improving, but never stop helping others. Remember, we are a Big Blue community.

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