I find that I am largely motivated by anxiety about doing worse than my peers, rather than through internal motivation. Growing up, I was constantly told things like "person x went to Harvard/got this grade/got this scholarship, why aren't you doing the same?" I realize that this is a stereotype of Asian parents but I've realized that this way of thinking has been very ingrained in me.
I'm a second year uni student and I was a med school hopeful, I was doing everything right; volunteering, research, high GPA, etc. In retrospect I feel like I was motivated more by competing with my peers than anything else. I decided this year that I want to pursue computer science instead, and I'm starting from ground 0. I feel crushing anxiety about my career because I feel that I'm years behind of everyone else.
On one hand, the motivation is good because it makes me get stuff done; I have a research internship in computer science lined up for the summer and I'm working on catching up to everyone else. On the other, I feel like my way of thinking is extremely toxic. I applied to a leadership program for computer science students at my school with a friend of mine. I know that this is horrible, but my instinct was to want him not to get in, so that I could feel that I am ahead of him.
Does anyone else feel that they are doing poorly if they are not doing significantly better than their peers? I feel like the way I was brought up contributed to a lot of this, although I'm trying to overcome it now.
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