Surviving a very competitive environment

A competitive environment, be that at school, university or your hobby can cause a massive push and not feel very comfortable. Joining a competitive environment can also be a strange transition which completely encapsulates you at a time when you have to carefully manage how much time each activity you do receives. Having been confronted with fierce competition both at school and in my hobby I have come up with a list of things which might make your time among other competitive students easier to manage.

1. Don't put much emphasis on the fact that it is very competitive and stress as the result.
During my time in education I have found out that there are several groups of students. The least pleasant of those are people who put so much emphasis on how hard and competitive everything is they end up doing very little. Try to stay away from that mentality - simply treat every task, every application form and every competition as something you can learn from and grow rather than being afraid of failing. Moreover, it's good to have a realisation of how competitive a field is but don't stress about it. If you are giving something your best, constantly working and pushing yourself you will be able to reach any goal you have set for yourself. The key thing is to keep going and avoid silly distractions which you create via your own thoughts.

2. Be consistent.
When you are aware of the fact that something is very competitive, you have probably also had thoughts about how much work is required of you to perform well. In order to avoid the feeling of immense pressure and do well it is useful to split your work into chunks and conquer it little by little rather than trying to do everything at once. Cramming might have worked before, but there are certain activities where the amount of content is too vast and you need to master the skills to be good at what you do. Do part of work but do it often and you will be surprised how prepared you will be.

3. Have days to yourself.
Often you will find yourself quite stressed out because of the pressure to perform well, or general fatigue. Find a day in the week and dedicate it to the things which make you feel happy and relaxed ( perhaps take a bath, cook some good food, read, and get plenty of sleep). Having an entire day to yourself is an excellent day to regenerate your mind and body, which will leave you feeling prepared for the next week ahead of you and you will definitely find yourself performing better.

4. Make friends with people who are in the same place as you.
Although having friends outside of the competitive environment you might be finding yourself in might be useful in forgetting about its intensity, it is often handy to have people who are in the same boat as you. An internal support network helps you cope with difficulties and understand concepts then and there, rather than having to ask someone external. Especially with hobbies, I have found it particularly useful to have a chat with someone after a round of a debating competition to figure out how to find/ source resources or how to work on a particular skill to ensure rapid improvement.

5. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
I feel like it is a slight misconception that whenever there is competition involved you should not ask for help. If anything, having mentors, and peers around is the most valuable resources available to you. If you want to get full marks on a paper but can't figure out why you keep getting a question wrong it's definitely worth asking your teacher. If you want to find out how to enhance your performance in a physical or intellectual sport, it is definitely worth speaking to someone who has achieved your goal and shows it consistently in their own performance.