How do you respond to competitive peers?

  1. No matter where I turn, people are constantly trying to "one-up" me. I know I am not alone in this; nursing is a competitive major to go into.

    At this point, I won't even tell my peers my scores. I'll say that i'm happy with my grade or that i'd like to improve, but I don't go into detail and I never ask them to. I also try to help people when they want encouragement or advice, all without malice.

    I even have a family member that's graduating from high school soon and she's looking to go into nursing; she's already begun the habit of comparing herself to her peers, or even me.

    I'm finding myself wanting to make connections with fellow students, but it feels draining to do so sometimes. How do you deal with competitive peers?
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   xxstarrynitesxx
    I would say that most people compare themselves to others. Unfortunately or fortunately, it is how we are raised often times. I only tell people my scores if they ask me directly how I did. I used to do the "oh I did well and am happy with my grade" dance, but now I find it far easier to just divulge the information when someone asks. I think at one point I told someone my student ID number so they could just look at how I did. Most of the time people ask me how I did because they did not do well and are hoping to find someone who did well to help them OR they just want to see how they compare to others. I believe I read in a textbook that we all view ourselves in relation to others.

    Competition can be a good thing. I actually got a friend to get an A in a class that she originally bombed because I created a competition for us. I have never seen her work so hard for a grade before, but I did not let her beat me haha. Nursing is not the only area where people are competitive. It is literally everywhere. I do not consider other people as competition. I am my own competition and strive to improve myself to be the best that I can be. Whether or not someone knows how I did does not matter to me too much. If I did better than I do not mind sitting down with them and going over questions and if they did better or got a question that I missed then I like having people to go to for help. I missed something I thought was right and could not figure it out where I went wrong (I had class during my professor's office hours and the instructor was admittedly terrible with responding to emails). I asked around and found someone who got the question right to explain their thinking.

    I am not sure what exactly may be the issue. A "one-up" to one person may not be a "one-up" to another. I am not sure if they are running around saying "Hahaha conjer I got a 98% compared to your mere 97.99999% muhahaha!" If they are then I would be concerned, but my peers who ask how each other did just genuinely want to feel like they are doing as well as everyone else. Try to seek out people who are less competitive or make time to devote to you and your well-being.
  4. by   caliotter3
    I hung out with the older, married (or not), with kids (or not), students. When we got together, we talked about our jobs and the kids and school talk mainly consisted of discussing how stupid we thought some of the assignments were. We did not tear each other down with competition-based conversation.
  5. by   Purple_Clover
    " I'll say that i'm happy with my grade or that i'd like to improve"

    Don't even do that. Either say nothing, or what I say is "I passed."

    Honestly, I don't worry about my nursing cohort. I interact with them as least as possible and sometimes just superficially (chatting) if I end up around them
  6. by   conjer
    You're right, I shouldn't give much of an answer at all. It's best to avoid the conversation entirely to avoid the drama.
  7. by   xxstarrynitesxx
    Sometimes avoiding the conversation altogether causes drama in itself and distances you from your peers. Though you may do it to avoid having people "one-up" you, you may in turn give them the impression that you're better than them and not a team player. These are people that you may wind up working with somewhere down the line. If it is something that truly something that you are not comfortable with sharing, then I would recommend letting the people who ask you know that you are not comfortable with sharing that kind of information. Most people will understand and will stop asking you. Avoiding the situation altogether and not explaining your side does not make something go away. As my communication professor would say, "Not sharing your feelings causes just as many problems as over sharing." Find a balance that works for you if at all possible and be honest about your feelings.
  8. by   Guy in Babyland
    I believe that some of it comes from the stress of nursing school. It is not an act of competitiveness, but more of comparison to others in their class. If I think that Suzie is doing well in nursing school and her scores are comparable to mine, then I am doing well. If you are getting 80s on your exams, you might be freaking out and worry about failing the class, but if others that you compare yourself to are also getting 80s on their exams then you feel a little bit better.
  9. by   conjer
    Quote from xxstarrynitesxx
    I am not sure if they are running around saying "Hahaha conjer I got a 98% compared to your mere 97.99999% muhahaha!" If they are then I would be concerned, but my peers who ask how each other did just genuinely want to feel like they are doing as well as everyone else.

    That's the thing though. When it's peers that just want to ask because they are concerned about their grades, I understand.

    I go to one of the most impacted universities for nursing on the west coast, and I often get students that genuinely do just want to rub their grade in my face. They actually are running around saying "haha I got a 95 and you got a 91!." That's where the issue lies for me, not with those that just want to compare to feel better about their scores.
    Last edit by conjer on Jul 25 : Reason: Typo
  10. by   Purple_Clover
    Quote from conjer
    That's the thing though. When it's peers that just want to ask because they are concerned about their grades, I understand.

    I go to one of the most impacted universities for nursing on the west coast, and I often get students that genuinely do just want to rub their grade in my face. They actually are running around saying "haha I got a 95 and you got a 91!." That's where the issue lies for me, not with those that just want to compare to feel better about their scores.
    Yeah I have a prior degree and am working on my ASN now. I've worked a lot as a CNA. I'm over the high school drama, but it will never go away. Don't get complacent! Just when you think it's gone it's back again.
  11. by   xxstarrynitesxx
    Quote from conjer
    That's the thing though. When it's peers that just want to ask because they are concerned about their grades, I understand.

    I go to one of the most impacted universities for nursing on the west coast, and I often get students that genuinely do just want to rub their grade in my face. They actually are running around saying "haha I got a 95 and you got a 91!." That's where the issue lies for me, not with those that just want to compare to feel better about their scores.
    I am genuinely sorry to hear that. I can definitely understand your dislike of people like that. While I do not wish ill on them for presumably working hard to get a good grade, they are distancing themselves and driving away their classmates. Perhaps this is the only thing in their lives they can be proud about. As I am sure you know, having the best grades does not make you a good nurse. One day life is going to catch up to them at hit them hard. Unfortunately we can't change other people. I'd honestly be tempted to just start saying I got 100 on everything haha.
  12. by   meanmaryjean
    Universal Truth: Some people are just jerks.
  13. by   forevergreatful
    i know its hard but everyone is always worried about the next. mainly cause some are seeking study habits that may help them succeed. overtime we finished with an exam and received our scores everyone starts saying what did you get. If you are doing good in the class some may be asking cause they want help. I wouldn't worry about the competitiveness because everyone is usually at different phases in the prerequisites. Some people want even be applying at the same time as you because they may need more prereqs to finish, others may even be applying to different schools so worrying about the competition is useless. I was like you i helped a lot of class mates which also helped me because the receptiveness allowed me to retain the info better. other class mates were rude and didn't understand why i sat next to the students who were struggling. but helping the ones who struggled helped me. now that I'm in the program its so different. everyone still asks what your score but they are all about helping each other succeed. just do the best you can
  14. by   Miss.LeoRN
    Honestly... I never let it bother me. I shrugged if off, smiled, and genuinely congratulated them on their success. If they asked, I passed, or maybe I scored higher than my previous exam. Maybe I didn't do as well as I would have like or thought I did. Or not as well as they did. Maybe I needed to study with them sometime.

    There are far too many things to be bothered with and stressed about in nursing school. This one wasn't worth the energy to me. I passed, they passed, it didn't matter. My future employer isn't going to ask what my exam scores were in school.

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