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5 Tips to Deal with Overly Competitive Classmates

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Overly competitive people are a fact of life , while they are annoying , here is what I learned from them.

Do overly competitive people annoy you?

5 Tips to Deal with Overly Competitive Classmates

Nursing is usually a competitive major, but there is someone who is overly competitive in some scenarios. As crazy as it seems, there is a positive in extremely competitive people despite the negative attributes. In this article, I will give stories and what I’ve learned about dealing with overly competitive people

My Story 

There were a couple of students in a science pre-req that I had taken, we had minimal contact (besides working in groups), but before that, there was this girl who was very competitive with everyone in the class. In many ways, she looked down on others. She had to be seen, be the smartest and most prepared, and if someone else had the same qualities, she and her friends (particularly another male) would become competitive. Ironically, she was a very smart woman, just very mean. Every classroom talk was filled with discussions of weeding the dumber ones out of class and one-upping.

I wasn’t the only person who has had problems with this girl. About two others did.  I didn’t necessarily get why she’d scouted me out. I ignored her as much as I could, but she would always find a way to intimidate or compete or degrade me. It angered her that she didn’t get a reaction (while it bothered me when it happened, but I just had a stone face throughout her tactics). I ignored her completely. I am not proud to say this, but two things stopped: COVID 19 (us being released because of the pandemic) and giving her a whiff of her own medicine, which she didn’t like. Many people whom she did this to simply ignored her.

What makes people competitive? 

In pre-reqs, there have been times where I’ve seen others and myself deal with overly competitive people. It always took people for a spin. We were all in the same class, so why were they snooping out people to compete with? In most cases, Nursing is considered a very competitive major in many colleges, and in some cases, hundreds may apply, but very few get in.  In my college, several hundred apply, but I believe around 40 to 50 people are accepted. And in other cases of overly competitive people, it’s simply just insecurities or jealousy. Along with this, I will say, some people see potential in others and simply want to throw people off track (but that’s if you let it get to you).

Lessons learned 

1.  The only person you should be competing against is yourself-  Asking a professor about this when I dealt with it from a person in the class, they always told me that you should only be in competition with yourself ( as they stated, the past me, the present me and the future me)and nobody else? Why? Because you define your own success, you grow, and you know that you’re capable of yourself.

2.  One person’s success isn’t the absence of yours – From dealing with overly competitive people, it is both hilarious yet very sad (hilarious because we're adults and sad , because we're adults). I’ve noticed that people like these are bothered by the success of others yet indulge in seeing others fail or struggle. Despite being in an environment that breeds competitiveness for the nursing school entrance, just because someone gets an A or you get another grade doesn’t make you any less smart than they are. Again it’s all rooted in insecurity.

3.  Everything doesn’t need a reaction –  From what I’ve learned in situations like these, it’s almost like overly competitive people want a response from you.  If you give it to them, they usually take this and run with it, which can be a bad idea. When dealing with these people, I usually ignored them, and if they did things like roll their eyes or make comments, I would give a blank stare and watch them get even madder. In one instance (the story stated above), I got tired of this girl and rolled my eyes, and then that was that there weren’t any more interactions with that person. As for the friend, I did report this male, and he backed off, again no more interactions.

4.  Ignore them or kill them with kindness -  When it comes to people like this, it’s usually best to ignore them BUT, if you do have to deal with them constantly, I believe kindness can go a long way. When dealing with rude clients, I’ve learned from work to not let them ruin your day with darkness but brighten theirs with kindness.  But if compassion fails.. just ignore them. It’s not worth it and just focuses on you

5.  FOCUS ON YOU REGARDLESS -  You are trying to get your program of choice for your future, so why give an overly competitive classmate any thought.

Hello, I am a pre-nursing student just floating around on Allnurses , I knew I wanted to be a nurse around my teenage years and just give advice sometimes through articles. I am going to apply for the Fall 2022 program at my school!

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12 Comment(s)

Tacocat, ADN, RN

Specializes in Community/Public Health. Has 1 years experience.

Honestly, don't be invested in your classmates at all. People waste so much energy being irritated or angry about the actions of other people that don't affect them. Pre-requisites don't even matter in terms of your future nursing cohort -- some people take classes to transfer out, some people don't get accepted into the program or waitlisted, etc. 

Your classmates don't matter until you make it into the nursing program, and even then there's going to be some people you befriend and some people you'd like to push into traffic. And you're going to have to deal with all of them for two years. It happens. If you want to be a successful nursing student you keep your head down and let people deal with their own issues. Competitive classmate? Someone cheated on a test? It isn't your problem. They're the ones that have to pass the NCLEX. 

35 minutes ago, Tacocat said:

Honestly, don't be invested in your classmates at all. People waste so much energy being irritated or angry about the actions of other people that don't affect them. Pre-requisites don't even matter in terms of your future nursing cohort -- some people take classes to transfer out, some people don't get accepted into the program or waitlisted, etc. 

Your classmates don't matter until you make it into the nursing program, and even then there's going to be some people you befriend and some people you'd like to push into traffic. And you're going to have to deal with all of them for two years. It happens. If you want to be a successful nursing student you keep your head down and let people deal with their own issues. Competitive classmate? Someone cheated on a test? It isn't your problem. They're the ones that have to pass the NCLEX. 

 Hello tacocat 🙂 I actually thought of this last night. I'll be retakng some classes and looked back and this was one of my problems. You are right , people in pre-reqs come and go ❤️ I'm actually gonna go on a bit of an hiatus once semester starts and keep to myself

Tacocat, ADN, RN

Specializes in Community/Public Health. Has 1 years experience.

42 minutes ago, TheNursingdoll said:

 Hello tacocat 🙂 I actually thought of this last night. I'll be retakng some classes and looked back and this was one of my problems. You are right , people in pre-reqs come and go ❤️ I'm actually gonna go on a bit of an hiatus once semester starts and keep to myself

Pre-reqs don't qualify someone to be a nursing student, getting into the program does. I remember walking into orientation for nursing school and meeting my cohort. None of them had been in any of my pre-reqs. 

Invest your time and energy into your own success. 

3 minutes ago, Tacocat said:

Pre-reqs don't qualify someone to be a nursing student, getting into the program does. I remember walking into orientation for nursing school and meeting my cohort. None of them had been in any of my pre-reqs. 

Invest your time and energy into your own success. 

Thanks once again ❤️

ThursdayNight, CNA

Specializes in Wiping tears. Has 3 years experience.

I don't know your past experiences of people and nursing school. One person, in biology courses, explicitly told me that she was competitive. I answered politely that it was great to know. Anyway, I was accepted into the nursing school. I don't know anyone in my cohort even though we attended the same institution. 

Being a CNA, I learned somewhat to ignore smack talk or anything you described. 
 

Just now, ThursdayNight said:

I don't know your past experiences of people and nursing school. One person, in biology courses, explicitly told me that she was competitive. I answered politely that it was great to know. Anyway, I was accepted into the nursing school. I don't know anyone in my cohort even though we attended the same institution. 

Being a CNA, I learned somewhat to ignore smack talk or anything you described. 
 

Thanks 🙂 if I may ask , how is it being a CNA

Tacocat, ADN, RN

Specializes in Community/Public Health. Has 1 years experience.

What may be best, seeing as you like to write columns, is an honest review of your own hardships in your classes with less a focus on your classmates and more of a reflection of your own part of the outcome. 

Getting caught up in the antics of your classmates can harm you as a nursing student, and you need to manage your own reputation. You want your nurse instructors to see you as honest, hardworking, and helpful - it will benefit you in ways you may not expect.

When I was a second semester student, I was called to a patient's bedside in clinical, and was given the opportunity to ambu-bag a patient who had to be disconnected from their ventilator so the doctor and respiratory therapist could replace a trach tube with a leaking bladder. As a baby nursing student, I was terrified that I was the one responsible for getting air into the patient's lungs. But my instructor knew that I was a good student and was able to do it. I was able to see the whole process and was able to help them in that small way. And it was really freaking cool to watch. 

On 6/18/2021 at 8:37 AM, Tacocat said:

What may be best, seeing as you like to write columns, is an honest review of your own hardships in your classes with less a focus on your classmates and more of a reflection of your own part of the outcome. 

Getting caught up in the antics of your classmates can harm you as a nursing student, and you need to manage your own reputation. You want your nurse instructors to see you as honest, hardworking, and helpful - it will benefit you in ways you may not expect.

When I was a second semester student, I was called to a patient's bedside in clinical, and was given the opportunity to ambu-bag a patient who had to be disconnected from their ventilator so the doctor and respiratory therapist could replace a trach tube with a leaking bladder. As a baby nursing student, I was terrified that I was the one responsible for getting air into the patient's lungs. But my instructor knew that I was a good student and was able to do it. I was able to see the whole process and was able to help them in that small way. And it was really freaking cool to watch. 

Thanks , I'll do this 🙂 but more than likely the next column might be in December.  And I reflected on everything , I got to talk to an instructor today and she said that she was like this but you have to change mentality.. because if you don't then not only will you set yourself up for failure , you'll be a joke. She technically said to thicken skin , focus and told me to have three sets of eyes from now on  Also thanks for your story ❤️❤️❤️ 

ThursdayNight, CNA

Specializes in Wiping tears. Has 3 years experience.

 

On 6/17/2021 at 6:27 PM, TheNursingdoll said:

Thanks 🙂 if I may ask , how is it being a CNA

It has been treating me well. It helps to eliminate fears and adapt to the unknown. When there's less patient, I'm confused about what to do.  😂 . Maybe I should go back to the vents.

MsNickki

Specializes in Student Nurse.

Perhaps every cohort has that overly competitive person. We are less than 20 people & split in half for clinical so I really haven’t had to deal with it.

However, I had an odd experience in A&P 2. Completely my fault, but every other week, I had to leave class 15-20 minutes early. My new “lab partner” told me sure…I’ll send you all the notes! I hadn’t needed any help until maybe week 7 or 8. I noticed she got to class at the last second or late so I never had a chance to ask for help. Keep in mind, she texted me for information as she skipped lab often & I lived for lab.
 

One day I was running late to class (talking as usual) & I noticed out of the corner of my eye…this girl sitting in the corner almost “hiding”/cowering outside in an alcove. She was staring at me, that’s the only reason I noticed her. So I realized this young lady actively avoided me & showed up to class late so I couldn’t ask for her help. Wow! So typically once she walked into class I was taking pics of someone else’s notes. I also took a note from my A&P 1 lab partner & blocked the girl’s number. So now that I think about it…my nursing cohort is awesome! I love them all. 

 

ThursdayNight, CNA

Specializes in Wiping tears. Has 3 years experience.

On 6/17/2021 at 4:27 PM, TheNursingdoll said:

"Thanks 🙂 if I may ask , how is it being a CNA"

I only experienced assisting in admission (basic things)--I would shadow a nurse during 'Head-to-Toe Assessment' if I can (yes, I learned some technique already and clinical judgment),  PICC line nurses in our facility, applying pressure to the femoral artery among doctor and nurses, monitoring patients on DNR, being able to tell if there's something wrong with the patient, assisting during the afib or code blue, taking care of psych patients, deal with chronic large wounds, and many more. For example, imagine your vent patient is suicidal. And you have a few codes in your shifts.  There are many I haven't seen or part of yet.  

You will always learn something new in the medical field. 

What I love about "being a CNA" is that I'm already past that barrier of awkwardness. I'm no longer afraid of the human body. I can talk to the clients. I can shake things quicker these days after dealing with an angry person when I just clock in. LOL 😂

I found people to who I'm not afraid to expose my stupidity. They do correct me why the other choice is better. They do elaborate whys. Just like an adult training a child how to think critically.  

Edited by ThursdayNight

Silver_Rik, ASN, RN

Specializes in Perioperative / RN Circulator. Has 1 years experience.

I remember one or two classmates who were very focused on getting the best grades possible, planning to go to CRNA school when they could. They weren’t competitive though in the sense of stepping on or belittling other people.  
 

Frankly I was more annoyed that classmates had a “Cs = RN” attitude.  I’m not saying they blew anything off, didn’t work hard, but they didn’t sweat their grades as long as they passed. I wanted As. Got only one A, mostly Bs and one C but wanted As