Competition and envy seem to be part of the graduate school experience. Competition for the best resources, competition for the most prestigious conference panels, competition for the most significant research or teaching positions. We envy those of our classmates who seem to move effortlessly forward through the doctoral program while we struggle with confusion, angst, avoidance or resentment about having to write the #*(&$* dissertation. As much as possible, protect yourself from feelings of competition and envy, as they are likely to leave you feeling so negative that you won’t be able to work effectively and productively. Remind yourself that your colleague’s progress or success really doesn’t change the value of who you are and what you offer. Stay away from the comparison game, because we never really can know another’s life- truly- until we’ve lived through it. If you find yourself feeling competitive or envious, and it’s impacting your work, try to understand what it is you’re coveting. Then, make a direct, reasonable action plan to get what it is you want. This is the most productive way to use these feelings to your advantage. There is no value in stewing in them if you’re not going to do anything to address the source of your upset. Remember- you never want something you can’t have. So if you want something- make a plan to get it. And don’t let fear stand in your way.