Tiny & Big Victories
A few days ago, I posted a screenshot of a pretty nasty comment that was left on my Instagram post where I talked about the semester being over and which grades I got. The comment itself made a few false claims (like that my grades were not even given out by a public German university - last time I checked, the University of Regensburg, my exchange uni, was still exactly that). But the really rude thing about this comment is the beginning which suggests that it is "frech" (rather impudent) to talk about my grades because according to the person, they are not worth much (justified with some false claims made in a nasty tone).
I chose to call out the comment in my Instagram story because the person was way out of line and had actually left a number of comments in that tone under my post. I did not expect much from it, but I think it is important to remind people at times that us content creators are also just people and we actually read your comments and your words can hurt. But when I posted this screenshot of the comment under my post, a lot of German law students wrote to me in response that this behaviour of putting others down is unfortunately not that uncommon in real life at German law schools. One thing I was told quite a few times is that some students will hide books in the library so that other students cannot find them. Another thing that was brought up a lot is that there is a culture of jealousy when someone gets a good grade. One person told me how their friend got a really good grade on a paper they had to write over the semester, and one of their classmates immediately suggested that she commissioned it from a ghost writer. Another person said that they no longer share what grades they got with their classmates because they know that if their grades are good, they would not be happy for them.
In all honesty, reading these messages had me shocked. That is a culture I have never experienced during my time at Cambridge. When my friends or I see someone do better than us and we want to achieve that too, we go up to them, congratulate them, and ask them if they would be open to sharing their essay/paper with us so that we can see what we should have done differently and whether they could give us some tips. When someone does better than you, that is a chance to learn from them. You get nothing out of trying to tear them down, but you have so much to gain from asking for advice.
And if it bothers you that someone is happy about their grades, that is nothing that that person has to fix. It is something that you have to fix. If you are incapable of being happy for others, that is a you problem. For a long time, I thought that my grades made me nerdy and were not exactly cool. I was still proud of them, but it was nothing I would have celebrated. Today, I throw myself little victory parties for good grades and pity parties for the not-so-good ones. It is important to be happy when you achieve something and to let that happiness out. If you want to order yourself a cake, pop some champagne and have a photoshoot with it all for your exam grades, go for it. If you would rather celebrate by treating yourself to a BigMac at McDonald's, go for it. If you want to do both, go for it. You deserve to celebrate when you have worked for something. And if someone tries to ruin it for you, do not let their pity party disturb your victory party.
I think it is important to celebrate yourself a little when you achieve something - it makes it feel like all that work is paying off. And as long as someone does not think that their achievements make them better than others, there is nothing wrong with them being happy about what they worked for and them saying so. And whether someone else thinks that your achievement is big or not does not matter. For one person, merely passing an exam can be a big deal. For someone else, just passing would not be enough. It does not matter whether your goals would be goals to someone else - if something is a victory for you, I hope you are giving yourself a little mental pat on the shoulder.
And if you are one of the people who have a problem with people being happy about what they worked for, I would recommend working on yourself.
Lots of Love,
P.S.: The title picture of this post is licensed via Adobe Stock.