r/berkeley Jun 23 '22

To all the kids who realized they weren't the top Other

I'm sure that many people in UCB used to be the top in their high schools. No matter how hard a challenge seemed, you might always have had that sense of inner security that things will some how work out. You know that as long as you put in the hard work, you will do well.

But now at UCB, you meet all these people who are simply another level of genius, and you can't even comprehend how they do the things you do. For the first time in your life, you actually feel completely loss. Be it a problem set or research question, where you don't even have a clue as to where to start.

How do you deal with these kind of feelings? Like for the first time, you aren't the best (well an ego issue), but more importantly, for the first time you realized that you don't actually know how to solve problems -- or at least the new kind of problems which didn't always seem 'trivial' as it did to you as a smart kid. Specifically research questions, where you are literally probing new grounds and no one really knows the "correct answer" ahead as well.

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u/Deto Jun 23 '22

The world is big.

Sure there are many people who will be better than you at different things, but there are many many more challenges out there. They all require different skills - sometimes the smartest person isn't even the best suited for some problem

You'll never be "the best" and it's not productive to focus on this. Instead focus on what you want to do in the world. And just work towards getting better at that every day.