Competitive – By @_florussell


I can feel the length of the day on my shoulders as I begin wearily throwing away dead scamps. My head hurts – which is becoming a common feature of the 6pm pack up, probably because my mind is always working so frantically here that I keep forgetting to drink water. We’ve just watched what feels like a highlight reel of the best work of the day, except only it isn’t a highlight reel and everyone really is just that good. Pretty annoying right? No Flo, no! Its… inspiring… stimulating…exciting? I’ll admit I just put ‘inspiring’ into an online thesaurus, because it’s the only cliched benefit I can think of about being surrounded by people who are so brilliant, it actually pisses you off a bit.

’Don’t worry Flo!’ Freddie says cheerily. ‘Competition brings out the best in us!’

Maybe. But so far all it’s bringing out of me is a bitter and salty Flo who even I’m not a fan of. She has to go. But so many of the mentors keep banging on about the importance of winning, and being the best. How we need to make a book that’s in that elusive ‘top three’. How every brief is opportunity to score points and win favour. I’ll admit, when I first heard Marc, Pete and the others talking this way, it got me excited. I have a naturally competitive spirit and I thought being in a place that valued winning so highly would suit me to the ground. But with every day presenting us with a new competition, and every outcome either making me feel jaded, jealous or unfulfilled, I know I need to figure out a way to nurture this competitiveness so it doesn’t eat me up when I don’t do as well as I’d like to.

I know it’s a cliché to blame your parents, but in my case, my dad would be the first to admit that he’s been the key player in developing this streak in me. Given that my siblings and I spent our entire childhood either playing games or singing, he’d jokingly say “everything’s a song or a competition”. You can imagine how we felt about the Eurovision Song Contest. I digress. Growing up with siblings didn’t help either, especially when they were the two cleverest students in our school, and everything they touched turned to A stars. Of course, I see the benefit in this thirst to prove myself. It’s what got me into this school, and it’s what’s hopefully going to get me a great job at the end of it. And loosing it entirely to the point of ‘not caring’ would be detrimental to the quality of my work, I know that. But what I mean to say is that it’s a very fine balancing act between over ambition and apathy, and one I probably haven’t quite mastered yet. On the upside, there’s so many more competitions this week, so I’m bound to get some practise in

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