Not long after you enter University, it becomes clear that the competition is just as present as you were told it would be at orientation. Everyone enters their freshman year with different skills and knowledge. For someone coming in as I did, at a lower skill level, year one can be a long and stressful year. When you see people being praised for their work who have years of previous experience, while you're struggling just to get up-to-par, is frustrating and extremely stressful. This was the case in my first couple months at CCS. The following is how I regained my happiness.
First off, take advantage of the school therapist(s). The first few weeks of school, you'll get it in your head that you need to focus completely on schoolwork to get to where the faculty might say you "need to be". However, as the weeks go on, that mindset starts to becomes more of an illness and you no longer feel so happy or enthused. Seeing a therapist is a great way to just vent your feelings and get professional advice on how to tackle the next week(s). Let's be honest, your friends don't always have the healthiest advice, and can sometimes do more harm than good.
Secondly, going back to what I said about seeing other people do well: Even in a competitive environment, comparing yourself to others will always have negative effects. You are in this world for you, so live and do things for you; there is nothing wrong with being somewhat envious—hat is simply human nature. However, bringing those feelings to an extent making you feel like you won’t reach your goals just because someone is better than you is nonsensical. I, personally, struggle a great deal with this. By staying focused on my goals and my life, I have found peace with the fact that I'm not the best (yet), and that's okay.
The third thing is to be sure to make time for things you enjoy. This doesn't mean not finishing homework, it means organizing days where you can go out to eat with friends or take an outing (such as a trip to the DIA [Detroit Institute of Arts] for me). These kinds of activities often don't take all day, and are a healthy way to clear your mind and relax.
The fourth point (what I will leave you with) is GET ENOUGH SLEEP. For me, going to CCS, a design school, there is a toxic attitude that if you actally get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, then you're not doing enough. The people who say that are probably delusional from lack of sleep themselves, and their comments should be disregarded. Lack of sleep is actually extremely unhealthy and will have a negative effect on you and your work.
All in all, it is essential to keep your mind and body healthy during your time in school so that you don't burn out halfway through as many people sadly do. Keep in mind that struggling through your first year does not mean you are suddenly doomed to fail. You are human, and an expecting yourself to get everything right the first time is unrealistic. Through perseverance, hard work and most importantly, self-care, you will be on the road to success.