Hello all, I am a second year physics grad student in the US. I'm writing this in the hope that someone who has gone through grad school can help, although I'll gladly take opinions from other people :). Ever since I came here for graduate school (I did my undergraduate education outside the US) I have felt a very competitive atmosphere. And it's not that my classmates are super competitive, or that they want to put me down or something like that. I feel like it's part reality but it's also a mental thing. Before coming here, I had no worries of this sort, I simply studied what I loved, didn't care for how everyone else did, and just enjoyed the learning experience. But now, for starters, classes are competitively curved, which I've never had before. I hate this system and it seems to be a constant throughout the US. Back in my country, you were graded based on how well you understood the class and that is it. But here it's more a competition to see how good or bad you do with respect to your classmates. I can see both advantages and (more) disadvantages to that, but since it's something that I probably cannot change, I would like to hear some suggestions on how people deal with this. I've tried to not mind it, but I'm somehow always a bit concerned about how my classmates do. And since the academic world is so competitive (my dream is to work in academia), I worry too much that not being in the top X% means I am useless for academia. It can be really depressing. And it's not only classes, I feel an overall pressure to know who is the best. I can't take it! Do you guys have any suggestions on how to simply do your best without minding everyone else's achievements? (I wish I could just do that, but much easier said than done) Thanks everyone.