All the students in my college are toppers and all of them are skilled in some or other ways. I am always tensed, unhappy and feel that I am the most dumb student. What do I do? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Jonathan Davidson, Author, filmmaker, photographer, on Quora:

Hello, my tense friend,

I feel for you. Being surrounded by people who are "better" than you can be intimidating.

You have a couple of choices when faced with a situation like this: 1) Worry about how everyone thinks you're in the wrong room, stress that you'll never be as good as your classmates, and mope around being miserable. Or, 2) Thank God that you've been given the opportunity to be surrounded by people who you can learn from, then proceed to try to learn as much as you can from your peers and study like mad to catch up.

I strongly encourage making the second choice.

You may think this sounds like ridiculous advice. And maybe it is. But sometimes a massive attitude shift and a decision to work harder than you've ever worked before can completely transform your life.

There's an expression: If you're the smartest person in the room, then you're in the wrong room. The expression exhorts everyone who hears it to seek out people who are smarter than they are so they can learn. You're privileged to be in a school where everyone is smarter than you. You have a tremendous opportunity to learn. Having trouble with an assignment? Ask the smartest student for help. Unless that student is a jerk, he or she will help you--and you'll learn.

Imagine for a moment that the situation was reversed and you were the smartest student at the school. Wouldn't that be incredibly dull? You wouldn't have anyone pushing you to perform at your best.

In short, I recommend you try to see your situation as an opportunity instead of a tragedy.

Such an attitude adjustment may be against your very nature. I recommend speaking with your college's counselor about this situation. The counselor can help you through the self-limiting beliefs that made you arrive at such a conclusion. Obviously, by being admitted to your college, the admissions staff felt that you have what it takes to succeed. And I would wager that you do. The counselor will also be able to help you address any other issues that are giving you trouble.

The second thing you can do to help yourself is to up your academics game. Many college students don't know good study techniques. When hit with the massive amounts of information thrown at them in their classes and readings, they can feel overwhelmed.

That's what happened to me. I almost failed out of my first year of college.

But then a professor told me about a study technique called the Spacing Effect. I put it into use immediately and ended up passing all my classes that semester with As and Bs. I could hardly believe it. For the first time I realized that it wasn't my natural intelligence that dictated how well I did in college, it had mostly to do with how I studied.

If you want to learn about the Spacing Effect, check out my answer on Quora that describes it in detail.

I went on to learn many other study techniques that helped me quickly master the information I needed for quizzes and tests. If you want to learn the rest of the study techniques that helped me, check out my book, The College Success Cheat Sheet. I also recommend Cal Newport's books on study techniques.

To summarize, go about changing your attitude and recognizing the tremendous opportunity you've been given. Then, learn how to study so you can keep up with your brilliant classmates.

If you follow those two steps for some time and you still feel totally overwhelmed, perhaps you truly are in over your head and need to go to a less rigorous university. But I feel pretty confident that with counseling, a shift of attitude, and armed with great study techniques, you will be able to turn this situation into an incredible advantage.

Best of luck on your academic journey.

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