Question: I’m a student. When I think about my future, I forsee many obstacles due to competition in school now and probably in my work life later. I see my life ahead as nothing but a series of problems to solve, and become gloomy. What should I do?
Answer: Actually, you are right that life is a series of problems to overcome. This is part of the First Noble Truth taught by the Buddha, that life is of much dissatisfactions. (I felt that way at your age too. Only after learning and practising the Dharma did I become more clear and confident of my life goals, and more importantly, more motivated.)
The remedy for breaking through your existential gloom is to see each and every obstacle as a challenge, a spiritual stepping stone, that upon overcoming, builds up your character in terms of compassion, wisdom, patience… which brings you closer to Buddhahood, which is what you really want. This will also remind you to respond to all situations with more mindfulness, in accordance to the Dharma you learn. If not, challenges will become problematic when handled in non-Dharma ways.
Do continue to be diligent in doing whatever should be done, while learning to apply the Buddha’s teachings more and more, and the obstacles will dissolve with increased proficiency in skill. After all, as with all things, practice makes perfect. There is no need to see anyone as a competitor. See those who do better in school to be role models who inspire you instead. Learn from them, instead of wanting to go against them. Rejoice is already a kind of victory, while being insecure is already loss.