I am currently pursuing a master's degree and I am one of two students working on one project. This project takes a team science approach to answering a question, which normally one would find invaluable. However, this dynamic has proven to be more of a strain than a benefit. Rather than a healthy partnership, this feels like a competition and I am constantly walking on eggshells around this other person. In theory, we have two separate theses with differing questions and paths, but it is not turning out that way in practice at all. Sometimes she asks questions about topics related to my thesis in her committee meetings (without asking me about it) and she has creative input over parts of the project I am working on while I am excluded from other facets of the work. It is to the point where the faculty see us as a unit. Presentations I have made for class have been skipped over because this other person did a similar things and work I do is often dismissed by partners. It makes me feel like I am not worth the time, to be honest.
Furthermore, due to unfortunate circumstances beyond anyone's control, I was the only out of the two of us capable of doing field work and other tasks this past summer (during a pandemic to boot). This put a huge strain on me in general. I am starting to feel like this other student is getting a free pass (is this feeling even justified?!) They present the work others have done at meetings and get acknowledgements for it. It seems highly inequitable, but all of this is disguised under 'team science'.
Trying to accomodate this other person is putting a huge strain on my mental health. I feel like I can't do anything right, have no creative liberty or ownership, but also no guidance at the same time.
I have not brought up all of these things with my advisor. I don't want to be the one to cause drama, but I am at the end of my rope. I have thought about leaving the program multiple times over the last few months. So with that in mind, some questions:
Am I being overly sensitive? Is this a normal part of graduate studies?
Should I just let this all go and move on enough to get that diploma in hand and call this a wash? How can I deal with the mental load?
Are there any helpful resources for dealing with this kind of thing?
Thank you so much!