I can appreciate the OP's feeling. When I was on a B&W course we used to develop prints in communal trays so everyone else's stuff was in there and without exception all looked more contrasty than mine. The difference was simply that I had chosen Pearl paper and the rest Glossy.

Try Glossy and see what difference it makes before doing anything else. This may be all that's wrong. Different surfaces suit different tastes and different scenes. Ilford Satin for instance is great paper for some scenes but looks very flat even at the same grade compared to Pearl and will never look as contrasty as Glossy no matter what you do with it.

pentaxuser