Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t rest on your laurels”?
For those who haven’t, it means one shouldn’t rely on past accomplishments as a crutch—with laurels representing victory in ancient Greeks. Over time, just like the laurels dying out of breezing away in the wind, previous achievements are eventually forgotten, to the point one would use it as a bar story when the they become old enough. And they are back at square one.
In this dog-eats-dog world of college, in which I’ve spotted students studying beyond midnight to get a high grade, pushing their way through applications for jobs and study abroad programs and internships, to think one has it all is almost anathema to the ambitious work that is college. And eventually slides to an intoxicating disease called complacency.
Complacency works a little like this: once you’ve gotten yourself into a rhythm, then you stay there. Stay there and work on auto-pilot, with no future goals because all the goals you set out for yourself have been achieved.
Personally, I’m struggling with it since high school. Since I attended an independent private school where everyone went to college and were considered extremely smart to get into it. I did well enough to get to multiple colleges and get considered as one of the top ten percent of Washington State’s graduating class. And so I approached college with success as a given, even though four years at a private high school affirmed that it was not.
My first quarter was a success academically; throughout the rest of the year, while I enjoyed myself, I didn’t think it would be that much harder, so I took my foot off the gas pedal. I also did that during my summer quarter classes, and that didn’t work to my advantage.
Going into this new school year, I feel like I haven’t fully gotten over what it means to work hard and put into everything. Being told that I am intelligent and have the capacity to do great things, along with a bunch of projects, I didn’t think I need to do more than a minimum effort.
But what I’m trying to say, at the end of the day, to fight it, you and I need to create higher goals. Think about the long-term, and work through urges of just resting.