Skip to content

Guard Against Complacency

August 15, 2008

I think the number one killer of recent college graduates is complacency, which is followed shortly by despondency.  This revelation hit me as I was feeling sorry for myself earlier today.  It’s time for a new plan of attack.

See, yesterday I visited my old summer camp, a place of which I have fond and not-so-fond memories.  I went there as a camper until I was old enough to work there, and worked there until I wanted to shoot myself.

As a fan of nostalgia, I figure a return to my roots every once in a while can be fun, even healthy.  Somehow, every time this wave of nostalgia hits, I conveniently forget how much emotional baggage I carried with me between the ages of eleven and seventeen, and how hard I worked to lose that luggage.  It involved several layovers.

At this camp we play a game invented by the camp director called ‘Tribes.’  My old camp friends and I make it a point, if we’re available, to drop by on game day and reminisce.  Several of them work there, and after the treasures had been found and the kids had been sugared up, we got to talking about the others in our ‘clique’.  Each name and Where Are They Now was like a cigarette burn on my arm.  Those names belong to people I once considered close friends, who are now nothing more than a profile on Facebook.

Worse, they all seem to be succeeding at whatever they have chosen to do.

I should be happy for them, these captains of industry, these award-winning performers, these kids I used to play Truth or Dare with.  And I am.  But I’m woman enough to admit that I’m also jealous.  Not because I want to be a businessman in Chicago, or a math major who solves Rubix Cubes competitively, but because somehow they’ve all taken off, they’re sticking to a very specific path, and despite a complete understanding of what I want to do with my life (i.e. write), I don’t know how long it will take me to succeed.

But the pity party ended early due to lack of interest.  The fact is, I have to get back to working towards my goal, instead of just sitting around watching Law & Order reruns on TNT.  For two months I’ve been trying to get a handle on my life, so I’ve been content to say, ‘Well, I’m employed.’  And that’s good, but I need to do more.  I need a plan of attack.

I applied for the Disney fellowship, but since I won’t hear back from them for months, no sense holding my breath.  In the mean time, since my novel rewrites are finished, I need to start sending out query letters again, and talk to my boss about people he knows who are worth contacting.  I need to finish my new pilot script, and work on getting the first one into the right hands.  

Here’s the important thing to remember for anyone just out of college: you’re young.  In a good way.  But you have time to be successful and accomplished.  Keep busy, keep trying, don’t fall into a rut, but don’t freak out if you graduate and aren’t a millionaire by September.

It isn’t the rejections that’ll get me – those I can handle with grace.  It’s the day to day living, looking at my life and wondering: ‘How much longer until it’s the life I dream about?’  The thing that’s so easy to forget is that it’ll never change if I don’t try.


Quote of the Day:

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill

Link of the Day:  I went blog-hunting today, following a lead from my good friend over at  

Amanda the Aspiring TV Writer – someone in the same boat as me, though her advice seems more oriented to, ‘I know what I’m talking about,’ rather than, ‘Don’t make the same mistakes I did.’

Alex Epstein – a blog I may add to my sidebar, he’s a clever writer who wrote a book recommended to my class by Stu Krieger.  His blog is also filled with lots of links to other sources.  A good hub of information.

Kung Fu Monkey – I enjoyed this blog a lot for its humor.  Plus, the author is now writing for a new TNT series, Leverage, featuring Christian Kane of Angel.  

Most interesting thing about the various blogs?  All of them at some point in the recent past have referenced Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog.  Joss Whedon truly has won the internets.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Derek permalink
    August 17, 2008 6:55 pm

    I definitely think that you are right about how we, as recent college graduates, need to avoid complacency and take a more proactive approach in ensuring the futures of which we have dreamed. Like you, I often find myself wondering how long it will be before my dreams and my reality finally meet. Perhaps my goals might seem rather dull when compared to the idea of writing a hit show or the general (and rather vague) American dream of striking it rich and wanting for nothing the rest of your life, but the principle that you have described is basically the same.

    All my life, I have strived to become an educator of young minds. I always wanted to be that singular teacher that the kids remember all their lives as their most important influence. At the very least, I’d hoped to prove myself equal to the brilliant veterans who, once upon a time, succeeded in the challenge of educating me.

    Since securing my first teaching assignment, however, I have learned the same lesson that many college graduates before me have learned: “School is over, now your education begins.” Starting out in the world, I have found myself hampered greatly by all the things my professors failed to tell me during class. I am competent at my job, but I am not yet the brilliant educator I have long dreamed of becoming.

    Like others I have met, I could choose to carry on at my current level, dreaming nostalgically of easier times that probably weren’t as easy as I remember, but that road leads to complacency. It would be so easy to say, “Well, I’ve done it. I’ve gotten a job and all I need to do is keep it.” In the end, however, that complacency would lead to the crumbling of my dreams and the end of who I have always wished to be. My passion would dwindle and my skills would atrophy until I became just another burned out teacher who hates his job but can’t think of anything else to do with his life.

    The educational brilliance that I have longed hoped for will only develop over time. I will not, as I once believed in my naiveté, simply be that good right from the start. If I want to become the person that I know I can become, then I need to make that happen.

    It is nice to discover that I am not the only young college graduate who takes the time to ponder these things. Most of the college graduates that I know wouldn’t give such notions a second thought. Good luck to you in the challenges before you. May your enthusiasm never waiver.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: