"Wow, Nicole, you've really improved..."
I'm about to let you in on a little secret...
I haven't actually improved.
According to Websters Dictionary, the definition of improvement is as follows: To enhance in value or quality : make better. Basically, you become better in comparison to where you were before.
Unfortunately, if you were actually at what people are referring to as your "improved state" the entire time.....
Well, let me give you a (purely hypothetical) example:
Say you go to art school. You come back from summer vacation only to realize that the quality of the work you had produced the year before meant nothing and everyone was still treating you like a complete imbecile (despite the fact that you got the only "A" in a class about design, full of designers, of which you are not one). So there you are, feeling more than slightly put off when suddenly someone with zero talent gets rewarded with a huge project for no other reason than they happen to kiss a lot of ass.
And you thought you were mad before.
At this point, why try? You're not sure you even want to be there and someone with the drawing skills of a house plant is being treated like they're the second coming of Edith Head. What the hell is the point of trying, really?
So you don't. You slack off, all your projects look like a 1st grader did them with a crayon (although they're still better than some people's projects..), and no one treats you any differently because, apparently, they expected this from you all along. Then, one day, you wake up and realize that you're getting calls to do outside jobs based on -GASP- the quality of your work and you're also kind of a genius. So what do you do now? Well, you just start doing projects at your normal level of excellence and everyone thinks you're "learning so much" in your classes that you couldn't help but improve! Now you look like the Comeback Kid, everyone is going on about how great it is that you can finally draw a human form that doesn't look like a gingerbread man, and telling you that you're really going to go far. Ha. Ha ha. If only they knew....
It's good to be me.
[As a side note, the best part about this whole thing is that I'm still "improving".... and some people clearly never will.]