ADVICE FOR GRADS

(Chicago Tribune) At the end of every school year, Chicago Academy for the Arts holds a senior lunch and head of school Jason Patera offers what's come to be known as his Annual Dispensing of Unsolicited Advice. Good stuff. And we'd like to know - is #8 really true?
  1. "Art is really important. Whether or not you actually end up making it, you have a responsibility to support it, with both your time and your money."
  2. "Community is also really important, and it's almost certain that you will never find a community like this one again. That's OK - you shouldn't just be looking for communities anymore, you should be building them."
  3. "Being someone is always better than seeming like someone. Be a great artist. Be a good person. Be happy. Don't just waste time trying to seem like it on Instagram."
  4. "The more you get, the more you want. If you think you'll be happier when you have more of something - more money, more stuff, more power, more success - you're never going to have enough. ‘More' becomes ‘normal' shockingly fast, and when the novelty wears off, you feel
  5. "Instant gratification is not the same as happiness. Much of the modern world - your phone, your Juul, your credit card - is designed to trick you into thinking you're happy. They're really just stealing your time and your money."
  6. "There's an old joke that you should take to heart: ‘How did the artist end up with a million dollars? They started with $2 million.' Become an expert with money. Start today. It is not hard to be the smartest person in the room about money, and Google will teach you - for free - how to do it. Keep in mind, though, that money and happiness are pretty much unrelated. If you're miserable when you're broke, you're still going to be miserable when you're not."
  7. "Be sober. The more you believe that alcohol and drugs help you do anything, the more it means you have work to do when you're sober. Sooner or later, we all have to operate in reality, and living cleanly will illuminate paths for you that will take you anywhere worth going.
  8. "Whether they were really high, or really low, no one will ever again care what grades you got in high school. Most of your college professors are going to be so terrified of social media attacks and helicopter parents they won't give you anything less than a 'B,' regardless of what you actually deserve. So decide right now to hold yourself to a standard -- a much higher standard -- that's not related to letter grades, praise or recognition. Demand more from yourself than anyone else could ever expect, embrace criticism and don't expect anyone to care about your feelings."
  9. "Develop the courage to be disliked. Have high expectations for the people around you. Think for yourself and don't be afraid to express well-founded but unpopular opinions. Have uncomfortable conversations. Don't be an a-hole, but also don't be a clone or a pushover."
  10. "Reject mediocrity. If you haven't already, you're going to discover that other people get uncomfortable when you set big goals and work incredibly hard to reach them. Don't let those people slow you down, even when they're your friends. Most of what you think are the limits of your potential are illusions, so never, ever, apologize for having and pursuing big dreams."

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