Advice is a strange thing. It hardly ever comes when we need it. When it does, we probably aren’t ready to hear it.
Looking back on my four years at ETHS, I have done a lot of dumb things here. That being said, I’ve also learned a lot of lessons from all the dumb things I’ve done. I compiled a list of advice that I’ve gathered from my years in high school, as well as some additions a few of my friends suggested. I hope something on this list helps you. If not, that’s fine too. Half the fun of living is learning from your own mistakes.
1. Be nice to people. This should really go without saying, but you never know who could come in clutch in the future. The Safety officers at the Bacon entrance, Mr. McLaughlin, that kid who sits behind you in English who reads a lot of manga but is still pretty cool– they’re all most likely really nice and could help you out in the future.
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Try hard, believe in yourself, and put your all into everything you do. At the same time, never forget what you are– a teen rockin’ some acne who uses way too much Axe. Check yourself.
3. UTILIZE CHICAGO. No matter what you’re interested in, there is something there for you. Enjoy science? Look into volunteering at the Adler Planetarium. Into social action? You can bet your buttons there are protest events being organized right now for causes you’re passionate about. Think you’re funny? Enroll in classes at world-renowned comedy centers like iO or Second City. One of our country’s richest cultural and metropolitan hubs is just a few el stops (or a short Uber ride) away. Explore and enjoy.
4. Popularity is ultimately a social construct. Be friends with people who make you laugh, really listen to you when you speak, know all your food allergies, and help you grow as a person. If you surround yourself with good people, the rest will work itself out.
5. Read the book. Don’t watch the movie. Don’t Sparknotes it. Don’t read half and then pay someone to fake-annotate the rest. Seriously, read the book. It’s probably good.
6. DO NOT be the couple engaging in coitus in the middle of H-hall. No one finds it cute, funny, or interesting. At least go to an art wing staircase.
7. Do not eat the Jamaican patty in the lunch room.
8. Finally, the first rule of improv and my personal life mantra: Always say yes. Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. Don’t be afraid to do something new, even if it’s so far out of your comfort zone you have to use Mapquest to get there. Always. Say. Yes. (Except to the Jamican patty, see #7.)
Thanks for reading this year. Stay rad, Etown.