Follow the Leader

A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.  This concept can be universally applied.

A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write. This concept can be universally applied.

We are always told to follow our passions in life. But what happens when that passion is not exactly mainstream with what the rest of everyone is doing?  You get the students who are bold enough and want to leave high school and pursue the arts. This does not mean solely drawing and painting but acting and music as well.

St. George’s provides such a supportive environment with faculties such as the counsellors, and the university counselling department to help students along their high school path to provide structure. Anonymous said, “I feel like St. George’s is so set on breeding doctors, lawyers and business men that artists feel left out times”. This may be due to the artist stereotype, being that all art students in high school are only doing such a thing to cruise through high school with the acceptance of low marks and just want to get by not addressing how important this step in life really is. The real answer to that may be that private schools in general like to travel and send students down a safe and secure path. So that is why at a school like St. George’s students feel pressure to  do extremely well in class so they will be accepted into prestigious universities and lead a job and a life that is safe, secure, and bordered by a white picket fence.

Anonymous said “I take art class but I would never pursue that as my career, too many unknowns.” This then brings us back into the argument of “follow your passion”. What makes a real passionate artist and someone who simply wants to get through high school under achieving? Anonymous said: when asked how many students out of the art community at his school he thinks are truly passionate artists. “I think it’s pretty half and half. The big difference and the way you can tell if a kid is serious is when he makes art a priority. I’ve spent hours after school in the art room and at lunch working on my craft and perfecting my pieces. People who really care about art also try and learn as much about art as they can and surround themselves with it. Those are the real artists. But there are always the kids who don’t really want to work in high school and just get high and throw paint at a canvas and say its expressionism.”

We all know someone who says, “I want to follow my dream and be an actor, musician or painter.”  And you say something like, “Wow, that’s bold” and you wonder what his parents think. Well this writer did an experiment. Most of our parents say they will support us whatever we decide to do. I wanted to see how much my parents believed in me when I told them I was dropping out of high school to follow a career as a rapper, an industry in which is considered one of the hardest to “make it”. Surprisingly my parents replied with, “as long as you are serious and love it and will not give up.”  When Anonymous was asked what his parents and teachers thought about him pursuing the arts and not a career that coincides with the school he attends, he said, “I feel like I’ve gained the respect of most of my teachers and most of them commend me for the choice to go into Arts, but I know a lot of other art students who are put down for the choice. This one girl I know, people always say to her, ‘I’ll see you working in Starbucks in a few years.’  As for my parents, they have kind of reluctantly accepted it.

If we didn’t have people who were bold enough to follow their dreams, society and the human race wouldn’t be where we are today. Some of the greatest songwriters, rappers, actors, and painters never had any formal post-secondary education, some even dropped out of high school. Just because someone isn’t going to be a lawyer or a doctor doesn’t mean they won’t have a happy and successful life.  The last time I checked, becoming a successful business person wasn’t easy. There is never a guarantee that we will succeed in what we do, whether that is following the arts, medicine, business or anything else. Determination and one’s dedication to their craft will ultimately determine how well someone does.  I believe that it is important for young people to heed the famous words of Benjamin Franklin: “You can do anything you set your mind to.”