Creativity over Convention

Abigail Chaff

Where has the creativity gone in our generation? In school it always seems that someone is telling you what to do. Even in college there are rules and restrictions. Before entering college, high school students long for the days of not going to class when they don’t want, and having the freedom of choosing what your schedule will be.

Shortly after enrolling in higher education, it becomes clear that you cannot do whatever you want, whenever you want, and still succeed academically. Almost every professor has an attendance policy.

Usually you only get two or three unexcused absences before your attendance affects your grade in the class. Sure, no one is going to turn you in to the truancy police, but there are some real consequences to skipping class.

Missing class discussion and lecture can greatly hinder your understanding of course material. It is easy to lose track of your responsibilities by not attending.

The biggest issue of all is that college students are paying thousands of dollars in tuition. Why would you want to piss it all away just because you were too hung over to make it to your 7:45 a.m. class. Oh, and for the record, making a perfect schedule is not as easy as you think.

So if you manage to actually make it to your class on time, you will be directed to strictly follow the guidelines laid out in the syllabus. Every assignment and test is given in order by date. You have all the rules and suggestions for the class. Yes, you can choose not to do these activities, but once again, you will get smacked with the hard reality of academic suspension and remedial classes.

As stated, there are assignments in every class. Some professors don’t assign points, but you know if you don’t do the homework you’re not going to do well on the exams. Most assignments have extremely clear directions. Everything is spelled out for you to regurgitate out a carbon copy of the example they gave.

When I am actually told to write about whatever I want, or to make something up, I feel lost. I have considered myself a fairly imaginative and creative person. I like my ideas more than anyone else’s. But when a professor says “just talk about whatever you want,” I find myself hopelessly deadlocked between writers’ block and a brain fart.

Once, I didn’t like any of the options for a paper my professor provided me with, so I wrote my own paper. I was inspired by a different aspect of the story. I felt a calling to explore a different direction of things. I was given the paper back and instructed to rewrite it within the parameters of the given prompts.

I guess it’s nice the professor gave me the opportunity to still get credit, but why isn’t a good paper enough? Why is it that if I write on my own idea and put together a well researched, clearly directed paper, I would not be able to hand it in? That was the last time I stepped up on the ledge of being a unique.

Educators of all grades need to realize that fostering a creative atmosphere is healthy and inspiring. Challenge students to be who they want to be, to learn who they are and what they want out of life. Express yourselves in any way that comes to you naturally.

We have been conditioned our entire lives to color inside the lines. When a time comes to express
ourselves, it is a struggle to articulate exactly who we are. There is hope budding on every inked arm, in every pastel hairdo, in every pair of neon Nikes: Be you and let the creativity flow.