The Best Student: Creativity


Hello friends! This week marks for several students (including this author) the return to classes. In my case, I'm in a two week long intensive class which will leave me very little time to blog. And so I've set up these auto-entries to explore what it looks like to bring your A game to your work in the classroom. This week is all about being the best student!


Last spring, my good friend Justin Bowers held a conference for creative people. It was amazing! Artists of all varieties were present, including musicians, photographers, filmmakers, painters, writers, chefs, dancers, and many more. And while it was amazing to spend time in the hot tub each night (gotta love a retreat house that comes with a hot tub), it was fun for me to see how creative people interact with each other. It was fun to see how people could feed off each others energy. It was fun to learn from other people about how they approached their craft. It was fun to watch how they approached things other than their crafts! 


In my opinion, creative people make the world go round, and not just because I feel like I am one! I think that people who approach even the most mundane things with an eye towards creativity, with an eye towards making something that no one else has made. I love people who can start with a blank piece of nothing and end up with a work of art. 


Maybe it doesn't feel like it at first, but school (of all kinds!) is a great place to express creativity. In any number of disciplines, whether writing a paper or taking a test or giving a presentation or even doing (gulp) math homework, you have an opportunity to make something where there was previously nothing. You have an opportunity to create. Perhaps I'm alone in getting goosebumps when that thought washes over me, but I don't think so. I think creating is something primal. I think it goes back to our creation, to being made in the image of God. At that point in the story, really the only thing God has shown himself to be about is creating. God loves speaking a fresh word into chaos, and having something beautiful appear. Each time it happens, he can't help but repeat the refrain. "It is good."


This is why the idea of plagiarism is so ugly to most of us. The idea of taking something that someone else created and claiming it as your own is a cop out. It's lame. It's boring. Sure it's stealing, and there's a lot of punishment that can (and will) come from that. But from that primal place, it's like saying to God that you don't want to be like him. You don't want to create something new on your own. You'd much rather take the easy way out. 


This is why I obsess over papers. Writing is one of my chosen art forms, and I don't ever want to do poorly on an assignment because of poor writing. All of the papers I wrote last year, I took a picture of the outline before I started writing, and a picture afterwards. Because it's just so fulfilling to start with nothing and to end with a (and I hope I'm not over stating this) work of art. It speaks deeply to me. It speaks deeply to the soul. 


Perhaps you don't see it that way. Maybe for you school is just that thing you do, drifting from class to class and finishing up busy work. God knows there are teachers and professors out there who only ever assign us busy work, and I think we'll all agree that they are the pits! But take some time this year to be creative. Allow yourself to go down paths you might not otherwise go. Allow yourself to make something out of nothing. Allow yourself some freedom and flexibility to bring art into your academics. Let yourself proudly wear the label of a creative. 


Next time: Organization