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Feb 18 2018
by Sarah Diggins

Is College Killing My Creativity?

By Sarah Diggins - Feb 18 2018

I've always been creative. From the time I was little, I loved drawing, acting, writing stories and just about everything in between. Growing up, I dabbled in just about every sport imaginable from soccer to softball to basketball to cheerleading, although I knew at the end of the day that I really wasn't very good at any of them and that I was just more of a creative person. 

I went through a pretentious phase, somewhere around middle school, where I would state how "I could never have a boring office job" and while now, I'm not sure I'd mind a job behind a desk quite as much, I certainly know that I won't be truly happy unless I'm doing something that allows me to be at least a little bit creative. 

Thus enters the writing degree. 

Despite what you may think, the usefulness of my major has been questioned only a handful of times. To my face, at least. I go to a school dominated mostly by musicians, filmmakers and actors, so most of us are able to get by with little ridicule from other majors, but back to writing. 

I've always loved writing, but my passion really started to kick off senior year of high school. I always found myself with ideas, swirling around in my head all day and night and driving me crazy. I worked on things here and there, never really sticking to anything, but always working, always writing. By April of senior year, things started to change. After my final school musical closed at the same time the door to my passion for theater did, I began writing like crazy. From that April to that August, just before I headed to college, I managed to complete nearly a hundred pages of an idea I had brewing since the eighth grade. 

In high school, I was on fire. Even when I had rehearsals and homework and tests, I always found time and inspiration for short stories, poetry and the like. My free time was creative time. Since coming to college, I've barely written ten pages for fun. Even when it came to my writing classes, I found myself not very proud of what I was writing during my first semester. I had plenty of free time,  but whenever I sat down to write, I just couldn't get into that mindset. My characters and worlds, the ones I created, no longer felt like home the way they always had. 

For a while, I thought that maybe it was something else that I needed to be doing, but I love writing. I always have, always will. A lifestyle change wasn't going to take that away from me. 

Still, even at such a creative school, I found myself in sort of a rat race of source. I wrote the things I needed to, but very rarely felt particularly proud or connected to it. I had rarely had free time to write and when I did, my brain was practically fried. 

Unsurprisingly, I'm not the only one going through this dilemma. 

"I worry that advancing through academia had killed my creativity," Gari from Clark University shares, "My grades reflect that, indeed, I am a good writer. But writing has become methodical and formulaic. Paper after paper is written this way, and has been since the end of middle school. Only now in college that I am forced out of creative writing outlets, overloaded with papers and a member of too many clubs and organizations do I realize that I am afraid to put myself in my writing." 

"I just don't have the free time to engage in most of my creative arts," Alaba from Syracuse University adds, "It feels like my brain just has too much else going on to focus on creativity." 

With the coming of the second semester, things have gotten better. With the pressures of the other classes required by a liberal arts education, a social life and still getting used to living in a new state are getting thrown at me, creativity often has to take a backseat. While I'm finally starting to find my groove, I don't think my creativity levels will every reach what they were back in high school. I suppose this is just something else that college prepares you for: how to keep moving with a lack of inspiration. 

Image Credit Credit: Pexels  

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Sarah Diggins - Ithaca College

18, NJ native, freshman at Ithaca College. Ravenclaw with Gryffindor tendencies (so basically she's Luna Lovegood). Avid Family Feud watcher. Catch her on instagram and twitter @thebookofsarah.

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