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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Opinion: Do something creative

Just because you won’t be the next Bob Ross doesn’t mean you shouldn’t paint. Opinion columnist Charis Adkins says it’s about how it makes you feel, not how it looks. Now go out and do something creative. (Graphic by Tyler Thompson)

Being creative is hard.

Last semester, I picked up a skein of yarn and a crochet hook for the first time and decided to try my hand at a beanie, so I found a video tutorial online and jumped to it. I still don’t know exactly what happened — I followed every step right along with the video, but that beast of a hat ate up two entire skeins of yarn and ended up big enough to enclose an entire basketball. Like, if I put it on it reaches down to my shoulders. But you know what? I had a great time making it, and that’s what really matters.

Creativity is vitally important. If you’ve ever been subjected to a job interview, you know that employers value the mysterious concepts of “creative thinking” and “creative problem solving” highly.

But you shouldn’t just think of creativity in terms of innovation or marketability. It’s good for your health and your mental wellbeing. It’s even been linked to living longer.

The problem — particularly in college and for hardcore STEM students — is making time for it. And I don’t want to hear any of this “I’m not creative” nonsense. Everyone’s creative, and anyone can do creative things. Just because you’re not a prodigy at something doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

To prove it, let’s do a fun little activity. Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil and try to come up with just 30 ways to get the juice out of an orange. Sounds easy, right? Maybe you start off strong but run out of ideas pretty quickly:

  1. With a juicer
  2. Squeeze with your hands
  3. Step on it

It’s okay — I hit a wall the first time I tried, too. The problem might be that you’re only thinking of things you’d actually do. Try to think outside of the box. What’s the weirdest way you could do it?

  1. Put it under a hydraulic press
  2. Throw it against a wall as hard as you can
  3. Poke a hole and suck like a vampire

Voilà — creativity! If you’re on a roll, don’t stop at 30. Shoot for 40, 50, even 100. Or, spice it up: maybe every idea has to include a doorstop somehow.

This is a great exercise to slip in during a wicked study sesh. Just take five to 10 minutes and try to brainstorm uses for a top hat, ways to style your hair or dance moves based on different majors. It’s a mental break from studying, plus you might even come back to whatever homework you were working on with a new mindset.

But hey, maybe your creativity doesn’t shine when coming up with 50 different ways to squeeze an orange. That’s fine too! Creativity takes many forms and looks different for every person.

Drawing, painting, writing and music are usually what people think of when they’re considering creative hobbies. While these are all definitely creative, don’t let these self-important words turn you off of them.

Your drawings don’t have to be photo-realistic charcoal sketches. In fact, they absolutely won’t be while you’re just getting started. You’re probably not going to be the next Bob Ross, J. R. R. Tolkien or Jimi Hendrix, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from enjoying creative activities.

For example, I’m about as good at drawing as Jimbo is at winning football games. Even my stick figures come out looking suicidal. I have a feeling a lot of you guys are like me, but we can’t let that stop us.

Doodle on your notes. They don’t have to be good. Hell, I draw random shapes and then give them Peter Griffin’s face. As long as you’re enjoying yourself, who cares what it looks like?

Plus, creativity doesn’t have to take the form of those generally-accepted activities like drawing or painting. It can be anything from gardening to crochet.

We have to get over the assumption that anything creative we do has to win awards or be a perfect work of art. Perfection is the bane of creativity; giving in to it can stunt your creative mind or, worse, turn you away from creative things altogether because “I won’t be good at them.” Besides, we all have to start somewhere, and as we all know sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.

Don’t let perfectionism or the fear of being bad at art make you shy away from creative activities. Photography, reading, fashion design, dancing, even coding or digital art — you can be creative in so many ways. You just have to make time for it.

Now go out and do something creative. It doesn’t have to be good. You just have to do it.

Charis Adkins is an English junior and opinion columnist for The Battalion.

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Charis Adkins
Charis Adkins, Opinion Columnist
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  • H

    HayleyApr 4, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    Such a great point! Creativity >>>

  • I

    isaMar 26, 2024 at 10:09 pm