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The Death of Creativity

I’m confused and I blame that on my education. While many of us (me included) cannot remember what it was like to be in kindergarten what I do remember is being told to use my imagination, be creative and think outside the box. Fast forward many years and we’re told that writing assignments must follow the dreaded five paragraph rule, must contain three quotes from a print material and must be stapled in the top left corner. What happened to the creativity? None of that looks like thinking outside the box to me. Understandably formal public education must have benchmarks on which to judge students and must create a level playing field (hence the restrictions and rules). But I can’t help but wonder if there’s a better way. Rules and stuffy regulations suppress student’s creativity and desire to be in the classroom. If we were afforded the responsibility and autonomy to carry out tasks that were completed with equal parts of both a conventional approach and creative thinking I think the classroom would have been a much better (read: beneficial) place.
I don’t consider myself an artist or “creative type” by any means but I would have been thrilled for a project that allowed me to express myself in a way I thought appropriately answered the question at hand (in reality though regardless of the project…glitter everywhere!). While I understand that certain skills and subjects call for a more regimented environment not everything does. Producing a presentation should not have the same number of rules as it seems proving a mathematical equation does; it is inappropriate and unnecessary. A little creativity would have benefited my peers and me in ways we could really use right about now.
In the near future I will be applying to graduate schools and will be required to write many personal statements on topics as varied as why I want to attend their school to a tale about what I’m passionate about.  And here is where my confusion takes center stage. Am I expected to write a boring, albeit grammatically correct and thorough essay or do I take the creative approach? I’m not sure. On one hand I was taught to leave creativity in art class and that educational pieces should be completed as they always have been but on the other hand I’ve been told that I’ll need to stand out amongst all other applicants. How shall I do both? Oh I know, I’ll write an appropriately boring essay but maybe all in caps or in pink font-that’s for sure going to demonstrate how professional and intelligent I am. Yeah right, good joke. If only I was taught how to better approach situations that require both creative thinking and traditional writing skills. Actually scratch that, if only I was taught that it was OK to approach a task  in that manner I wouldn’t have to sit here contemplating how best to show these people that yes, I am worthy of your school and please please let me spend tens of thousands of dollars at your institution.
Since I can’t change the past, I’ll just have to try how I approach the future of my education. Now about that essay….i’m thinking Times New Roman type (conventional) on glitter paper (creative). Perfect!

Shelby is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she studied Communications. She currently works as a legal assistant so that she may fund her extreme shopping addiction. Shelby enjoys writing, staying up-to-date on the latest pop culture news, travelling, baking (not cooking; she cannot cook), and figuring out a way to break into the Public Relations field even if it kills her.

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