How To: Staying Creative In College

How To: Staying Creative In College

Or on Any Busy Schedule
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Classes started about two weeks ago, and I was on campus the full week before for leadership training. It’s a little hectic. You’d think I’d be used to this by now—I’m a senior in my last semester—but somehow I still find myself on the brink of exhaustion twenty-four hours a day, and my creative output has dropped to almost zero. Now, I’m a writer. Being uncreative for more than two days sends me into a spiral of crankiness and a string of consecutive existential crises.

Unacceptable.

Over time, including my years at summer camp, I’ve accumulated some techniques on how to stay creative in college, or on any busy schedule. There’s no guarantee these will always work, especially given the ever-shifting student’s schedule, but at least it’s a place to start. The important part is that I’m making the effort to keep the creative juices flowing. And if you’re at all creative or have a hobby/passion you hold important, you should make the effort too.

First, the philosophy. Writing is my thing—I’ve done it for six years straight and I’m about to receive a Bachelor of Arts in it. So, when you have an 8:00 a.m. class and you’re missing meals and sleep is hard to come by, remember what it’s all really about. Academic responsibilities are key, but neglecting creativity in the long run can damage the way you view your passion. I know I’ve come close a couple times. But I’ve also made the necessary adjustments to get back on track. With that in mind, here are a few tricks to remaining a good student but also remaining a good writer.

a) Make time. Schedule writing sessions as you would homework. The more serious you are about it, the easier it will be to find time. At first it can feel like a chore, especially when you only have a spare half hour here or there, but stay on course. Over time, your brain will understand what writing time is for, and will click into gear when you really need it to (well… most of the time). Don’t expect immediate results, but don’t give up, either. Like any healthy habit, you will be glad to reap the benefits when they come to fruition.

b) Take all mental energy into account. This is a little more abstract, but I fully consider daydreaming, listening to ‘muse’ music and sketching characters as writing time. If my mental capacity goes toward a story, I count it as creativity well-spent. Actual writing doesn’t have to make up 100% of the time. It’s all story-building and creativity-boosting.

c) Enjoy solitude. Writing takes focus, and it’s beyond incredible to have time for yourself just to kick back, put on your writing music and pump out a few good pages. This can apply to both of the previous tips; being alone can clear your head and hone in on the creative flow. Even the most social butterflies can benefit from an hour alone just to write. Especially in a busy environment.

d) Snack. This doesn’t strictly apply to writing, but hey, who doesn’t appreciate a good handful of M&Ms or Chex mix now and then? Portion it out so you get a piece of candy (or whatever you’ve got) for every certain amount of words or pages. It’s motivational and delicious!

Three years of college have taught me all these things and more. In all seriousness, academics should be priority, but please don’t underestimate the sheer importance of writing when you’re a writer. It will sharpen your skills, boost your confidence, and help you learn to tap your creativity when you need it most. By the end of the semester, you’ll have written all the words you wanted and more. It’s creative fulfillment, and you will thank yourself later for a job well done.

Plus, you can snack.

Cover Image Credit: Stocksnap.io

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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