As a student, your primary goal is to learn about the world around you. But you’re also not meant to store this knowledge up in your head like artifacts in a museum. It should be transformative, shaping the way you see life and yourself. Finding creative ways to express yourself isn’t trivial or frivolous but the ultimate application of a good education.
Explore the World
Expression starts with exploration. Exploring both the world around you and your own inner world helps you find things you want to express. Or if you feel something welling inside that you want to let out, but you aren’t sure what it is, exploration helps you put those feelings into words.
Sometimes, this can be as simple as going for a walk in a place you haven’t been before. Stroll through a forest preserve or take a different route to class. Talk to people you haven’t spoken to before, and read authors you wouldn’t usually pick up. Then, take some time to sit quietly and contemplate how you feel about these things.
Embrace the Arts
When most people think of creative self-expression, their minds immediately go to the arts. For those who don’t view themselves as “artists,” this can be discouraging. But art is a uniquely human ideal, and even if you haven’t tried using an art form before, you shouldn’t disqualify yourself from expressing yourself with one. Try one of these:
- Creative writing: Try journaling, freewriting, or writing a poem, short story, or even a novel.
- Visual arts: Doodle in a sketchbook, paint a picture, work with clay, make a scrapbook with some free digital scrapbook papers, or try embroidery.
- Performing arts: Dance, sing, act, take up an instrument, or do all of them at once!
- Culinary arts: Experiment with cooking, baking, and cake decorating.
- Create something: Even hobbies that many people wouldn’t consider traditional arts can still be creative, such as gardening or woodworking.
Don’t constrain yourself to the dictates of a single form. Remember, the goal is to find a way to express yourself creatively. Get your soul onto the page, canvas, or stage. If you decide you want to submit your art to the world later, you can polish and add form to it afterward.
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Experiment with Style
Fashion has a reputation for being “shallow” or only focused on outward appearances, but it doesn’t have to be. You can turn yourself into the canvas you paint your inner world upon. Wear clothes that express your inner confidence, whether that looks like high heels, leather jackets, or blue jeans. Or wear clothes that embody a social movement that you want to represent.
And don’t feel constricted to only wearing clothes you have worn before or that society tells you is flattering to your body type. Try new things. Who knows? You may find something you didn’t know you liked and learn something new about yourself along the way.