Schools: Do They Destroy Creativity?

Do schools and the typical education system destroy creativity, or foster it?

Have you ever asked yourself in a class at school, “why do I have to learn this” or “why am I here?”
At some point, I am sure we all did. As humans, by nature, we automatically start questioning things that don’t make us feel comfortable. I asked myself those questions every day at school.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
– Pablo Picasso

Is it a coincidence that pretty much all children love to write stories, have fantastic imaginations, enjoy getting messy, painting, making music, inventing characters, acting out plays, drawing and creating things? Why don’t we carry this natural capacity throughout adulthood? Why would nature intend us to lose these gifts?

“How did God create the universe?”
“Where does rain really come from?”
My mom told me that when I was a kid, I asked a lot of questions. I even broke my electronic toys just to know how they worked. After I grew up, I was still curious about a lot. How were visual effects in movies made? And how did artists manipulate photos to create surreal artwork? I continued to wonder and search for answers until the day I discovered Photoshop.

It all started when I was in high school; I felt like a caged bird who dreams of flying for days just to compensate for the days spent inside the cage. I was always waiting for class to end so i could go back home, open Photoshop and release my imagination and creativity.
Instead of doing my homework, I was learning Photoshop, so I had relatively low grades. How artists create such amazing images with this tool really fascinated me and made me eager to do the same. With so many ideas on my mind, I wouldn’t listen to class lectures because I was dreaming about art.

My teachers and some of my classmates said that I was a “daydreamer,” an “underachiever” and described me as “weird” for not following the rules and not being able to listen in class. I thought that there was something wrong with me as I have failed in so many exams. What bothered me the most is that the level of intelligence was measured by a number; the higher grades you get the smarter you are, which is definitely a misconception. Albert Einstein had bad grades and I’m sure that he was smarter than everyone at my school. History and his discoveries are proof of that.

I learned in school that making mistakes is wrong, it’s actually so wrong that it can guarantee your failure in life. This idea is one of the main reasons why a lot of students lose hope in life once they fail at school. We learn from our mistakes, and my biggest mistake was school itself. I wasted time studying subjects that are useless to me, such as World Wars I and II and complex mathematical equations.

You’re not allowed to choose the subjects that you’re passionate about because that is how the education system works. Do as everyone does, follow the rules or you will fail. The problem is that you find yourself obligated to follow this system, while it should be the opposite, the education system should follow you, and by this, I mean it should be flexible and customizable; choose what you want to study and focus on it instead of studying multiple classes at the same time.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.”
– Mary Lou Cook

An artist should be free, and we are all artists, even if you’re a scientist or an engineer. If you’re doing it better than others or if you’re practicing it in a creative way, you’re considered an artist. I live by this motto today. Now that I have understood my capabilities and what I can accomplish with my creativity.

I ended up dropping out of high school, which I’m not proud of. But what makes me believe it was the right decision is that I do what I love to do now and I earn money from it. Actually, I think it’s safe to say that I’m making more money than the ones who had higher grades than I did.

Don’t get me wrong, as I’m not arguing that children should drop out of school. What i’m saying is that school is one thing, and education is another. The two don’t always overlap. Whether you’re in school or not, it’s always your responsibility to get yourself an education. Don’t ever let school keep you from learning. Don’t let it take away your curiosity.

We should always be curious about the world in which we live in. Look things up, chase down every reference, go deeper than any else. That’s how we’ll get ahead.

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