At a time when everything is becoming more and more competitive, be it job applications or applying for an academic degree abroad, most sectors seem to demand more than just skills. Résumés are designed to showcase what makes one stand out from the crowd; college applications highlight projects that portray creativity and individuality.
“Think outside the box,” “Be spontaneous”, “Be creative” are the buzzwords of our era.
So, one may wonder what exactly creativity is and search for ways how we can add it to our repertoire.
The one who has perhaps never picked up a paintbrush might be confused about if they lack creativity because when we think of a creative individual, we might initially picture an artist.
Ridima (single name), a fourth-grader at Sunbeams School, thinks creativity is the birth of an original idea that comes from our imagination. “Well, anyone can be creative if s/he tries to,” she says, “If I need to make something original, I would have to put my thinking cap on and put as much as I know into my project. When I paint, I make a lot of stories in my mind and try to picture them in real life. I also start looking in my books and get ideas from those pictures.”
“Creativity is a sense of escape, whether you conceive it yourself, or experience someone else delivers it,” says Khadija Akter, a student of Economics at Brac University. For art lovers, she cites example, looking at paintings is a sense of escape or a way of looking for answers – an escape from their world to the world of the artist, understanding, and drowning in the world of colours and the unknown. “For me, creating pieces was an escape from my thoughts. It’s about getting so immersed and engaged that you can forget the world around you for some time, that itself is therapeutic.”
Taqi Hossain, a Master’s student of Economics at East West University thinks creativity is not just limited to the arts, music, or even talent; it can be in any form or shape. “A rickshaw puller installing a battery and a motor to make his work easier is also a form of creativity,” he adds. “Creativity is just a new and improved way to look at things. It can be anything and everything.”
However, creativity can be too abstract of a concept to grasp or even demand from a person, as most people would agree that inspiration cannot be timed.
“Even if I’m told to do something creative, I often struggle. Isn’t creativity supposed to come from within? Isn’t that the only thing that shouldn’t be structured? So, whenever I am ‘asked’ to show creativity, I can’t,” says Nazifa Ahmed, a student in ninth grade at Bangladesh International School and College.
“When young, our creativity and imagination seem to be at their peak. But as we grow up, we often get too caught up in reality and lose that spark inside us,” she expressed her views. She believes, schools, colleges, and offices seem to kill off the last cell of imagination people have. “Nowadays, there’s no system of letting a student’s creativity flourish. Even in art classes, we are constrained to draw under specific instructions. What’s the point of an art class if we can’t express ourselves in whichever way we want? While there are always extra-curricular activities to bring out the creative sides of students, not everyone will do an extra activity.” Nazifa regrets.
The immense workload on students leaves anybody too tired to even think outside of work. With no energy to pursue anything else, the little bursts of inspiration rot away tucked in a corner of our minds.
However, creativity has a way of expressing itself, leaving small bits of ourselves in anything we create.
“Anyone who wants to practice anything creative, they will find a way to do it. A trick that worked for me, is waking up early and setting time aside for a creative endeavour, and making a habit out of it. That’s how you get better at it. Once you’re used to it, you don’t have to work hard to make time for it,” according to Fariha Hossain, a student at Chittagong Medical College.
While we may not always be as creative and imaginative as we were as little kids, we can always find ways to make our creativity shine through in anything we do. Be it a project for class, a new idea for an app, a new song, or even just a witty caption for your post on social media, all of us are here to make our mark and these are the little pieces of ourselves we offer to the world. Creativity is what sets us apart.
Farhin Husain is a current student at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of Brac University and can be reached at [email protected]