Lessons for students in high school: some creative, some for life.

I love reading work written by Katy Cowan. She just hits the right note every time! Borrowing from an old piece of hers on the biggest lessons learnt and shared by creatives, I’m going to repurpose the learnings as recommendations in the context of our students at the academy.

Adopt a positive mindset and see the opportunities

Things never go smoothly (probably a rhetoric) and it is easy to end up in a spiral. We often hear statements like “I failed my mid-terms”, “there’s so much homework I can’t give time to drawing”, “I am so tired by the end of day I don’t feel like reading anything” etc. etc.

Embrace these setbacks and set a challenge to better yourself instead. If you do not wish to receive recommendations from people on how to get better — chart your own plan. Own your challenge and create a plan that is the best for you to deal with the challenge (your teachers and the elderly are always there to facilitate you).

Be brave and stick to your guns

Take control over your schedules and your learning. Don’t follow the herd, but rather think about what’s best for you. For example — do you really need tuitions for everything? What if you save the time you waste to travel to the tuition and at the tuition itself to study by yourself instead? Use existing free resources (like videos by Khan Academy) to teach yourself a few things and save yourself from the homework pressure! Once you take a decision and chart your own learning plan — stick by it and stay committed to it. Every time you get influenced by some new wave (or trend or fad), pause and ask yourself — is this really the best thing for me?

Source: Tenor

Make room for your own creative projects

Thinking about students who prepare for Indian design entrance examinations — the preparation material can often turn into a mundane task that really isn’t enticing. Don’t let that become a reality! I am almost certain that there are tons of other creative things that you may be itching to try. Be it painting, sculpting or even writing — think about how you can integrate it with your existing preparation material or find time to take those projects individually.

Don’t let the pressure stop you from being creative

The pressure of exams, the pressure of scoring, the pressure of completing homework, the pressure of making everyone happy — way too much! Channel that pressure in all things you wish to do creatively. Engaging with self-initiated creative projects will only release you from some of these pressures and help you cope up with a hundred other things you need to do as a student.

Source: Giphy

Don’t let the threat of ‘failure’ or competition hold you back

It is extremely common for teachers and parents alike to get you to work by highlighting the competition you are up against. For me personally, that would only build up unnecessary pressure. Instead, own up your learning and have faith in your preparation. Time really isn’t running by; and we are in no race with anyone. We can take our own sweet time to achieve what we want to even if that means taking a gap year to really prepare for the best colleges in the country or even abroad.

Accept that progress can take time but perseverance counts

You are exposed to a mammoth volume of creative and visual material owing to various digital platforms. This only sets your own bar high for what ‘good work’ is. But realize that you are in your early stages of learning and there is a journey that you need to go through to get where you want. Keep at it and you will get there sooner than you imagine.

Source: Know Your Meme

Remember to have fun

Giving exams, applying to colleges, choosing a career path are all important decisions to make in life. But the beauty about the creative field is that it has plenty of room for fun and play. Delve into this playful world and have fun with things that interest you. It is this playfulness that will probably take you farther in your creative career!

You might not feel comfortable doing a lot of these things, they might not even come across practical to you. But gather the courage towards your first step, even if it’s a baby step, and things will fall in place. We, as humans, tend to go in an auto-pilot mode with our routines which eventually makes us complacent. The onus to change that is on us. So, what are you actively going to change about your high school life?

A practicing visual artist and a passionate educator who founded an academy for art and design education — Uno Lona Academy.