Creativity, College, and TED


I’m not good at school.  Therefore, I don’t like school.  It’s a simple correlation, really.  At least that’s what I’ve learned in places with “school” in the title.  I think.

Throughout my education, I’ve worn many caps: the ambivalent, the eager-to-please, the baseball, you name it.  The one that never fit very well was the thinking cap.  I’ve spent years wondering why that is, and only lately have I realized the answer.

I don’t think like other people.  I don’t want to think like them, either.

Why is that?  Because for my whole education experience, and particularly the last three and a half years since I’ve been in college, the word I’ve probably heard most is “no.”  Well, probably “the,” but who counts articles?  Anyway, I’ve either been not good enough, not smart enough, nor did people like me, doggonnit.

The preceding sentence may mostly be a joke, but it’s got one of those nuggets of truth with which I’m so enamored.  The ones that are “not well developed,” (skeptically) “interesting,” “not written academically,” or either “too personal” or “not personal enough.”  These are all things I’ve either been told by professors or had written on my papers.

I try playing the game.  You know the one.  It’s the game of trying to figure out exactly what the professor wants and exploiting that for an A.  Most often I am wrong.  It gets frustrating.

This frustration has led me to, pardon my French, do whatever the fuck I want.  Take a look at last week’s post to see what I mean.  I didn’t follow the rules of my assignment but did something I’d personally be more interested in reading.  And my professor commended me on my creativity.  And the morning after I finished writing that, seeing it up on the website made me feel like a million bucks.  I’ve never felt proud of a school assignment like that.  The pride stemmed from throwing convention out the window and doing something my way for once.  It was nice.

My creativity probably isn’t anywhere near the level of others’.  Hell, it’s not even on par with some of my friends.  I realize that.  I can live with it.  But what I can’t live with is being forced to stifle my creativity for the sake of someone else’s sense of success.  That being, college leads to job, job leads to money, money leads to Fantasyland Happy Place.  There are reasons why I drink.

I don’t particularly care about those things, especially not the having sex with and subsequently murdering hookers part.  And if there is one thing I want you to glean from this post, it’s that a college degree automatically leads to having sex with and murdering prostitutes (for those who don’t get my obscure pictures, the Christian Bale one is from American Psycho).  What I do care about is entertaining people, and it’s a skill I have.  However, it’s not a skill that’s well respected in academia.

That respect, Sir Ken Robinson, an education and creativity expert, agrees is desperately needed in today’s school systems.  His February, 2006, talk at TED was what inspired this pretentious, whiny post in the first place.  But hey, you take the inspiration as it comes, right?  So let me get out of the way and allow Robinson to inspire you.

P.S. If the video doesn’t play, click on the hyperlink in the previous paragraph.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Creativity, College, and TED

  1. Max

    My good man, we all knew you thought differently when you wrote “Jay-Z Penny”.

    Some of the finest minds don’t think like the rest of the sheep. I know my brain fires in an odd way. I don’t see myself as so much going along with the societal want but that sometimes a necessary skill is the ability and hustle to “play the game”, hop through the hoops, and then use that to get what you want/need.

    Just my two cents.

  2. If your idea of fantasyland is a McDonalds playplace, we’re set.

    • That link is awesome. The only difference between those people and me, though, is my willingness to admit my laziness. After all, I’m typing this reply in my pajamas at 5:53 p.m. after eating a meal cooked for me by my mother, and following a mid-afternoon nap.

  3. Nice Video link. I have been subscribed to the ted website for quite some time now. They always have some really thought provoking speakers. Thanks for sharing mate.

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