Ever find yourself yearning for a break after a tiresome day at work or another dreary day at school? That precious time when you can unwind and immerse yourself in the realm of amusement. Whether it’s scrolling through TikTok, eagerly devouring your favourite novel, or indulging in that highly anticipated Netflix binge, we all have our ways of seeking solace in the creative arts. Yet, despite this universal attraction, I cannot help but wonder why the creative arts continue to be stigmatised and omitted from our education system.

Show Me the Money!

As a Sixth Form student, I have often been urged by my parents and family friends to prioritise traditional academic subjects over creative ones. According to them, it is all about ‘bringing in the money.’ I remember how my mum, ever since I was little, would encourage me to become a lawyer because of my argumentative nature — which I at first saw as a compliment; ‘Oh, mum thinks I’m really smart,’ or ‘If she believes I can do it, why not go for it?’

Undoubtedly, my early socialisation led me to believe that securing a job with a high income was more important than pursuing a career I had any passion for. However, this view feels extremely outdated. Ironically, a 2023 City Report reveals that one in five jobs are associated with the creative economy. The same report shows that pre-pandemic, the creative industries contributed 55 billion pounds to the economy, accounting for 11.5 per cent of the capital’s economic output. Together with findings from a report by City Hall, the UK’s creative industries have collectively outperformed the UK economy as a whole.

Creativity Nurtures Innovation

Surely then the education system should be a nurturing environment, fostering artistic expression and innovative ideas? Unfortunately, many students like me are subjected to brutal forms of standardised testing that stifle our creativity and suppress our individuality. Picture this: instead of encouraging students to explore their passions and unique talents, we are confined to a rigid curriculum that leaves little room for self-expression. Not only does this approach hamper our creativity, but it also takes a toll on our mental well-being.

To me, there is a prevalent misconception that creativity solely resides with the creative arts. While that connection is the most apparent, we often overlook the fact that individuals such as Benjamin Franklin, who made the ground-breaking discovery of electricity and Tim Berners-Lee who revolutionised the world with the creation of the internet, were driven by their creative minds. They took their dreams, which others deemed impossible, and turned them into reality — highlighting the immense potential of creativity to be applicable in different fields. It is no secret that the system often places a heavy emphasis on structured right or wrong answers. This method inadvertently stifles a student’s ability to think outside the box and explore innovative solutions. How can young minds go above and beyond when their education is primarily focused on conforming to rigid standards?

A Creative Mind Drives Change

In today’s rapidly evolving economy, simply working hard and obtaining a university degree is not enough to guarantee success. The job market has become fiercely competitive, with employers seeking individuals who possess a combination of skills, experience, and adaptability. This is where young creative minds have a unique advantage. By understanding the changing landscape and exploring different tools, technologies, and opportunities, we can enhance our skills and stand out from the crowd. By encouraging students to think creatively, explore diverse perspectives, and embrace innovation, we can help foster a generation of individuals who are not only well-prepared for the challenges of the future but also capable of driving meaningful change.

I intend to make my mark through my creative writing. Rediscovering my love for reading with the popular book series A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, ignited my passion for storytelling (and I’m impatiently waiting for the TV series to drop!) I found that flicking through pages of different stories, other worlds, and reading about complex characters reminded me of the countless untold stories out there. I’m diving into gothic literature in my English course and have recently taken an interest in poetry and playwriting. Poets like Rupi Kaur and Alicia Cook inspire me to experiment and convey messages in unconventional ways. Playwriting lets me delve into intricate characters that resonate with others. Despite my growth, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of my potential.

Creativity isn’t limited to the arts. Silly ideas can turn into something amazing. Inspiration can arise from the most unexpected places. No young person should ever be robbed of such a transformative and invaluable experience. Because after all, creativity is meant for everyone.

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