Leaving room in your schedule for creativity produces surprising benefits

With AP testing in its final stretch and finals just around the corner, it is easy to focus your energy and reflect on the traditional academic classes that you have taken this year. But with our annual Fine Arts Fair coming up this Saturday, May 18, Metea’s art students take this time to reflect on the positive impact that their creative classes have had on their school year.

In the competitive district that we attend, it is often easy to get caught up in stacking our schedules full of rigorous classes. Whether it is to keep up with our talented classmates with the hope of applying to competitive colleges, to prepare for our aspiring and challenging post-college careers, or just help give our GPA a boost with the value of an honors A, we feel the pressure to take on challenging courses.

When planning our schedules for the upcoming years, it can often feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to relax or exercise our creative side. As a graduating senior, I can honestly say that one of the best decisions I made in my time at Metea was intentionally leaving time in my senior year to take the electives that had always intrigued me.

To be able to take a class for the sake of yourself- not just for your future self- is an amazing investment. Giving yourself an opportunity to be able to reflect, challenge yourself, learn something new, and express yourself is an incredibly beneficial addition to your day. Even if you don’t consider yourself traditionally “artistic”, passing and enjoying one of Metea’s numerous art classes is an amazing and obtainable opportunity. What classes in your schedule right now are there for you to take time to reflect and take time to do something truly enjoyable?

With mottos like “Everything Matters” constantly scaring us into thinking that a single mistake or missed opportunity will follow you into your post-high school plans, it is easy to avoid taking classes simply because you know you would enjoy them during your time in them. It feels almost selfish wanting to have fun or time to yourself to destress in the day. It can feel like taking an art class is a missed opportunity for an extra AP class that could offer a GPA boost, or a resume-boosting more career-oriented elective. Frankly, when balancing out our options for future schedules, we tend to prioritize what will look best on paper in the future, not what will be a beneficial investment for the present.

But the positive benefits of exercising your creative side prove to be just as beneficial to your resume, and more importantly, your mental health. Obviously, if you don’t see yourself pursuing the arts professionally after high school you don’t have to create a schedule full of classes in the arts, but you should still try being a little selfish with how you plan your upcoming years at Metea. Saving one or two periods a year for a class that will push you to explore your creative side will not be something that you regret.

In one of the most prestigious universities in America, art is considered a medicine, form of therapy, and even a form of prevention against cognitive impairment.

“Creative activities can relieve stress, aid communication, and help arrest cognitive decline” states Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Health Publishing delves into the benefits of daily creative activity in hospitals, and how people who engaged in daily creative activity like painting or drawing “had a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment than did those who read books”.

Besides providing surprising health benefits, daily creative activity is an enjoyable break in the middle of our busy schedules. Even though lunch is commonly appreciated as a personal “relax time”, we all know that there are days we end up using it more as a study hall period than a personal reflection opportunity.

“I love sewing because it’s a good break in my day and hanging out with the friends that I have met through the class helps me feel less stressed” Metea freshmen and Apparel Construction student Sona Cherian said.

As a graduating senior pursuing a non creative and competitive business field, I still think my greatest piece of advice for the underclassmen of Metea is to remember to set aside time for yourself and your personal interests. Although sometimes it may feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done and still have time to enjoy yourself, I push you to try to be a little more selfish when planning for your future schedules and consider exploring your creative side.