The Creative You: Finding Your Own Way
Stephanie Mojica

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I consider myself a creative person.

And yet, as I recall standing in line for my college course registration for the first time, I distinctly recall the feeling that I was going to have a hard time being "creative" in these new circumstances. As a new student at Christopher Newport University, I had to register a few weeks before classes actually started, and I soon realized that the returning students had already grabbed up all of my first-choice classes, the ones I had been interested in right away, like prose writing, advanced writing workshop, and fiction writing. In fact, the only writing-intensive course left open at all was news writing, which, truthfully, did not thrill me at first. It didn't sound "creative" enough to me. In fact, none of my classes really sounded "creative" enough.

In subsequent weeks as a new student, however, although I soon discovered that I wasn't comletely wrong in this initial assumption, neither was I proved completely right. What I learned is that with all my classes - as with anything in life - the "creativity" part is up to me.

Altogether in my first semester I signed up for theatre, Latin, news writing, and juvenile deliquency. This first course load disappointed me in many ways because I felt the classes did not "stimulate" me as much as I had anticipated. Theatre was an interesting enough course, and I even liked news writing, but I was surprised by how few papers we wrote in class. I wished there had been more. Most students dread papers, but personally I have always enjoyed exploring my creative side through essays, articles, even term papers. You see, I learned early on that for me at least, writing is the one way to keep my interest - and thus my "creativity" - alive.

It started back in high school. Whenever my mind drifted from a lecture in high school, I would turn my attention to writing poems and articles at my desk - while the teacher continued to speak. Sometimes I wrote up to eight poems in one class period. It was not because I was not generally interested in the class, I simply found it frustrating when class periods were spent needlessly reviewing old work for those who didn't do the assignments rather than taking up new material, which might have kept me my attention. For me, at least, it was a very effective way of keeping myself intellectually stimulated when I might not have been otherwise.

And then, even in college, I found I couldn't help but return to this old habit of mine during tedious moments in class. Computer Science, for example, frequently found me with pen in hand. I wrote more than a few poems in World Civilization, too. Feature writing was pretty safe, though, for I liked that class. And as Crisis and Culture was an online class, I obviously didn't do much writing there - but sometimes I did catch myself writing e-mail to myself with new poems.

Even World Civilization, however, which was a somewhat boring class for me, because I do not enjoy history as much as others, had its moments. When it came to writing a four- page paper on a historical figure - that, I thought, sounded intriguing. While my classmates treated the World Civilization paper assignments like viruses, I found I actually enjoyed writing them. I wrote about what makes humans happy and unhappy and about how Elizabeth I was anything but "Good Queen Bess". And the writing requirements saved my Crisis and Culture class for me, too. It was hard to be bored when we were required to post messages weekly concerning the readings and our opinions (it was an online class).

Still, sadly, I have not been able to do as much creative writing overall in college as I did in high school. After all, I was also active in high school. I belonged to clubs then, too, and also attended community college four nights a week. At times I realize that I have difficulty writing poems that used to come to me so easily when I was younger. I worry sometimes that the stress and demands of college are detracting from my ability to be creative. I am a full-time student, work part-time, am involved in my school newspaper and work as a copy editor for and contributor to Moondance. My situation leaves me with very little time to be "creative", which for me means to write.

Fortunately, as a returning student this coming academic year, I have a little more choice in my schedule. My plans so far are to take playwriting, editing and desktop publishing, medical ethics, and existentialism. I am also looking forward to what I hope will be an exciting internship for a local daily newspaper.

What I have learned is that while sometimes we are given the time and opportunity to be creative - just as often we find ourselves in situations when we are not. And that's when it becomes up to you to find your own way. It is hard work sometimes, and the solution is not always obvious, but the great thing is that it is possible.

Stephanie Mojica is a junior at Christopher Newport University and a resident of Hampton, VA. She is studying journalism and philosophy and hopes to move to the San Francisco Bay Area upon graduation to pursue a career in newspaper journalism. Her interests include writing, reading New Age and poetry books, music, philosophy, and computers.

email Stephanie at:

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