Creative Advice from Tweens

Creative Advice from Tweens

“I don’t want to be here.”

This was coming at me at 9 in the morning, from a puffy winter coat with a small child hiding inside it. I looked down and tried to convince him:
“You’ll have fun!”

My professor had asked me to assist him in a tour of middle schoolers around Newhouse. My job was simple: take 15 students and their teacher to the Dick Clark studio, and then upstairs to a classroom. The students were angels walking in the halls, only craning their necks to watch SU students in the Cage checking out cameras and equipment. At the studio, the students listened patiently about what broadcasting was, and then sat silently when the presenter asked for volunteers. At first, each student was too nervous to read out loud in front of everyone. Another student didn’t want to be in front of the camera lest the video somehow fall into the hands of her crush, Cole Sprouse. With a little encouragement, each student visited the control room, and eventually, everyone summoned the courage to read off the teleprompter with a real weather script or man the desk with a friend as news anchors.

When the hour was over, everyone wanted to be in broadcasting.

Walking upstairs to my regular classroom, we settled in to hear my professor talk about what advertising was. I pointed out them:
“See, that’s my teacher.”

And by the end of the hour, everyone wanted to do something in advertising.

I’m ten years older than these students, but I do the same thing they do every day. We even share the same occupation on government forms. The biggest difference we have aside from age is that they navigate the world with an inspiring sense of curiosity. I know it’s because they have a childlike carelessness about them. They’d be willing to switch their life plans on the hour as long as whatever came next was more interesting than what came before it. It was enough to make the first student forget that he wasn’t happy with being at Newhouse—or, judging by his enthusiasm for the camera, it may have made him realize that he was where he wanted to be all along.

A number of professors at Newhouse have stressed the importance of curiosity. It’s impossible to think creatively unless you acknowledge the other arts and media around you. Maybe you even need a sense of carelessness to understand that it’s okay to be interested in a category “off-topic.” My acceptance to Newhouse was due to careful planning and hard work that really started in high school. But it’s also true that the most rewarding aspects of life usually include some kind of tradeoff. It can be hard for students as focused and competitive as we are to accept that because we’re the kind of people who would rather do it all. It could be worth it though to give up an ounce of focus to indulge our minds in what interests us.

In the end, that’s what makes us valuable as people, because that indulgence is a true expression and acceptance of who we really are. Allowing yourself that, and finding a place like Newhouse that encourages it, that’s what really makes you happy to be somewhere–that’s what makes you want to stay.

Isabel Drukker

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