Text by Alejandra Perez, Illustration by Hayley Webber
Our lives are a continuation of stages; we spend our time on this planet waiting for one stage to finalise only to immediately start another. In our endless cycle to grow as a person we’re told that institutions are the way forward; instead of focusing on talent, on what comes naturally or what makes us happy. By law we are required to better ourselves through education, a system that has implied to nurture all kinds of young minds, no matter how they choose to learn. When in fact, sometimes we see people who chose not to continue education in power positions, claiming that their brief stint in school contributed nothing to who they are today or their success. Unfortunately this is a rare instance, so we’re pushed towards the right way for one being the right way for all. Whether this is ignorance or intelligence, you will have to decide.
So, on the path that we’re given to walk down, we see limited options that are presented to us as the only ones. School, college, university and finally a job; all with the purpose of learning how to do something, how to be amazing at the one thing we have wanted to pursue from a very young age. When looking at the situation as it is, that we force children through fear to pick their career path from a select platter of choices, it seems slightly daunting. The age at which we ask them to choose, the restricted experiences they have encountered with these occupations and the un-mandatory understanding that this is what they will do possibly forever if they don’t have the money to quit and follow a new option. But it all seems so far away to us when we’re still daydreaming in classrooms about what our lives will turn out to be, instead of concentrating on excelling in the skills we can use to get ahead. We’re too naïve, too distracted, too unengaged to grasp the importance of what is current in relation to what is coming.
“We don’t trust children enough to tell us the truth about how they grow, but we trust them enough to pick a career, plan their entire life around it before they have even become who they are meant to be.”
And then there is the very real circumstance that school wasn’t the option for you. Unpopular as the view is that educational institutions actually switch children off to learning, it just doesn’t resonate with some people. For many, school is nothing but a dreadful stage; we are forced to take subjects we don’t care about with little practical or vocational learning alongside the theoretical studies. We don’t trust children enough to tell us the truth about how they grow, but we trust them enough to pick a career, plan their entire life around it before they have even become who they are meant to be. Then we blame uninterested kids for absorbing information or expanding their skill-set differently to the majority and of course they become indifferent to the lessons they are pushed to sit through. The impact this has on them is more damaging than not attending school in the first place, because it is then implied that they are simply not good enough, or not intelligent enough to maintain high marks throughout their schooling. It is more often than not that I have encountered people that didn’t pursue further education because they couldn’t take it any longer than what the law imparts. Who would want to remain part of a system that pushed you into a box of rejects?
It’s even worse when you’ve chosen; you’re compelled towards a particular vocation and for whatever reason you don’t stand out from the crowd. You could be set on this one calling and have been since you can remember but that doesn’t seem to matter when you’re middle of the pack. A lot of the time this can be accounted for because you don’t thrive from conventional study and that is the only way forward in this society. When it comes to academic subjects, traditional learning is essential, you have to memorise certain things in order to be able to apply them to real situations. However, creative industries work differently; you are either born with talent or you are not, creativity cannot be taught. Unfortunately, the education system makes us believe otherwise; we are constantly told that without a degree, the chances of getting somewhere in life are minimal: this is not necessarily true. You can know all the ways of setting up a camera, editing an image or even the structure for poetry writing, but you must have an eye for art in order to be able to make it, no matter how many techniques you have engrained in your brain. So, if you have that special talent: congratulations, you are a lucky one. You already have something that is un-teachable, even if it’s something that isn’t understood, or seen to be too eccentric for whatever is current. Hoard that ability; stimulate it with whatever you can. Just keep advancing yourself and your gift until you’re ready to blow people away with what you can do.
I was never allowed to consider a creative career; my family always wanted me to be a doctor and when moving to the UK, I was accepted into college despite not having official GCSEs under the condition that I took subjects that would lead to me studying Medicine at university. As I started year 12, I realised that language was going to be a limitation when taking Chemistry and Biology, I tried to discuss the matter with my tutors but the only middle-ground that we could find was for me to take Psychology instead of Chemistry, as I had already been kicked out from the latter. I fell in love with my new subject, I had always felt like something was not quite right with my head and I was now being shown so many different diagnosis and explanations for certain behaviours that I always questioned in myself.
However, everything changed in me when we began to learn about Learning theories. Ever since coming across the renowned Little Albert experiment- which involves an infant and a crazy psychologist called John B. Watson, who was trying to prove that even fear can be in fact taught- I became obsessed with the topic. I wanted to understand all the different ways in which individuals grasp things, because unlike many educators, I truly believe that not everyone learns in the same way. Whilst doing my reading, I discovered the Holistic Learning theory, which helped me understand so much more about the way in which my brain works. I have always struggled with academic work, it bores me, I leave it to the last minute and doing it feels like an unnecessary chore. However, when it comes to creative output, my brain races at an unbelievable speed- and when I say that I mean I was once told that I looked crazy-eyed whilst choosing designer clothes for an editorial shoot that I was styling. But passion manifests itself in mysterious ways and I’m not about to let other people’s opinions prevent me from going after what I’m skilled at. After years of being reduced to what the schooling structure perceived me as, for not fitting into their standards, I’m ready to prove them wrong.
“You need to take your education into your own hands. It doesn’t just stop when you leave school; you are your intellect, your experience, what you put out into the world. So get out there, drown yourself with encounters, travel if you can afford it, listen to stranger’s stories, seek innovation in nature, follow creatives online; keep your brain constantly fed with brand new information.”
Here is where the Holistic Theory comes to play: “The basic premise of this theory is that the ‘individual personality consists of many elements, specifically the intellect, emotions, the body impulse (or desire), intuition and imagination”, according to Laird (1985) they all require activation if learning is to be more effective. In words that hold more inspiration, you need to take your education into your own hands. It doesn’t just stop when you leave school; you are your intellect, your experience, what you put out into the world. So get out there, drown yourself with encounters, travel if you can afford it, listen to stranger’s stories, seek innovation in nature, follow creatives online; keep your brain constantly fed with brand new information. This will allow you to expand your creativity at its fullest, no matter what stage you are in or what you’ve been told you are. If you educate yourself with emotions, imagination and a desire towards your chosen career path: intellect and intuition will come naturally. Don’t be fooled by the imaginary box mainstream society puts you in; you can leave of your own accord, whenever you choose.
“It is your passion, drive and willingness to do whatever it takes to get there that will be noticed.”
Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you aren’t good enough because you can’t write an essay when you are following a creative path. By all means, if you can do it, go ahead but if not, then know that this does not define your self-worth as an artist. Show them what you can do. It is your passion, drive and willingness to do whatever it takes to get there that will be noticed. This is why I have chosen to show these three remarkable students – Mona, Sophie & Georgia – at different stages of their journey but all incredibly inspiring. After all, this is what Crave magazine is about: young creatives.
BUY ISSUE 01 TO SEE THE WORK OF MONA, SOPHIE & GEORGIA