High school vs. University. Everybody knows that the expectations that are placed on students are far greater than we are used to, and they silently creep up on us, attacking without warning. High school guided us and it essentially took us by the hand through every assignment and test and rarely released its grip. Personally, I found this challenging. I wanted to have the freedom to express myself through writing, however I was continuously trapped in a small, enclosed room labeled the ‘five paragraph essay’ where each sentence was mapped out for me. Creativity was frowned upon when it came to essays – never change the formula – yet our teachers still expected us to write a brilliant, ‘never written before’ paper for them. However, as a young high school student, I still believed that learning the equations and following each and every guideline would be beneficial to me when I continued my journey as a student and moved on to university. What was conveniently not mentioned to any of us, was that should we submit to our professor in the future, a five paragraph essay, it most likely would not be what they were looking for.
So for me, I started to wonder, why on earth are we being forced to write so many papers that really are not going to help us out in the long run? We could have been learning how to appropriately cite our work so we don’t get sued, taught how to properly and efficiently take notes or even how to organize our time.
This being said, as a high school student, I adored writing. I still do! While my peers moaned and groaned about having to write essays and papers, I embraced the challenge to compose a piece of writing that the teacher had not seen before (a huge challenge to say the least). Essays? I knew how to make them stand out. Short stories? Yes please! Poems? Not so much, but the idea of combining different words to discover how they flow, rhyme and come together intrigued me to no end.
This is how I saw English class all throughout high school. Usually, it was my favourite class to attend, and I always began and finished these assignments primarily over other homework simply because I yearned to submit nothing less than my best work. Science homework and math studying would get pushed aside; nothing intrigued me more than the art of expressing oneself through a mixture of different words and letters. I never saw a problem with the intense and specific instructions that were given on a daily basis until one day when I came to the conclusion that writing for school was not as rewarding as I found it when I wrote simply for myself. The set rules continued to multiply until I came to another realization of the stress that was constantly weighing me down. Ensuring that each step was precisely followed to the point where we would virtually only create half of an assignment due to the strict instructions did not agree with me. I was writing only what was expected of me, not what I wanted to write. My creativity scale shrunk as I began to feel like I was simply putting words on a piece of paper.
I like to compare stringing together words and letters which conceive a piece of writing to building and layering musical notes together. Of course, they are extremely different from one another, but in another sense, it is exactly the same. While authors follow the rules of grammar, and sentence structure, composers follow the laws of theory and harmony. When these regulations are broken, a silent but collective hush can be felt from the crowd, unsure of what to do with the strange grammatical errors or unpremeditated clash of a tri-tone that sound like a kitten dashing across a piano keyboard… These techniques are not for everyone, and while I can’t say that I enjoy listening to music that goes against the fundamental ideas of basic harmony, it never ceases to amaze me.
In this course, I hope to further advance not only my love for creative writing, but to see just how far I can stretch my current limitations. Going above and beyond a comfort zone can be intimidating for anyone, nevertheless I am confident that beginning this new journey will open up many doors for the future, and give me numerous opportunities to present emotions and the passion that I have for writing. I wish to break away the restrictions that I have placed on myself that cause me to cower away. But most importantly, I hope to find my writing identity and remain continuously satisfied with it.