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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCT chapter.

Tips to unlock your inner artist

Picture this: it’s a sunny Tuesday afternoon on campus and I’ve just had lunch with a friend when we decide to get some much-needed studying in. She tells me she has a favourite spot in one of the buildings that belong to the science faculty, a quiet and quirky room filled with plant specimens and dried flowers, so naturally I agree to come with her. Everything is going fine until we reach the said building (on the foreign right-hand side of campus), and she tells me she’s going to have to sneak me in. When I ask why, she laughs and gestures at me in my pink jeans and thrifted leopard-print scarf- “Because you are so obviously a humanities student!”

If this kind of humanities versus sciences divide sounds vaguely familiar to you, or even humanities versus any other faculty, you’re not alone. I’m a humanities girlie, and a proud one at that. But over the course of my degree, I can’t help but notice the weird perceptions that are associated with my humble BA degree. Namely, that the arts and being creative in general are reserved for those studying on the left-hand side (and ‘left-brain’ side) of campus. A penchant for poetry or a love for jazz? Must be humanities. Vintage sunglasses or hand-poked tattoos? Could never be a med student. And so on and so forth, all this rubbish is said, when in reality, living a creative life is not just for humanities students – it is for anyone and everyone! So here are some tips on how to get more in tune with your inner artist (and yes, you can do this and still be a scientist/doctor/lawyer/entrepreneur/whatever else your heart desires).

Morning pages

This practice was coined by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way (1994), a creativity coach who teaches people of all ages and professions to live more artistically. Morning pages are three pages of writing that you do first thing every morning before you do anything else. Think of them as a stream of consciousness that allows you to get all the gunk out of your head, so you have space for more interesting and fun (or artsy) ideas. And no, you do not have to be a writer to benefit from morning pages – you just need a pen, some paper, and some curiosity!

Get outside and get walking

Okay, hear me out; I know you’re tired of hearing about the benefits of being outdoors and exercising. But turns out that a simple meandering stroll can not only help clear your head but boost your creativity! Going for a walk, even if it’s as simple as a pop down to the park or a wander through the forest, not only offers more opportunities to spot inspiration (think a funky colourful flower or the shape of the clouds), but the very act of walking boosts creative thinking.

Read more, look more, and listen more

Books, art, and music baby! Even the very act of engaging with other people’s creative works helps to boost your own creativity. Reading gets the imagination going, looking at art can inspire innovation, and listening to music can boost productivity. These are all easy and accessible ways to get involved in the world of the arts.

Art is not just for those who have a BA degree. Art can be a part of anyone’s life. We all have some form of creativity in us, and we owe it to ourselves and others to unleash it and be a little more playful. As Helena Bonham Carter once said, “I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk…”

I am 20 years old, and currently doing a BA with majors in English and French Literature. I write poetry and short stories. I am passionate about connecting people and producing authentic, raw, and thought-provoking work, while exploring Gen Z culture. My personal interest include anything ocean related, as well as running and yoga. I enjoy taking photographs (especially when it ties in with my written work). I am also an avid traveler. I have a strong belief in the kindness, art, and potential of our generation when we are giving the tools and space to create - and I aim to participate and contribute to that space.