MILOSZ KOWAL ’18
A lack of resources and outlets for creativity is fostering depression and anxiety amongst Trinity students. It has been shown that creativity is a force for good when it comes to helping relieve stress and anxiety, and that creativity promotes feelings of well-being. The problem is that Trinity does not have nearly as many resources as it should. The worse part is that in many cases (musicians, engineers, etc) the resources exist, they are just inaccessible. For example, only film majors have access to the film house, and only film seniors who are working on a thesis have access to the one good camera in that film house. Only those in engineering classes have access to the woodshop, not to mention the extreme limitations of anything associated with photography, my domain of choice.
Many students don’t want to enroll in the classes, because they don’t want to have the structure associated with being in a curriculum, as well as the stress of having to work for a grade. Also, some design classes have prerequisites that students who are interested in particular fields don’t have the care to fulfill, which further limits their access to these resources.
The lack of access to these resources, combined with the unwieldy restrictions for access, can further exasperate the students. For example, students only have access to the dark room if they’re taking a film or photography class. So, the only time a student interested in the field would be able to creatively express themselves would involve jumping through hoops for Professor Delano, which isn’t much expression at all.
Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, likens artistic endeavors with the work of God, in the sense that it is a means of “creating order from chaos.” When engaging in creative acts, we attempt to create order from the chaos of our own lives. When the resources to perform such a Herculean task are withheld from us, then the chaos continues to accumulate within us, which manifests itself in bitterness, anxiety, and depression. Occasionally, this leads to extreme outbursts, such as violence (in the case of the Columbine shooters) or suicide (in the case of my former classmate from high school). There is also reason to suspect that this lack of opportunities for creative expression is driving students to transfer out of Trinity. A few of my friends, myself included, have either transferred, applied to transfer, or just expressed general frustration at a lack of ability to simply… do. This is made even more infuriating by the fact that other colleges, such as Virginia Tech, not only allow students to use facilities for personal projects, they encourage it.
Simply opening the floodgates and allowing any students to use the woodshop willy-nilly is not the solution that the College should take. The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, my high school, allows students to use broadcast-grade film equipment as long as the student passes a set of rigorous tests that showcases skill and responsibility in using the equipment. Then, the student is allowed to sign out the equipment for a set period of time, and is responsible for any damages done to the gear. It is a brilliantly simple solution that allows students that are serious about expressing their creativity to get access to the tools and help they need to let their imaginations soar.
Trinity is a lonely place. Giving qualified students access to locations such as the film house or the woodshop would make it just that much less lonely. It would create a whole slew of clubs that would bring people together and actually contribute to Trinity and to the student body as a whole.
MILOSZ KOWAL ’18