Creativity in Academia: How Creative Pursuits Make Us Better Students


Photo of cast members in the original production of Morgan Champine’s play “Corralis” at Murray High School in 2022. Costumes by Morgan Champine. (Courtesy Morgan Champine)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


Academia is often seen as the most important part of a student’s day. Morgan Champine, an artist, writer and costume designer majoring in English at the U, believes that creativity makes us better students.

Making Creativity Accessible in Academia

There are numerous benefits to creativity and making time for hobbies in college. An article by Utah State University’s Extension Mental Health Education program showed how taking breaks and delegating tasks to make time for hobbies throughout the week improved mental health and stress among other benefits.

For a student like Champine who dedicates themself to numerous creative pursuits, such as writing podcast scripts, plays, novels, poems, doing art and even making costumes for theatrical productions, it can be beneficial to work creativity into routines that already exist and occupy a fair amount of time.

“I have ADHD so multitasking is something that keeps me paying attention in class,” Champine said “So oftentimes I will write in class while I have my computer out and I’m listening to a lecture or participating in a Socratic seminar. I have about an hour between classes on Mondays and Wednesdays so I’ll try and write then, and then it’s after I finish my homework if I haven’t gotten to it at some other point in that day.” 

Champine points out several important aspects of working creativity into academic life and the responsibilities associated with it. Their consideration of disabilities and different learning strategies that incorporate creativity into studying to improve focus is often deemed as multitasking that takes away focus on the information being shared during class. 

But what if creativity can fight off burnout and keep students motivated?

“I think that creative pursuits make us better students,” Champine said. “I think that by allowing ourselves to pursue something creatively we keep up energy for our studies. Because if everything is study, study, study all the time, no matter how passionate you are about something, burnout comes when you’re that way. But when you’re working in things that you really love and you’re really passionate about you can find a way to kind of balance your academia. And maybe academia makes you happy too — but I also think that everyone can benefit from taking a break and doing art sometimes.”

Having The Desire to Create

Whether it’s art, crochet, writing or costuming, there are benefits for students in creating during a busy and stressful academic life. Champine stresses that academia is important but that creation is also vital. They balance a course load with work and still make time for their hobbies, but Champine also advocates for disabled creatives to feel comfortable listening to what their bodies and minds need without the pressure to produce something creative.

“I think it’s important for people to give themselves leeway too, in terms of accessibility and things like that,” Champine said. “I think that creators also need to understand that it’s okay if sometimes they have a disability that gets in the way of them creating and that it doesn’t make them any lesser. That having the desire to create is just as important as creating itself.”


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