It is unrealistic to assume that all college students will go on to be entrepreneurs, changemakers, or innovators, in the traditional and larger senses of the words. We can hold this dismal view and use our time at college to work solely for the purpose of grades or admission to graduate school, or we can strive for something different.
It seems that after all the papers, exams, and assignments we are left feeling drained of any potential to do more. This is a shame, considering college campuses are some of the most resource rich, creative, and inspiring places to learn about oneself and find hidden potential. Every student has the capability to be their own entrepreneur or changemaker or innovator, and without the burdens of full immersion into the so-called “real” world, college is arguably the best time to do so. There needs to be more focus on creating. This doesn’t have to mean heading a start up or creating an app, but rather, exploring ourselves and our passions and tapping into our own unique potential. For me, this means writing for pleasure. For others, it could mean utilizing campus resources to record that song and upload it to Soundcloud. It could mean finding a passion for yoga and getting certified to teach at a local studio, or creating an original clothing brand.
What is my point? That each of us have a personal duty to our own creative potential. Without taking the time to find it, we are simply wasting it.
I reached out to several other undergraduate Tulane students who, during their time here, found their own unique talents:
Name: TJ Washington
About his Music: “I just started really recording last year, and I make primarily hip hop and RnB, with a heavy jazz influence. My first EP will be dropping pretty soon, and I am also working on a collaboration with another Tulane student which will be out on Spotify shortly.”
Life Impact: “Music has been apart of my life since I was a child; my father makes a living as a musician and has raised four kids doing so. Being that I’m from New Orleans, music is ingrained in me, and despite not going to school for music, I always make time to make it. It’s the best kind of outlet there is, especially for a college student. In the college world, everything has a format you have to abide by, even your day to day schedule. Music is the perfect outlet because you don’t have to follow a format or a structure; you have creative freedom. It doesn’t matter whether or not people like it either, it only matters whether you like it. I can spend hours and hours on music, getting rid of built up tension from the week. It puts me in my own world, and makes me forget about everything going on. Aside from that, I meet and connect with new people often because of my music, and I have gained a lot of long term relationships as a result. All in all, music is my sanctuary.”
Name: Ella Lambert
Creator of GameDayBooty
About her company: “Last year I created a custom college spirit wear company called GameDayBooty. I make jean shorts, jean jackets, and other denim apparel, with hand painted college logos and designs, as well as patches and stitching.”
Life impact: “I have to schedule GameDayBooty into my daily life the same way I do homework or classes to make sure I can get out all the orders on time. It has definitely opened my eyes to how much goes into running a business, even one as simple as mine. Every day I have to check the Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Etsy accounts, message back customers, update information, post pictures, and manage client orders. I’ve learned a lot about promotion and managing social media, and I hope to have an internship this summer working in a similar field. I’ve also made connections here at Tulane by selling my product to other students on campus, and it’s always exciting to see someone wearing something I made.”
See more on:
Name: Alec Feldman
Face of the @walls.and.iced.coffee Instagram
About his Instagram: “One year ago I created an Instagram account that features photos of me drinking iced coffee from different coffees shops against different walls/backgrounds.”
Life Impact: “Since starting @walls.and.iced.coffee, I have tried countless iced coffee drinks as well as food from various coffee shops and restaurants around both the country and the world. My account has pushed me to explore new environments and cities in ways I would not have previously done. I have built strong personal relationships with different coffee shops, and have also worked with multiple brands and agencies that appeal to my account’s focus on fashion and food/coffee. I have collaborated with companies like Jord Watches and Nora NYC Sunglasses boutique to advertise their brand, as well as been contacted by agencies like Social New York.”
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Name: Hanna Leace
Creator of Off The Porch Designs (OTP Designs)
About her Brand: “OTP is an original and custom designed t-shirt brand that I started at the beginning of my freshmen year. It features various zombified depictions of famous musicians, athletes, historical figures, TV characters and more.”
Life Impact: “OTP has connected me to so many new people, and also strengthened my existing relationships. While starting a business, especially in college, can be extremely hard, the support of my friends has been incredible. Not only that but they’ve brought out their own creative talents such as modeling and photography to help me promote my brand and build my social media presence.”
See more on:
Instagram: @offtheporchdesigns and offtheporchdesigns.com
Names: Jack Wood, Ben Johnson, Alex Leograndis, Alex Mansour
Creators of The Reward Game
About Their Creation: “The Reward Game is an educational board game geared toward Middle School students in order to improve financial literacy and awareness, and we are currently in the process of creating and launching our first product.”
Life Impact: “This process of developing and launching this financial literacy initiative from the ground up has been a demanding and incredibly rewarding experience thus far. Our coursework related to economics, political economy, finance, and social work has been incredibly useful as this initiative takes shape through the semester, and it feels good to apply what we’re studying to a new and innovative creative outlet. We have also found so much support and built amazing connections both on and off campus by working with our peers and with New Orleans professionals. The most impactful part so far has definitely been our conversations with those we hope to work with and those we hope to serve and positively impact.”
The value of utilizing creative potential in college goes beyond that of the creation alone. In today’s relentlessly competitive culture, we focus so much on getting into college and not enough on flourishing once we get here. On an immediate level, finding a creative outlet can reduce stress levels, boost positivity and daily productivity, and bring new perspectives to previously mundane schoolwork. Further, it seems pursuing one’s creative passions might actually be the key to discovering a career that brings lasting happiness and creates meaningful change. The value of creativity should never be excused or forgotten, whether it’s running an Instagram page, a charity pursuit, or designing a clothing brand – especially during these four fleeting years we have in college.