Imagine an astrophysics major taking a creative writing course. It may be hard to picture it, but surprisingly and often enough, this sort of scenario exists! It’s not uncommon for students to have some profound interest in artistic expression, even if their field of study belongs outside of Humanities and Social Sciences academia. As an animal science major who writes recreationally, I am still amazed by the amount of people that are just like me — enjoying the arts and wanting to be a part of it.
When I first enrolled in the Fiction Writing course, I expected the class to be filled with English majors. Oddly enough, you’ll find creativity in people you least expect! I found out that there are engineering, biology, and computer science majors taking the same class!
There was so much diversity in the class and I wanted to know what made my peers partake in creating literature. I wanted to explore how their sense of self has changed as a result of taking this class while going through the exercise of creative writing. To draw a comparison between how the class view their relationship to creativity before and after the course, I compiled questions into a survey that will assess their self-evaluation as a creative person.
Their responses are as followed, correspondent to the format below:
Student No., Major (minor, if applicable)
Question 1: Did you see yourself as a creative person before taking the Fiction Writing course? Why or why not?
Question 2: Do you see yourself as a creative person now? Why or why not?
Question 3: What made you decide to take ENG 288? What have you benefited from taking this course?
Student 1, Biological Sciences major (Physics minor)
Q1: Yes; I love to find ideas that are pushing boundaries in the current world. I just have a hard time implementing them. I love the way people’s minds work and so I try to make my own work uniquely.
Q2: Yes; I have now began to implement my creative ideas on paper and have received positive reviews which only promote my creativity.
Q3: I had to fulfill a graduation credit. It has allowed me to better articulate myself.
Student 2, Mechanical Engineering major
Q1: Yes; I’ve always liked to read and, before I started creative writing, I enjoyed painting.
Q2: Yes; I saw myself as one before.
Q3: I’ve always needed a deadline to work and the course has forced me to practice my writing.
Student 3, Anthropology major (English minor)
Q1: Yes; I’ve been writing for a long time, as a hobby!
Q2: Yes; I write and create fiction for fun on a regular basis. I also draw.
Q3: I wanted to try to enhance my writing abilities, to get outside my own head about my own abilities and get some input from other people.
Student 4, Education major
Q1: No; I don’t really have any creative hobbies and I don’t think I’m especially talented at any kind of art or creative expression. I think I can problem-solve in a creative way and I am good at thinking outside the box intellectually, but that’s about it.
Q2: Yes; Only a slightly creative person. I suppose I would have to attribute my changed perception to the short story we wrote for class and the feedback I got in workshop. I honestly thought it was a terrible story and that the class would hate it but it seemed to be well-received which was a very pleasant surprise to me.
Q3: I enrolled in ENG 288 because I have taken a couple other creative writing classes – basically because I enjoy them – and I wanted the chance to explore the fiction genre a little more in depth.
Student 5, English major/Education concentration (Linguistics and Spanish minors)
Q1: No; Although I enjoy looking at other people’s creativity (eg going to plays, movies, orchestras, concerts, museums, etc.), I never thought of myself as personally capable of creating my own things.
Q2: Yes; The creative writing class helped me unleash my creativity, partly because I had to. I have a habit of putting off fun and creative things (like practicing my violin) because I feel that I need to focus on more “important” things like school, work, or house chores. Because fiction writing was required for my class, I found time to be creative.
Q3: I’ve wanted to take a creative writing course for a few semesters now, but haven’t had room in my schedule. I wanted to take this class because I thought it would be fun and interesting and because it would make me explore my creative abilities. The class ended up being a stress-reliever for me. It was a place where I could get lost in my own creative ideas and the ideas of others, which I normally wouldn’t make time for.
Student 6, Human Biology major (Spanish minor)
Q1: Yes; I draw and enjoy visual arts, I also enjoy writing and creating stories. I’m involved with music and dance and other mediums of self expression.
Q2: Yes; Same reasons
Q3: I wanted to take a Creative Writing class where I could improve my own writing. I’m more conscious of writing techniques as I write and read now for sure. I also have gotten constructive criticism on my writing and been able to improve a lot based on that.