Art: More Likely to Help You Pass Your Classes Than Your Phone

Joshua Collins, Staff Writer

Art is no longer an extra-circular, but a habit that anyone can pick up anywhere to help memorize nearly anything.

Most students these days are put into fine and performing arts classes for the credits and, in turn, get nothing from it due to carelessness. Others put it in their schedule for the fun of it, and a small group of those ‘others’ fill their schedules to the brim with any and all passions in the arts. A study at George Mason University found that taking art classes is linked to doing well academically in the future, “when all variables are accounted for, enrolling in the arts seems to be linked to better academic performance, in the same year and later years.”

Doodling and sketching on your notes or in a sketchbook are proven to help you memorize what you are learning at the time. Your brain makes a connection between image and word, and helps create a stronger bond using association. In an article by Taylor Dafoe of ArtNet News, Dafoe states, “whereas other mnemonic devices engage one skill, drawing engages multiple: spatial, visual, and motor.”

As a senior here at Auburn High School, I have been taking art classes every semester since freshman year, which has encouraged me to express myself and speak out. I have better connections with people than I ever thought I would have if I sat down and stayed quiet. Being able to take out all of my stress into an art piece or a play has made assignments in other classes easier. This semester, my final semester here at AHS, I only need to pass one class in order to graduate. Therefore, I am given the free time that so many students want. My first three years were filled with classes to get credits I needed to graduate, but left one block for an art class, from drawing to theatre.

Well, can I use my phone? What if I color on a coloring book app during class? It’s not the same thing. “Not surprisingly, the evidence suggests that cell phones generally are a distraction for students,” a collection of studies produced by Harvard University explained, “students themselves realize that cell phone usage does not promote learning.” 

The other main question about this idea is: what if I’m not good at art? What if I hate everything I draw? A tip I have personally given to the Drawing 2 kids that I peer tutor for is this: if you hate it, scribble it and crumple it up. Start again. If you complain that you aren’t talented, it is important to know that everyone starts somewhere. With art, yes, it will feel like you are at a disadvantage and the worst at it, but that is remnants of the influence of social media on a young and still developing brain.

I leave you with a quote by Vincent Van Gogh, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”