[Create 101] ⚡ How to Find Creative Mentorship, Part II
🤗 Meeting My New Creative Mentors
After going through the five steps of finding creative mentors last week, let’s get into the most exciting part for me - which was actually meeting my new creative mentors, Alicia Wang and Samantha Lau.
I want to share some of our insights both so you can understand the value of reaching out to creative peers, and so you can learn from two wonderful people in the Cornell Creatives community.
I personally learned so much from both Alicia and Samantha, and I left both coffee chats feeling more connected and understood.
⚡ My First Chat with Alicia
Alicia is a senior majoring in Computer Science in the College of Engineering. Even though I’m a Government major in Arts and Sciences, I found that our stories as creators aligned.
A self-taught artist, Alicia has been drawing since a young age and is now a lead graphic designer for the Cornell Daily Sun. But going into college, she faced the same struggle I am currently facing: finding time for art and learning to prioritize it.
“Sometimes, weeks go by and I haven’t done anything at all because I'm so busy. So I'm like, am I even an artist? Do I get to say that anymore?”
We also talked about the lack of motivation we both faced over the past few months - but she offered me a new, interesting perspective:
“I think a big part about doing art or doing anything creative in college is not necessarily having motivation to do it, but having discipline to do it.”
The Cornell Daily Sun gave her more of a set schedule to focus on art. She explained that by being provided with prompts, it’s easier to actually spend time to focus on creating, while also feeling like you’re working for a bigger purpose.
When I asked her how she feels about posting her art online, outside of the Daily Sun, she explained to me the drawbacks she sees in posting her work on social media, giving me a new perspective on something I think we all feel pressured to do.
“I think one of the big drawbacks of engaging in a community of artists is that feeling of lagging behind. If you follow artists online, you’re exposed to literally the best of the best, which are highlighted and boosted by the internet. And it's sort of unfair to pit yourself against these people”
⚡ My Second Chat with Samantha
Samantha echoed many of the same thoughts that Alicia and I had. As a PhD student and YouTuber, she talked to me about how prioritizing her creative passion all comes down to time management. She started her YouTube channel this past February - right before COVID-19 hit us and we were all sent home. Since then, she has been trying to navigate something all creatives face: wanting to spend hours on her creative passion, but knowing she can’t.
Our discussion of time management also led us to a deeper discussion about the downfalls of comparing yourself to others - especially with the pressures at Cornell.
Samantha told me how as an undergraduate at Cornell, she definitely felt the pressure of people around her.
“I inherently will compare myself to other people, and that will be to my detriment. So yes, no matter where you are, people around you will be doing amazing things. But you kind of have to not let that outer pressure dictate what you do.”
Part of overcoming that comparison-spiral is having confidence in your own work.
As a YouTuber, Samantha understood from the start that people she knew would be seeing her videos - but was never once ashamed.
“You have to just go full force and not be ashamed of what you're doing. Like, even my professor I’m working under in my research knows I shoot videos, and I'm not ashamed of it. So in terms of putting yourself out there, you just have to realize that there's a chance that anyone can find a channel, anyone can find your artwork. So you have to be okay with that.”
🌟My Concluding Thoughts
I recently started listening to The Michelle Obama Podcast, and stumbled across an episode that I think fits perfectly into this article: “Working Women: Valerie Jarrett and the Importance of Mentorship.”
What most resonated with me is that Michelle looked at mentorship beyond the professional standpoint, and instead talked about how we are all mentors in one way or another. There is always something we can teach others, and always something we can learn from others. She said,
"We are living, breathing role models, not just in what we say, but what we do.”
No matter what you think about your own creative path, your story is valuable and something that others will want to learn about. Even as a “mentee,” you are helping your mentor. Remember that people are eager to share their own experiences as much as they are eager to learn from others.
Take the risk of reaching out, and form relationships with people. The slight awkwardness of that initial message can turn into a beautiful moment, where two people who have never met before, who have been in quarantine for months at a time, suddenly feel themselves growing as creative individuals.
Ainav is a sophomore majoring in Government in Arts & Sciences. She’s a writer for CC, but also loves anything art related, from painting to digital illustration!
Did this blog post supercharge your creativity? ⚡
We hope so. And we can’t wait to see what magic you make next. ✨
Take this email as the reason you’ve been searching for to dive into your next creative endeavor, and know that you’ve got a creative community backing you at every step of the way. 🙌