Ways Students Can Express Themselves in the School Community
Updated: Mar 25
Students feel a lack of self-expression in school. What are some ways we can fix that?
Self-expression is vital for any human being, especially for students at school. When we lack self-expression in our lives, we suppress our talents and creativity and restrain valuable pieces of who we are, which later on can result in bad habits. It also causes low self-esteem, mental and emotional pain. Finding new ways to express ourselves through music, art, dance, and more can be great alternatives to avoid falling into these habits and pains, or be a much-needed remedy for them, too.
Nowadays with the pandemic, unfortunately, many schools had to get rid of a great part of their programs, including activities that fostered school spirit and self-expression. They're slowly disappearing or are taking place virtually. School should be a safe place for students to express themselves, and we should find ways to bring back these activities to allow them the space they need to shine as unique individuals.
Students participating in Spirit Week, expressing themselves through their clothing for a week. Picture from St. Augustine’s Instagram.
When we express ourselves at school we put into practice our creativity, highlighting our personality and talents. When teachers plan self-expression or artistic projects that include the content that was covered in class, students show much more interest and can put to work their creativity and thinking skills. “I prefer creative projects because they allow me to enjoy what we are learning and apply it in more meaningful ways, that will help me remember the topics,” said Ana Sofia Chamorro, a freshman at our school.
In a recent study made by arts.gov, they were able to see that there was a significant increase in the attendance of art students related to non-visual art students. Artistic self-expression has proven to relieve stress and significantly decrease anxiety and depression. It’s no wonder it does this since it’s a way to “free your mind,” says the Wood Green Academy. “Self-expression can help you to reflect on your life, actions, decisions, relationships, beliefs, and thoughts — rather than keep them buried deep down,” says Wood Green Academy, a secondary school in England.
Self-expression activities in our community
In our school community, there have been different activities for students to show their talents, personality, and interests throughout the years. Events such as the Art Expo, Talent Show, Mental Health Week, Spirit Week, and Field Day among others, have kept the school spirit alive and have let students with different interests share their personalities and contribute to our community.
The Songwriting Contest Activity was a great way to let students express their mental health and share emotional meaning contributing to others' mental health. Picture from the school’s website.
Maria Andrea Arana, a freshman who constantly participates in school activities, has never missed the talent shows that the school used to do. “I love to participate in these types of shows because it grants me the opportunity to show my talent and passions to the public,” said Maria Andrea. She says her passion is to play the piano; creating music with her bare fingers and getting to play it for the public at school makes her feel whole and allows her to show her “true self.”
Maria Andrea Arana playing the piano with part of the music class for one of the most recent artistic activities at school. Picture was taken by me.
Happily, our school is slowly going back to normal, with events such as the school ceremony awards or the opening of the cafeteria for extracurricular activities taking place. It's time to take a step forward and bring back other activities, adapting them to the pandemic and the resources available.
A great activity to bring back would be the talent show; it not only helps us have a good time and relax but we also get to share our talents with the public. Since we’ve taken back our school’s ceremony awards, the talent show could also be a private event for the students to enjoy at the gym with social distancing as we’ve started to do with these ceremonies; the show could be recorded live for parents to watch. It could be divided into three parts so that elementary, middle, and high school students could participate in groups and not clutter the gym. We could also put a small platform in our school’s field so the talent show could be outdoors and there would be more room for social distancing (like we did with the “goleadores”), and then we wouldn’t have to divide the show into parts. We could even do it at night so that the heat isn't as unbearable, as we used to do back then.
More shows like the songwriting contest concert would be great as well, since they could contribute to the school’s spirit and improve the school’s music program. We could use activities like spirit week to create virtual concerts related to the themes, and students would have time to relate to other students through music and relax.
Seniors enrolled in the music program practice at the gym for an upcoming event. Picture taken by me.
Creative and artistic activities are my favorite at school; they have always made my learning experience easier and a little more bearable. Music and art have always helped me express myself when it’s hard to do so with words.
What are your favorite activities we’ve done so far at school or what new activities would you like to have at school that could adapt to the pandemic protocol? You can comment below! You might just get to participate in one before the year is over!