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September 14, 2009

How to succeed in art class

By Caroline Nelissen

Junior Reporter, Youth Journalism International

ERMELO, Gelderland, Netherlands Ė Sitting alone at lunch, falling down the stairs, getting lost. When entering high school as a freshman, these will be just a few of the thousand worries going through your mind.

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The first couple of days, you probably wonít have a mind lucid enough to be concerned about something as secondary as the actual classes, let alone that youíll even start to think about art classes as an obstacle.

Well, you may want to think again when youíre desperately trying to keep your hopelessly deformed clay figurine from collapsing.

As a freshman, I thought of art class as some sort of extended lunch break, where Iíd be able to relax and talk with my friends.

After only one class, I realized Iíd been gravely underestimating this part of my education.

Entrance to at Christelijk College Nassau-Veluwe in Harderwijk, The Netherlands

By Carolina Nelissen/

ĎJust putting something togetherí turned out to be much more difficult than it sounded, at least for me.

Some of my classmates seemed to have been sawing, drawing and designing since the age of three. Theyíre the lucky ones. For others, art class can be hell.

I had no idea how to handle a fretsaw, so I ruined about five of those fragile blades before I even started to saw anything.

Believe me, when you see all of your artistic attempts turn into an unrecognizable mess, itís pretty hard to believe why anyone would choose to do this as a hobby.

It wasnít long before I got extremely frustrated with the entire art thing and I figured art just wasnít for me Ė but that was before I discovered the very essence of art.

It isnít really about what it is, but more about what people think it is.

When I nervously approached the teacherís desk with my cardboard wannabe Ďbird,í I noticed him glancing suspiciously at my masterpiece. When he remarked that it didnít really look like a bird and that the separate pieces didnít fit together, I managed to keep a straight face.

With a smile,  I told him Iíd done that on purpose, because a bird seems to be so one with the air when itís flying, you almost feel you can see through it.

That totally hit the spot, and I got a good grade.

From that moment, I really started to like art class and eventually I even took an extra course outside of school.

I still donít know how to draw lifelike images or how to handle a fretsaw, but I enjoy it a lot anyway.

So, if youíre one of those freshmen who has made the mistake of underestimating art class, donít worry.

Just try to figure out a creative way to get away with it. Donít let anyone or anything discourage you.

Art class is about more than being technically perfect. Once you discover that, you can relax and enjoy the process itself.

If something collapses, donít panic. Try to find a way to make it work.

If all else fails, make something up. Pretend like you did it with a plan.

This way, you might even come up with something really great one day.

Letís not forget that some of the most important things in this world have been invented by accident.

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