As a second semester senior, I was fortunate enough to take my first art class before leaving Duke. I regret that this experience came so late in my college career, and that my curriculum was not better filled with creative opportunities such as drawing. In high school, all of my notebooks were decorated with doodles or full drawings spanning across several pages. As I came to college, I noticed that these little embellishments became less and less frequent and then stopped all together as I began taking notes electronically.
This is undoubtedly one of my greatest regrets concerning my college career. Although I have had an incredible experience and I am about to walk away with a distinguished degree, my stay at Duke has been relatively void of artistic endeavors. One could argue that writing a paper on the evolution of cooperation in chimpanzees requires creativity, but tapping out an essay at two in the morning doesn't exactly feel like a true artistic exercise.
Needless to say, this drawing class was a much needed break in my typical semester drudgery. It was an opportunity to escape for a few hours in the week into pure creation. I came to view our early morning classes as somewhat meditative; for two and a half hours I was immersed in drawing and nothing else. I came to look forward to this block of time as a little solace from an otherwise uncreative existence.
However, as time progressed, I began to understand that art and drawing comes with its own set of methods. Line variation, shading and values are all technical aspects of drawing that I used to overlook. As we practiced a new technique each week, training ourselves to draw what we see and not what our brain interprets, I came to understand drawing as its own kind of science.
As I continue on into yet another scientific field, I hope to continue to make time for creativity. I loved this class, and my only complaint is that I did not have more time to work on each of my drawings. I plan to cover all of my academic notebooks for the next five years; drawing has been missing from my life for way too long.