The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Social media platform TikTok can be inspiring, educational

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Danny Baeza
TikTok, the social media giant, is bursting with new and interesting trends, many of which are followed by U-High students.

In a world where short attention spans are prevalent, inspiration and motivation can be hard to find. Extra free time, handy materials or crafty ideas are especially scarce, and it can be difficult to take your two hands and actively create something rather than passively consume online content. 

TikTok, one of the most widely used social media platforms with a crisp 1.677 billion users, is not exactly considered educational. Its short-form video format is widely seen as detrimental to the attention span and social capabilities of adolescents.

But the app may actually be a source of inspiration for teenagers to cook new recipes, learn dances and even customize and create clothing. It allows creators to share concise, engaging content on a wide range of topics, from science and math to crafts and cooking.

Sophomore Lydia Gilbert often wears a pair of jeans with small flowers embroidered near the knee. She did the embroidery herself to fix a hole in the fabric, having first been introduced to the idea by a creator on TikTok. 

“I think it went pretty well,” Lydia said. “I still need to do it a few more times and practice, but I think it’s something I’m gonna do for a while, like it’s a conscious practice — if I get a hole in my pants, I will do the craft on it.” 

Zara Siddique and Audrey Park

Lydia believes the side of TikTok that’s inspiring, if not quite educational, should be considered more thoroughly before any real opinions or arguments are crafted about the platform. 

“It brings different artistic options to the user — for example, a specific type of embroidery for clothing repair. It teaches young people how to use art as expression in their clothing as well as fix something that’s broken.”

TikTok has also become a sort of playground for artistic expression, where users can explore new ideas, collaborate and inspire one another, making it a digital hub for creative discovery.

“I think it’s kind of 50/50. I do agree, like, I wish I wasn’t on my phone so much, so I could go and do more real stuff, and it is kind of addictive, but also, I’m on there for a reason — and the reason is exploration,” Lydia said.

Ninth grader Mira Reddy doesn’t have TikTok due to parental restrictions. If it were up to her, though, she’d download it, no question. 

“I’d like to be able to stay up to date on what people are doing,” Mira said. “I know my friends who do have TikTok definitely know what’s going on in other people’s lives a little bit more.” 

Mira is sent TikTok videos by her friends frequently enough that she has tried the occasional TikTok recipe, despite not having the app. Her most memorable dish was what she described as a  sandwich and then an omelet in the sandwich — the recipe includes putting two pieces of bread on top of a cooking egg and filling it with sandwich accouterments before folding it over on itself to create a sort of omelet-sandwich hybrid.

Whether it’s learning a new skill, gaining insights into current events, or simply broadening one’s horizons, TikTok has proven its potential as a platform that inspires creative and productive uses of time.

“I think it’s, like, a social thing,” Mira said. “It’s kind of a way to see what’s going on in your life.”

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About the Contributor
Light Dohrn
Light Dohrn, Assistant Editor
Light Dohrn is a member of the Class of 2026 and a Midway assistant editor. As a ninth grader, she joined the journalism team during the 2022-23 school year. Her favorite piece she has written for the Midway is “Through authenticity and humor, biology teacher inspires passion among students.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys Middle-Earth fantasy books and Tarantino films. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Excellent, review writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, press law and ethics

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