Student Turns Her Exam Notes into a Unique Recreation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Anthropology sophomore Van Truong recently combined art and biology in an effort to ace her final exam in December. While most of her college mates used lists and flashcards to memorize stuff, Van used a whiteboard to write out all her notes in the form of ‘Starry Night’, Van Gogh’s famous masterpiece.

“I knew I had to study for this exam, and I knew I’d be writing on this whiteboard for hours,” she said. “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if I did it in a form where people didn’t know how to feel about it?’”

So when she got to Smathers Library on the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus, she started to write down all her notes with the words forming a replica of Van Gogh’s iconic painting. Three hours later, the masterpiece was complete.


Truong said that the special technique helped her keep awake during the grueling study session, and actually learn more than she normally would have. “I knew if I had to read through a packet of notes, I’d fall asleep,” she admitted. “I don’t know if I would’ve lasted three hours just going through notes. I can explain chronologically the order of where I placed each word on that Starry Night replica better than a sequence of events in evolutionary history.”

And the reason she chose ‘Starry Night’ was because of its composition. She realized that a painting of a person might look disjointed if made out of words. But she could easily make the sentences look like Van Gogh’s beautiful, wavy brush strokes.


When she finished the recreation of ‘Starry Night’, Truong asked the other students in the library to take a picture. Some of them posted the photograph on Facebook and it quickly  earned over 1,000 likes. And the board itself was incredibly popular on campus for a few weeks, before somebody erased it. Truong said she figured the board wouldn’t have caught as much attention if the painting she picked hadn’t been so well-known.

“People would be more likely to erase someone else’s work if they didn’t recognize the image,” she explained. She did wish, however, that people had interacted more with the board and added their own embellishments before it was erased. She does plan to use similar strategies in the future though, leaving her art-filled boards around the library.


The young anthropology student is no stranger to original art. Last year, she and a friend recreated Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa using seaweed that had washed up on shore near her home.

Truong also suggested that displaying more student created art in libraries could positively affect students’ studying habits. She is currently applying for a grant with the Bob Graham Center for Public Service to bring the arts and sciences together. And as for the biology final, it turns out her strategy did work – she scored 20 percent better than she did on the past two exams.

via Huffington Post

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