The quote “Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box” by choreographer Twyla Tharp is one of my favourite academic mantras, although I prefer to think of starting with ‘the’ box. Knowing the basics is one of the most important principles in any discipline, if one wants to break the rules it is important to know what they are in the first place.
This is a sentiment I try to convey at the beginning of each of my first year classes: this module is there to teach my students the basics of academic research and essay writing. Later on they might be able to break these rules, sometimes with great success, but it is important to know them in the first place!
When I made this academic mantra card, I also made a version that folded up into an origami box.