Life Design

2020 Life Design Summer Institute Series: Week Two

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This post is part of the 2020 Life Design Summer Institute Series, which offers a quick lesson recap and 3 teaching takeaways from co-creating a course on life design for students.

Week Two was jam-packed with giving students a decent foundation in life design concepts, while creating a bridge for the rest of the course. We centered this week’s lesson on the concept of radical collaboration. This post provides a quick overview of radical collaboration and my 3 teaching takeaways.

This Week’s Lesson: Radical Collaboration

You might be asking, “What is radical collaboration?

Here are snippets from how the creators of life design explain it:

What this means is simple – you are not alone. The best designers know that great design requires radical collaboration. It takes a team…learn how to use mentors and a supportive community to help with your life design.

From Bill Burnett & Dave Evans’ book ‘Designing Your Life‘ page xxviii

While the idea of asking for help might not seem radical, it can be a source of worry, anxiety, and discomfort for students. Breaking through those feelings takes work. In the 2020 Life Design Summer Institute, we aim to meet students where they are by equipping them with tools to reach out to possible mentors and provides safe spaces in which to do so.

3 Teaching Takeaways

Here are my three teaching takeaways from this week:

1. Focus on cohesion when starting personal lesson planning

Our lesson had a lot of moving parts this week. We aimed to quickly cover design thinking, reflect on the purpose of college via discussions and activities, and bring in a guest speaker to interview. All these parts were important, but fitting them into a 90-minute time slot was challenging.

With co-creating/co-teaching a curriculum, it can be tricky to balance the agreed-upon material and individual teaching styles. This week I learned that I work better when I see how all parts fit together in a lesson.

Understanding this on the outset supports my personal lesson planning because I know where to start. However, it’s easy to get stuck. Seeking help from others (e.g., radical collaboration) has been the most helpful way for me to get unstuck and generate ideas for my lessons.

2. Give students a set of reflection tools from various disciplines

One of our aims in this course was to bring in diverse disciplinary perspectives and approaches. Since we had a particularly challenging set of readings this week, I offered some insight into how I organized readings during my doctoral studies.

I emphasized using reflective prompts to engage with readings. My reflective prompts heavily draw from Dr. Irene Clark’s work in Composition and English. We used some of the questions for the written prompts as oral discussion questions.

3. Guest speakers can be powerful so give the ample time

In order to get our students comfortable with radically collaborating, we brought in alums as guest speakers. I wanted all my students to feel empowered to ask a question so I reserved half of our class time for our alumni interview.

In my section, Noreen Okarter was our guest alum speaker. Noreen offered valuable insight and advice. I think it was especially powerful that Noreen works in a space that none of my students mentioned they were considering as a path. Hearing perspectives from individuals operating outside your potential focus area can be quite helpful.

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Last week I spoke with students at my alma mater @johnshopkinsu about becoming an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry. . . While I don’t claim to be a career expert, I am an aficionado of finding your true calling. We should all feel lucky to have a job, especially in this current climate. But it’s even better when you have a calling, a career that you love to do and put your heart and soul into. Having a calling is a rewarding experience and can make life more fulfilling – even making Monday mornings feel like a breeze. . . I feel very fortunate to have a calling to help people with food allergies and autoimmune diseases live life to the fullest. But my calling wasn't always clear to me. Although I am grateful for the traditional schooling/education that I have, I had to let go of the idea of having a conventional life that was expected of me. Working in finance or becoming a doctor or lawyer was the customary path among my family and peers. My journey towards true happiness made me realize that those paths weren’t for me. It took a lot of courage and years of learning my trade as a coach, but I’m glad to be where I am now. . . If you’re trying to find your professional calling, you can ask yourself these questions: . 🌟If money were not a barrier, what profession would you most like to do? 🌟How do you enjoy spending your time? What activities do you have the most fun doing? 🌟What are your strengths? What careers or fields align with those strengths? 🌟Why do you think you were put on this earth? . . I do believe that happiness is a choice and we can find it any moment. I also believe that we also must do the necessary work to find happiness too. Wishing you a great start to the week and a blossoming career! . . P.S. Your corporate experiences can be very valuable. My career experiences in data and analytics strategy have been amazing. I still enjoy the craft, and it’s helped me immensely for the work I do now! . . #johnshopkins #college #career #profession #healthcoach #pathlesstraveled #work #workfromhome #workfromhomehelp #remotework #professionalwomen #entrepreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurmindset #career #careergoals

A post shared by Health + Food Allergy Coach (@foodsitch) on

Closing Thoughts

The second session had a lot going on. On a personal note, this week helped me refine my pedagogical approach to our 2020 Life Design Summer Institute. This week also further fueled my excitement about directly connecting students with a mentor, as well as equipping students with tools to start seeking out important conversations.

This post is part of the 2020 Life Design Summer Institute Series, which offers a quick lesson recap and 3 teaching takeaways from co-creating a course on life design for students.

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