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Designing Your Life Workshop Participants Learn to Create a Life View

City of Raleigh skyline in the early evening. PHOTO BY ROGER WINSTEAD
Workshop shows students how to use design tools to plan for life after college.

The Designing Your Life workshop, led this fall by three NC State college deans, focused on helping students design their careers and lives after graduation. The workshop – based on a book by the same title written by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans – shows participants how to use design principles, the same strategies and tactics that designers use, to build their careers and future lives.

Designing Your Life participants with presenters Dean Hoversten, Dean Ranft and Dean Braden
Designing Your Life participants with presenters Dean Hoversten, Dean Ranft and Dean Braden

Each of the deans brought their disciplines’ perspective to the workshop: Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Jeff Braden, his knowledge of psychology; College of Design Dean Mark Hoversten, he expertise in design thinking; and Poole College of Management Dean Annette J. Ranft, her deep understanding of business organizations and careers.

Two of the participants – Allison Taphouse and Sree Yallapragada, both NC State Poole College seniors set to graduate in May 2018 – provided feedback on the workshop in an email interview with Poole College communications.

Sree Yallapragada
Sree Yallapragada, participant

“I think the idea of using simple design principles to discover inner talents and aspirations is pretty innovative,” said Yallapragada, who is completing a double major in business administration and information technology.

“This book really makes you take time to get to know yourself. … I honestly wouldn’t have thought about taking the time to write down my actual goals, (but) doing some of the activities and having my teammates actively discuss them really allowed me to envision my future goals, using actual concrete examples, not just words to describe them,” she said.

“Some of these activities also reassured me that I do have the capabilities and resources to go towards my goals. For example, the Odyssey planning activities (provided in the book) allowed me to plan out three alternate five-year plans for myself,” Yallapragada said. As she and her team discussed each of their plans, she said her teammates “offered really beneficial suggestions that I wouldn’t have thought of before.”

Yallapragada, who described herself as shy, said that through the workshop, she discovered she actually enjoyed the team discussions and gained the confidence “to tap into my inner self and create a future for myself.”

Allison Taphouse
Allison Taphouse, participant

Taphouse, who is completing a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in operations and supply chain management, said she “found the focus on the life view to be the most beneficial in changing my perspective on my future, post graduation.”

Through the Odyssey planning portion of the workshop, she said she “learned that there are many more possibilities for my future than I had thought. I now realize that anything is possible, and that the first step in my career doesn’t define the rest of my life.”

Read more about Designing Your Life workshops.

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