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Article: How to design your life

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    Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Stanford University professors and authors of Designing Your Life, show how Life Design can help you prepare for life after uni

    You’ve worked hard; you’ve got the grades, and now… what’s next?

    It’s the question students hate to hear: what are you going to do once you graduate?

    The truth is, as a student you are entering a very different world to the one your teachers and lecturers did. It’s a world full of change and uncertainty; one in which it’s unlikely you’re going to enter a profession and stay there until retirement. Some studies suggest that the average millennial will have three different careers during their working life.

    The good news: the help we need is right under our nose. In fact, it helped build the technology you’re reading this on right now. We call it: design.

    Life Design is when we use techniques from the world of design to build lives that are meaningful. We’ve been teaching this at Stanford University for a while now and the results for our students have been extraordinary.

    In our new book, Designing Your Life, we go through our Life Design exercises in detail, offering easy-to-follow techniques to help you learn the basics.

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    What do you think of trigger warnings and safe spaces?
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    What advice do you have for somebody considering an academic career? How important is university prestige for academics?
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    I'm just picking my subject and the universities I want to apply too.

    Do you at this stage it's better to choose a subject I know I'll love or a subject that is more vocational and might help me get a better job once I've graduated?

    When I'm at uni do you think it's a good idea to do a mix of hobbies/ extra curricular activities that enjoy..... and perhaps some that will give me skills that employers will want like basic admin? I feel like I'm under a lot of pressure to tick lots of boxes and I'm worried about the cost of uni and then not being able to get a job afterwards.

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    what's your favourite part of being a professor? Did you start out wanting to work in academia?

    I might try starting a good time journal :cool:
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    I like the idea of starting a journal too What can I do after the three weeks?
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    OK - serious question. I really struggle with consistently keeping a journal - I've tried to write a diary before and I never seem to catch the habit. Is there another way that I can do this activity and still get something out of this technique?
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    Oh - and have you ever visited any UK universities? How do they compare to Stanford?
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    Hey everyone :wavey:

    Stanford University professors and authors of 'Designing Your Life' Bill Burnett and Dave Evans will be online this week to respond to your questions
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    (Original post by jambojim97)
    What do you think of trigger warnings and safe spaces?
    This is a very sensitive issue in the academy and in and of itself is really beyond the boundaries of our area of competency. We're Silicon Valley innovators turned design educators. General commentary on overall leadership issues in the academy is beyond our scope.
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    (Original post by Hariex)
    What advice do you have for somebody considering an academic career? How important is university prestige for academics?
    Do some prototyping! The academy is a unique work domain and the best way to understand it is get the stories of people who are in the various roles (administration, research, teaching, student affairs...) that you are interested in. Be sure and get a wide range of stories including both happy and unhappy academics to see if you can identify how you fit into that field or role.

    The importance of the prestige level of your degree depends entirely on the role you're looking for and the field you're in. That too is something you can learn by talking to people in the field.
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    (Original post by *Rainbow Bright*)
    I'm just picking my subject and the universities I want to apply too.

    Do you at this stage it's better to choose a subject I know I'll love or a subject that is more vocational and might help me get a better job once I've graduated?

    When I'm at uni do you think it's a good idea to do a mix of hobbies/ extra curricular activities that enjoy..... and perhaps some that will give me skills that employers will want like basic admin? I feel like I'm under a lot of pressure to tick lots of boxes and I'm worried about the cost of uni and then not being able to get a job afterwards.

    In our class "Desiging Your Stanford" we examine "why are you going to college?" The 3 classic reasons are: (a) to get a liberal education, (b) to prepare for a career, (c) to find yourself (or some combination). We don't have a recommendation for "the right approach". We're not keen on giving people "shoulds". We think you can figure it out for yourself if you use good tools and pursue the questions that matter to you. Each of these choices has benefits and consequences. You don't have to have your degree be focused on your future career per se, but if not you will want to do other things during college to prepare for that (projects, networking, internships etc). There are lots of ways to be career ready after college that don't rely primarily on your degree.

    In all cases we encourage students to make the most of their time at college and consider that all their activities are part of their education - not just classes.
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    (Original post by fantazia)
    Oh - and have you ever visited any UK universities? How do they compare to Stanford?
    We've not done academic work outside the US much so I can't comment. I can say that many of the UK campuses are certainly beautiful and historic!
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    (Original post by JollyKingfisher)
    what's your favourite part of being a professor? Did you start out wanting to work in academia?

    I might try starting a good time journal :cool:
    Our favorite part is meeting with students 1:1 in office hours. There's nothing like being able to get into an individual's story in some detail. Secondly, I like classroom teaching and the interaction on meaty subjects.

    College instructing is my 4th of 5 careers (so far...) and I had NO IDEA I would ever be teaching in college. Before that I was a (failed) advanced energy technologist, then a high-tech product management and startup guy, then a management consultant, then an educator, and now an author (who knew!?).
 
 
 
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