TAYLOR Your Life is a changemaking career development lab that teaches undergraduate students how to approach their future with the mindset and toolkit of a designer.
Design Thinking can be used to tackle “wicked” problems that are complex and challenging, ranging from climate change to poverty, systemic racism, and educational inequity. Yet every single one of us is also tackling the “wicked” problem of figuring out how to work, live, play, and love in the best, most efficient and life-giving way possible.
Students in this course ideate multiple life paths, clarify their interests, focus and target their search, prototype and test elements of careers that interest them, market and brand themselves to stand out from the crowd, and map their community to effectively join the network of movers and shakers in their field.
The TYL Course was created by Julia Lang and inspired by Designing Your Life at Stanford University.
What Happens in a TAYLOR Your Life Class?
In a series of TAYLOR Your Life sessions, participants engage in a series of interactive, dynamic activities focused on:
- Empathy and grounding: Excavating students’ family histories and subliminal messages they received about work
- Curiosity: Identifying social issues students are curious about and may want to tackle in the next 1-10 years or beyond
- Ideation: Thinking big about multiple different life paths/5 year plans
- Prototyping: Creating multiple prototypes to test different career pathways
- Connecting and Testing: Engaging in one’s community via community mapping; learning to network by participating in the network and how fear holds you back from your purpose
- Creating a Personal Brand: Designing students’ changemaking “pitch,” resume and LinkedIn to align with their changemaking interests and experiences
- Investing in Yourself and Your Community: Practicing salary negotiation and hosting life design (informational interviews)
- Designing your Future: Submitting final changemaking plans; bodystorming changemaking futures and building life design teams
“Taylor Your Life has altered my perception of the job search process intensely and even of life planning in general, outside of the workplace. The curriculum emphasized the importance of being open to new opportunities and doing what truly speaks to you instead of simply doing what you or other people believe you should do. I feel much more secure about continuing on with my college education and my current career path after taking this class and I have developed a much more confident, positive attitude in this area of my life thanks to Taylor Your Life.”
– KeiraRosner, TYL student, Fall 2017
“I think that this class should be mandatory for every student struggling to discover what they want to do, and even encouraged for the students who think they know what they want to do. I have recently decided to explore my other interests by declaring a double major in Math and Public health with a double minor in music and international development. This class gave me the guts and skills and knowledge I needed to make this decision with confidence and I am so glad I participated in it this year”
– Victoria Rose, TYL student, Fall 2017
“I am beyond glad to have taken this class. TYL helped give me a sense of overarching direction over the rest of my life. There are so many nuggets of information that I know will benefit me in the future, and I am honestly thinking about taking it AGAIN my junior/senior year to make sure I am still on track.”
– Tim Wang, TYL student, Fall 2017
Resources for Educators
Interested in bringing Life Design Education to your school, campus, or classroom?
The Taylor Your Life curriculum is free to educators interested in using design thinking to map “changemaking” career tracks.
Learning from Leaders in Life Design Education
TAYLOR Your Life was created after conducting extensive research in the field on best practices and current trends in innovative career development curriculum creation, including:
- Designing Your Life, the book co-written by professors of the most popular elective at Stanford University (Burnett & Evans, 2016)
- How to Get Any Job, Donald Asher
- How to Land Your Dream Job Right Out of College by Networking Like A Rockstar, Jaymin Patel
- Radical Acceptance, a mindfulness text (Brach, 2014)
- Net Impact’s Career Development Program for undergraduate and graduate students
- The Echoing Green and Ashoka U award winning Transformative Action Institute, which has been used at over 50 campuses including Harvard, Stanford and UCLA, (Sherman, 2015)
- The Ashoka U award winning Work on Purpose curriculum from Echoing Green.