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Discover Lasell

Designing Your Life

March 03, 2021

Donnell Turner, Director of Center for Career StrategyCareer Readiness Center Director Donnell Turner is a certified Designing Your Life (DYL) Coach — and one of just 14 in the state of Massachusetts. This spring, he launched a new undergraduate course using DYL strategies to help students pilot career options and life scenarios while still in school. The course, “Designing Your Life and Career,” has 21 students enrolled this semester.

Turner designed the class to help students with many academic and career interests to explore where those options might take them.

“The big question I want them to ask is, ‘How can I weave everything I am interested in together for a satisfying and meaningful career and life?’," he says.

The course utilizes design thinking and rapid prototyping methods to help students test the outcomes of life decisions such as choosing their major or honing their job search. By doing so, students learn to test out their career interests says Turner, students can think beyond limitations and prototype the wildest of ideas.

There are two ways to prototype a life design. The first is a prototype conversation, which could be an informational interview. The second way is by prototyping an experience, such as a job shadow. “This helps the students understand possible outcomes and broaden the opportunities available to them.”

Nathan Colon ’21, a student currently enrolled in the course, has already put those lessons to use outside of the classroom.

“My biggest takeaway from the course so far is my new ability to refine disbeliefs in regard to goals or objectives for myself,” said Colon. “I’ve learned that there can always be a different outcome or solution if you put forth the time to make goals achievable.”

Students in the course will also meet with guest speakers throughout the semester to help them see where certain skills or interests might take them beyond what is “typical” for their major. They will also need to conduct informational interviews and establish opportunities for mentorship in order to complete the course.

“What I hope that these students really take away is that your major does not dictate or define the rest of your life,” says Turner. “Through collaboration and group ideation, this kind of career life planning elevates design thinking ideologies to explore even the most radical of career and life plans.”