People age 18-25: I need your input!

21 Feb

The following letter is for my friends and peers of my generation. I’m hoping to receive input and feedback on my project!

Hello amigos!

As some of you may already know, I am taking a semester “off” from school. “Isn’t that risky? Won’t you get lazy?” is a common question I get from a lot of people. This immediate reaction (which I battled with myself before choosing to do this) stems from the societal belief that school and learning are the same things and cannot be separated. However, it is my belief that in this time of being “unreasonable and risky” I can continue to learn in different, unique, and innovative ways that traditional education couldn’t entirely offer me. Sound interesting? Keep reading!

One of the biggest components of my gap semester is working on a self-designed book project where my ultimate goal is to be able to produce a source of inspiration that ties together the collective wisdom of a diverse set of people living in this crazy/amazing time in history. The book would consist of:

  • 15-25 profiles of young people who are exploring alternative educational paths (the definition for this is flexible!) and
  • 15-25 profiles of inspiring “older” people with life experience and wisdom to offer our generation on creating our life and learning paths, and how they got to where they are today.
  • If you know of any potential profilees, please let me know! Even if it’s yourself!

Leading up to now I have done a TON of research and networking, from attending the 2011 TechSoup Conference at the Microsoft Headquarters (can you find me in the picture to the left?), to meeting with Dacher Keltner, the Director for a UC Berkeley center that researches the science of a meaningful life. I want to see what other options for life are out there, and help to share them with everyone else! Some of you have engaged in conversation with me where we have debated the importance of getting the “right” major, or the “right” job, or even the “right” choice of what to do with ourselves at this point in life. But I want to explore the element of our designing of our own lives, which Joseph Campbell has put so well into words: “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”

So, what am I exactly asking for you to do? Take 15+ minutes of your time, and give me feedback, using the attached questions as your starting points! If you don’t have time to write out your answers, I can set up a time to skype with you instead. The questions or this project in general may strike a chord with you, inspire you, intrigue you, and hopefully not bore you J You could even do something creative as a response, such as write a poem, upload a video interview, sing a song, make a collage, WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT. If I end up getting this project published or distributed in any way, I will be sure to give you a shout-out! I’m also keeping track of my progress on this project in this blog, so people can keep up to date on it.

If you disagree with me on any of these points, I totally respect your opinion, we all have different life experiences and goals. Whether or not this rings true for you, I want to hear from you. It would make my day. It would be like finding out that my friends had all joined in and threw me a surprise party (which, as we all know, definitely makes us as people feel good). This is something I am truly passionate about, and I love hearing what my friends, acquaintances, and even absolute strangers have to say. Whether you feel like you know a lot on this subject or not, your input is highly valued! Hope to hear from you!



FYI: Don’t feel obligated to answer all of these questions, but the more the better! Please send your answers to If you want to set up a skype call instead, please let me know!

1. First of all, tell me a little about yourself! What is your major? What are your own personal interests or hobbies?

2. Do you have an idea for what you want to do “when you grow up?” If so, how did you come to decide on this ? Was there any particular point or story of inspiration? If not, please tell me a little bit about the reasons for why you may not feel like you know what you want to do.

3. What advice do your parents give you on your future plans for life, career, success, happiness, etc? Have you ever thought that you couldn’t go into a certain profession due to societal/family/peer pressure? Explain.

4. Since graduating from high school (or even before), what do you believe is missing from our society, in terms of helping us as a generation prepare for the future?

5. Say you’re given an investment of a million dollars to be an entrepreneur and start a service of some sort for our generation. What do you believe is needed most and how would you create it?

6. From where do you think you’ve learned the most about “life paths” and career options? What do you believe are the top 5 most essential skills for the future?

7. Is there any particular friend or family member you know of that didn’t follow a traditional path? What is their story? Are they happy? Are they “successful?”

8. What do you think defines a “successful life?”

9. In which type of setting/teaching style/etc. do you believe you learn best? Does your school address these learning styles/needs? What other experiences in life have taught you critical skills/knowledge?

10. Do you believe that your college is preparing you well enough for the future of our world today? What does it do best, and what does it need to work on?

11. Do you feel that the college you attend now is worth the amount of money you are paying? Do you think you could create the same learning experience elsewhere for cheaper?

12. Do you think that higher education will be forced to drastically change its model in the future? If you could advise your school on how to be best prepared for the future of our world, what advice would you give?


One Response to “People age 18-25: I need your input!”

  1. haley February 23, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    >This is such an important and beautiful project Weezie and I am SO excited for you! I want to answer these questions thoughtfully (will consider them and write when I get some more time!) and also talk to you in person (on the phone/skype?) to hear about your amazing time learning in the classroom of life and to talk through some thoughts. Just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you, missing you, and that I hadn't forgotten to respond! much love,haley

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