Life Design

Having a sense of purpose is one of the hallmarks of a meaningful life.

Life Design, a new student-focused program at Bowling Green State University, is helping students think beyond a major, beyond the typical question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Through the program students discover what motivates them and develop plans to set them on a life and career path that is uniquely tailored to their personality and interests.

Why Life Design at BGSU?

At BGSU, we believe student success is at the core of our mission, as outlined in Focus on the Future, the University’s strategic plan. We are committed to educating and preparing students to have balanced and purpose-driven lives and careers. Life Design helps equip them with the skills, education, experience, and mindsets to persevere through life and achieve their goals.

Part of the Undergraduate Experience

The program is introduced to students early in their undergraduate experience and throughout their time on campus. The concepts are presented during orientation sessions, opening weekend events and activities, a first-year seminar (BGSU 1910: Design Your BGSU), and other student programming across campus. Additional online educational resources supplement and reinforce learning and development of life design skills, mindsets and experiences.

PrintThe framework

Students will build their personal and professional success plans focused on four pillars: academics and career, connections, health and wellness, purpose and passion.

The mindsets

Students are taught to think beyond their major in a holistic way. Five mindsets comprise the Life Design process that encourage students to develop persistence, resiliency, and grit to prepare them for any challenge they might face. The mindsets are:

Be Curious (BC) – Curiosity makes everything new, and primes our brain for learning new things. Being curious encourages exploration, and opens new doors and opportunities. This mindset is a great place to start, continue, and reimage your journey.

Reframe (R)
– You never finish designing your life, and there are always multiple perspectives from which to view experiences, challenges, and situations. Reframing helps to focus on the right challenges and right solutions.

Reflect (RE)
– On-going reflection on what you have learned and more importantly unlearned provides a clearer path to creating a life worth living. Often, it is not until we look back that we see where we’re going. Remembering that our lives are constantly in process opens us to possibilities we may not have even expected.

Take Action (TA)
– Thinking about what you want to do will only get you so far. Our lives are never-ending design projects of building our way forward. Taking action involves trying new things, embracing change and unfamiliarity, and constantly moving forward.

Collaborate (C)
– You are not alone, and just as the best designs require collaboration, so it is with your life. Mentors and a supportive community of peers will help you explore interests, and make meaning from the wonderful and unexpected opportunities ahead of you.

Design thinking process

In Life Design, students move through a process to purposefully navigate transitions and design their way forward as life unfolds.


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