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Designing Your Life (EN) - SEM2


Disclaimer: due to the coronavirus pandemic, this course description might be subject to changes. For the latest updates regarding corona virus, please check this link.

Topics: Life design, Design Thinking, job market preparation, career development, creativity, networking.
Disciplines: Psychology, Career development, Design.

  • To apply the method of Design Thinking to their own life path;

  • To identify what gives them energy (or not);

  • How to ideate different future versions of themselves;

  • How to build their creative confidence;

  • How to network in a non-sleazy way;

  • How to make choices in a better way.

Admission requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an elective course within the Honours College programme. Third year students who don’t participate in the Honours College, have the opportunity to apply for a Bachelor Honours Class. Students will be selected based on i.a. their motivation and average grade.


Have you known since childhood what you wanted to be when you would grow up? Congratulations, you are a lucky individual and this class is probably not for you.

For everyone else, this Honours Class will teach you how to apply the method of Design Thinking to design the most challenging and interesting project you will face: your life.

You will first learn how to identify energy patterns and build a compass to give you direction in your life design. Subsequently, you will brainstorm about multiple futures for yourself and prototype them through experiences and network conversations. Learning how to adopt the mindset of a designer is just as important, though, as designers know that perfection is unattainable, failure is a normal part of the process and that they can rely on their creativity to come up with new solutions. Consequently, and because creative confidence helps to deal with negative beliefs about the future, this course pays ample attention to developing ‘creative confidence’ through various mini-design challenges in class.

This course uses literature from the domains of design, psychology and career development, and relies on smaller sub-groups within class - guided by a peer mentor - to stimulate discussions on a personal level. Through various (journaling) exercises and network conversations, you will expand your comfort zone and gain more clarity and confidence on how you can design your future.

Course objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Understand core concepts about career development;

  • Be able to apply the method of Design Thinking to their own life path;

  • Have increased their creative confidence;

  • Have fewer dysfunctional thoughts about their career.

Programme and timetable:

The 10 sessions of this class will take place on Tuesday evenings at 17.15 - 19.00.

Session 1: February 22
The Design Thinking mindset

Session 2: March 1
Designing Your Life in big strokes

Session 3: March 8
From Odyssey Sketches to prototype conversations

Session 4: March 15
Prototype conversations mini-training

Session 5: April 12
Accepting & overcoming barriers

Session 6: April 19
Empathy & strengths

Session 7: April 26
Ideating & more prototypes

Session 8: May 3
Dealing with failure, imposter syndrome & perfectionism

Session 9: May 10
Visual Thinking, or: designing an attractive CV

Session 10: May 17
Your path into the future

Lipsius building, room 123

Reading list:

The book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans will be mandatory reading. Additional literature will be announced via Brightspace

Course load and teaching method:

This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours:

  • Seminars: 10 seminars of 2 hours (participation is mandatory) = 20 hours;

  • Literature reading: 4 hours/week = 40 hours;

  • Practical assignments: 6 hours/week = 60 hours;

  • Final reflection essay: 20 hours.

Assessment methods:

As life design is not something to grade quantitatively, this course will have a pass/fail grade based on your effort. Participation, the assignment and final reflection essay all have to be sufficient to pass the course.

Brightspace and uSis

Brightspace will be used in this course. Upon admission students will be enrolled in Brightspace by the teaching administration.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Bachelor Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Registration process:

Submitting an application for this course is possible from Monday 1 November 2021 up to and including Thursday 11 November 2021 23:59 through the link on the Honours Academy student website.

Note: students don’t have to register for the Bachelor Honours Classes in uSis. The registration is done centrally before the start of the class.

Bram Hoonhout: