The process of wayfinding begins with orientation, the discovery of where you are in relation to your chosen destination. A little over a year ago, our second cohort of students oriented themselves as new members of the Wayfinding Academy community. Since then they have stretched in so many ways, testing their abilities and honing their skills, all while exploring new interests and discovering new passions.
Now just two semesters away from graduation, they are continuing to monitor the route to their destinations. Reflection is integral to learning, a key component in every core course, and it is also integral to wayfinding. You need to reorient yourself and reflect on your destination, especially since routes can be unpredictable.
“The future is uncertain” the Wayfinding Academy creed reads. “That’s good.”
So Cohort 2 decided it was time to pack up and leave town for a few days to reorient themselves.
Cohort 2 wanted a (Re)orientation to reflect on their journey so far and to reconnect with each other. It was a time to have important discussions about their purpose, their goals, and their relationships to each other and to the Wayfinding Academy community.
And the community responded. Knowing that part of Cohort 2’s (Re)orientation experience involved thinking about their next steps after graduation, members of the Wayfinding Academy offered words of inspiration, reflection, and wisdom that they wished they had received.
Be brave. Be confident. Be cautious as well . Be yourself .
-Linda Seeliger, Luminary
No one ever told me growing up that the relationship I had with myself was going to be a primary relationship in my life. Spending time alone felt like it was just that (no one was there). I just had to wait until someone would come along again to spend time with me. But, over the years and in developing a mindfulness practice, I've realized that my "alone" time is actually full of so much inner conversation, self-discovery, personal tenderness, and the space to care for my physical body, my emotions, and my very original creative ideas.
Many adults are still terrified of their "alone" time. It is a time they have to face their own hurt or dissatisfaction with who they are.
I invite you to continue to develop the connection you have with your own body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Always carve time for yourself, find ways to celebrate who you are. Decide to become your own friend and be on your own team.
It is a friendship that will serve you in tremendous ways your entire lifetime. It will also make you an incredible friend to others.
I dare you to love your whole-ness, even the messy, strange and imperfect parts. Most definitely those! No parts left out. Whole. Wholly love.
-Leah Walsh, Luminary & Creator-in-Residence
#1. Life is learning. There is learning in every experience you encounter, even the most difficult. Keep being inquisitive. Begin from a place of not knowing. Inquire and learn.
#2. Pay attention to what interests you. Pursue it. Let yourself express yourself.
#3. Fear is not the problem. Fear of fear is the problem. Being courageous does not mean not being afraid. Allow yourself to be afraid, and continue on.
-Tim Hicks, Luminary
Some people say "Live each day as if it's your last" - personally I don't find that very helpful. I prefer "Live each day as if it's their last" - it reminds me to try to exercise love and compassion with everyone I'm interacting with, and to remain in contact with those who are important in my life.
-Caroline Kocel, Community Member
Some things I learned way too late in life: *You are allowed to make mistakes. *Cartoons lied: there's no evil/bad people. Every one is just seeking happiness (every if they go about it in an idiot way) *Material stuff is useless. So many of the things I thought was important to own as a young person, seems like a waste of money - and space. *And most importantly: Practice consistency! I did not, and I see now how my peers excel their career because they did/do. You can change your mind, and change career path, but be consistent in your methods and your learning.
-Mona Jensen, Community Member
You never know where or when the spark of inspiration will come from that will be a shining moment of realization for you. It could happen at age 20, 35, 50, or 65. It could come from a teacher, an artist, a random stranger, or a child. There are no deadlines for inspirational moments. They can be unpredictable yet life changing.
-Vicki Simon, Parent of Wayfinder & Luminary
I am proud and jealous at the same time. I’m proud because as a luminary I’m happy to be along with you on this journey. Jealousy, because I’m not there along side you in this amazing journey. Remover to be present in the moment. The future and the past will take care of themselves.
-Ryan Seeliger, Luminary
Dear Cohort 2 - each and every one of you,
I have little to offer but pointers to better words of wisdomers than I. The first is: When you know better, you then are obliged to do better. (it's kinda how we grow as individuals and a larger society.) I'm sure someone more 'lettered' than me said this better - but you should figure out what that means for you.
Secondly: "Don't let people rent space in your head." Really, don't let people occupy your mind if they are not making your life easier.
Third: Watch Tim Minchen
And remember, you can be inspired by inspiring others. Rock on Cohort 2!!
-Elizabeth Houck, Community Member
The best advice I got as a college student was from my great uncle. He said, "Learn to put yourself in other people's shoes."
-Ron Buel, Luminary
True confidence doesn't come from not being afraid or from feeling like you aren't going to make a mistake or get hurt. It comes from knowing you can handle whatever life sends your way. It comes from when you know you might get knocked down, and can shout out loud, "Bring it on!" because you know you will always be able to get back up. So don't be afraid to get knocked down. Spend your life learning how to get back up with grace, compassion, and integrity. Woohoo!!!!!
-Ana Verzone, Community Member
Reorienting is essential. It is a skill that the students of Cohort 2 will carry forever. Even before the events of that weekend, they knew enough about themselves to know how necessary it was.