Playbook for Life

a Discovery Core Experience

BCORE 107 (Social Sciences)

About This Course

After all that stressful college-hunting, you are now here. Congratulations!

However, starting your college “career” can also feel overwhelming and confusing. Your worried mind might be keeping you up at night with questions like these: “How do I know I made the right choice?”, “What do I really want?”, “How do I make the most out of my time as a student?”, “What will my life be after college?”. These questions can feel overwhelming if you are not able to see your choices in the context of your whole life.

Playbook for Life is a course designed to help you see the bigger picture of your life, provide you a place to practice thinking about the long view, so that you won’t get stuck in what you “should be” doing as a student. You will learn some powerful techniques to design your life from the inside out, so that you’re not just reacting to external demands during your time as a student at UWB – and in your career thereafter.

This course offers a framework, tools, and a community of peers where you will get to work on life planning through assigned readings, reflections, videos, and activities. While the content is going to be very personal to you, the course is highly collaborative. You will partner up with your classmates to exchange and test your ideas and you will be participating in small groups to explore some of the concepts further.

The principles from Design Thinking (Stanford Design School), Growth Mindset (Carol S. Dweck), neuroscience and professional life and leadership coaching methodologies form the foundation for this course.

I welcome students who want to engage in an honest exploration in thinking about their lives – and supporting others on the same journey.

Why Should I Take This Course?

As a college student you’re experiencing new kind of freedom. It can be exhilarating but also a bit scary. There are so many decisions to make! You’ve become the Chief Decision Maker of your life. It might get to be overwhelming unless you have built skills and capacity to deal with both the daily choices and tasks and also be strategic about your future.

If you are looking for strategies how to make choices from a more grounded place, The Playbook For Life (P4L) course is designed to serve you. The tools you will learn in the course are especially helpful in grounding you in your personal values and dreams. You will gain an understanding of the design principles that you can apply in in your life – and beyond college.

This course is like a “Possibility Room” – a place where it’s not about being right but you having the right to try out stuff. Welcome to a space where it’s OK to explore new ways of knowing, thinking and doing! You cannot do this wrong!

We will explore questions like “What if anything was possible?”, “What if money / other people’s expectations / your status / your image wasn’t an issue?” “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid of failing?”

What Will I Study?

This course is experiential. Be prepared to participate fully – it’s the only way to get value out of it! You are invited to take a serious look at your life in playful ways – all rooted in science and extensive research. You will first learn about frameworks and tools, and then be expected to test them out and apply them into your life.

This course is highly personal and social. You will be partnered up with other students to share your experiences. You will be assigned reading materials and videos – and weekly reflections about what you are learning – and maybe even unlearning. You will need to secure enough time (3-5 hours a week) to complete the assignments on your own and with your study partner.

The expectation is that you will pass the course by completing ALL assignments in a given timeframe. Please note that you will NOT pass the course if you do not complete ALL assignments.

At the end of this course, you will have a variety of tools for different “life plays”. For example, you will

  • Understand how to use structures that help you design a more fulfilling life
  • Have more clarity about your life vision and goals
  • Learn strategies to relate to others and collaborate
  • Be your authentic self with more confidence
  • Know how to approach life’s challenges with curiosity
  • Find ways to integrate self-care with ambitious study and work
  • Create habits that increase productivity and generate energy
  • Know how to be inclusive in diverse groups

We will approach everything in this course with a specific mindset defined by the following:

  • Curiosity: There is no place for self-judgment or hiding behind “I don’t know” here. You will explore with an open mind.
  • Bias toward action: Testing your ideas quickly as a “designer” requires you to put yourself out there. No place for procrastination.
  • Radical collaboration: Your brain works better when it’s connected with others. Your ideas grow stronger when you share them and develop them with others.
  • Mindfulness: Throughout your college years it is important to nurture awareness of your journey; what you are trying to do accomplish, where you are coming from, and where you are in the process.
  • Reframing: Whenever you get stuck, you learn to get unstuck by reframing. You will learn to take different and novel perspectives to problems you are trying to solve, challenges you are trying to overcome.

Selected Texts & Films

  • The core content is based on the principles from Design Thinking (Stanford University Design School, Bill Burnett & Dave Evans), Growth Mindset (Carol S. Dweck),
  • The Happiness course at Yale University, neuroscience, and life and leadership coaching methodologies.
  • Textbooks: You are not required to purchase a textbook or workbook for this course. However, since the course is modeled after “Designing Your Life” created by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, professors at Stanford University’s Design School, you can get their book and the workbook (Links to an external site.) by the same name if you prefer to follow the classes with a bit more structure.
  • Other materials and resources: I have created a playlist of YouTube (Links to an external site.) videos (TED talks by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans and other inspirational videos) for you. These select videos will help you to review what we’re doing in class, and stay on track with the required work.

Selected Projects & Activities

You will be playing to your strengths and designing your personal “Odyssey Plans”! You will be presenting some of your work along the way but the course will culminate in your final life plan products we call Odyssey Plans which you will present at the end to the course.

Professor Kristiina Hiukka, M.A. (she/her)

School of Business

About Professor Hiukka

Kristiina Hiukka (she/her), a lecturer in UW Bothell’s School of Business, has been teaching international business and globalization courses since 2016. As your professor, she’ll be drawing from her international leadership and life coaching experience hoping that you will find life in college fun and fascinating while learning some valuable life skills.


Live fascinated!

Kristiina Hiukka