Life is complex and uncertain. If we can embrace that, it can be beautiful.
THAT WAS CANNON DESIGN ARCHITECT TRUNG LE, author of “The Third Teacher" and designer of North Shore Country Day’s new Upper School, among many other innovative educational spaces around the world, introducing our "Young Innovators" last night to about 350 students and parents.
"We often think of the future as a destination," Trung said. "But we are really amazing at creating our own futures."
We were struck that our three panelists embraced Trung’s delight in a messy and uncertain future, one that each of us can create in our own way.
Create and maintain connections: Dale talked about the importance of finding mentors and like-minded peers who encourage you to stretch and grow. Greg called a network of supporters — whether they be business partners, mentors or people you meet for coffee — “essential.” Sam keeps up with 40 friends each week, friends who stimulate thought, ideas and support each other. “You are the sum of people you spend the most time with,” she said.
Work hard and focus on goals large and small: Because Dale was unrestrained by a traditional school that emphasized tests and conformity, he created all kinds of projects and did research at earlier ages than most students. Greg likes to chronicle daily and monthly goals so he can see where’s he’s going and where he’s been. He also emphasized the value of menial labor (especially in service to someone else) as an opportunity to think and philosophize while doing a good job at something.
Travel! Meet new people, have new experiences, gain new perspectives. “Get out of your bubble!” encouraged Greg. He and Sam both emphasized that there are many travel grants and opportunities for students willing to investigate options through local non-profits, houses of worship, and their schools. Greg currently lives in Shanghai, Dale in San Francisco (although has been traveling the world for four years) and Sam in NYC (but makes frequent trips to Budapest). All have been traveling the country and world for work and school for several years, even though they are all in their early 20s.
These “Young Innovators” showed us what bright and beautiful futures look like for students of today, and life-time learners of all time.