Playbook for Life

Discovery Core Experience: I&S Course

BCORE 107I: Playbook for life


60-Second Syllabus: Playbook for LifeIndividuals and Societies Icon

About This Course: 

You’re now a college student. Congratulations! It’s also your entrance into adulthood where suddenly there are so many decisions to make. It can feel overwhelming if you are not able to see your choices in the context of your whole life. 

This course is designed to help you see the bigger picture of your life, explore your long view, so that you won’t get stuck in a tunnel vision of what “should be” doing as a student. You will learn powerful techniques to design your life from the inside out, not just react to external demands during your time as a student at UWB – and in your career thereafter. This class offers a framework, tools, and a community of peers where you will get to work on life planning through assigned readings, reflections, videos, and in-class exercises.

While the content is going to be very personal to you, the course is highly collaborative. You will partner up with a buddy to exchange and test your ideas and you will be participating in small groups to explore some of the concepts further.  

We are applying the principles from Design Thinking (Stanford Design School), Growth Mindset (Carol S. Dweck), neuroscience and professional life and leadership coaching methodologies.

This course is an immersive experience, not a lecture series. We 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 life, work and in your life as a student at the UWB. These tools and strategies are applicable beyond college.

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

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. You will need to secure time (3-5 hours a week) to complete the assignments on your own and with your study partner.

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

  • Have 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:

  1. Curiosity: There is no place for self-judgment or hiding behind "I don't know" here. You will explore with an open mind.
  2. Bias toward action: Testing your ideas quickly as a "designer" requires you to put yourself out there. No place for procrastination.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. I hope these videos will help you to review what we’re doing in class, and stay on track with the required work.

Selected Projects & Activities:  

Play to your strengths and Design Your Odyssey Plans! You will be presenting some of your work along the way but the course will culminate in your Odyssey Plans (3) which you will present at the end to the whole class.

Adjunct Professor Kristiina Hiukka, M.A. (pronouns here)

School of Business, Discovery Core 

Headshot of Kristiin HiukkaAbout Professor Hiukka: 

Kristiina Hiukka, a lecturer in UW Bothell’s School of Business, has been teaching senior-level courses since 2016. As she also has worked as a professional life and executive coach for over 20 years, she now wants to offer this course to help the first-year students learn some valuable life skills and be better prepared in their lives.



"Live fascinated! - Kristiina Hiukka, Adjunct Prof.