Journey to the Unknown

The Learning Journey requires internal motivation and vision, with those lacking purpose like a boat floating in an ocean.

Photo of Pam Schoessling
6 7

Written by

I see traveling the ocean on a raft or other mismatched boat much like some college students' experience of transitions through higher education.  Planning and preparation are key.  Otherwise they might end up like the Titanic; thinking they are unsinkable, but"stuff" happens and they sink.

Consider their truly limited understanding of the journey, with it's challenges and so many choices.  The future may not be clear as they stand on the shore of leaving high school. The distant land of life after college isn't visible and their route isn't clearly marked. The intricate challenges of learning about self and the world at large as adulthood looms ahead, which combines with pressures of finances, family, or friends.  Institutionally, we may have the tools, maps, and crew for their smooth sailing; but they are the captain of their future and sometimes ill equipped for the journey. 

For some students, the lack of a compass for direction toward a major also keeps them floating at the whims of mood or external factors. If they do have a major, the direction may have been chosen by an external person or "limiting belief."  Then they may seem like they are in motor boats with potential to get to a destination they may not like,  and their boats are slowed down while dragging a big heavy anchor.  Perhaps they arrive at some uninhabitable island or land that is unsuitable for their needs; much like those students who complete a major or career path that does not serve them well upon graduation.

Storms or obstacles underwater seem like the challenges of personal life or difficult classes that can bring academic life to a halt or move it off course. Resilience comes easier for those more prepared and for those who know where they are going and why.

The landing point is key for charting the course, as it helps to know how to prepare for the waters or what supplies to bring.  The destination also invites the captain to pay attention to the best ways to propel forward, such as fuel and strong motors or large sails to work with the wind. Taking the time to know where they want to arrive after graduation and using inner energy as fuel for the journey, directly impacts the college students' journey in higher education.  Discovering life purpose and creating a vision for the future directly impacts planning and actions for engaging and excelling in college.


[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

Intrinsic motivation or purpose gives reason for why all the effort is worth it and is a needed source of energy for autonomy, self-determination, self-efficacy, persistence, and resilience.

6 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Ellen Deutscher

Beautiful analogy. :)

View all comments