Website lets UI students map out life goals


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A new blog aiming to get college students to connect their jobs with their passions.

David Gould, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences associate director for student professional development, launched Ignite a Dream early this month. The blog allows students to post their dream profession or long-term goals in an open forum, on which people can respond with relevant advice.

So far, the project has released approximately 30 "dream" posts. Gould said he obtained these and 70 other dream ideas during a Life Design course he taught through the UI Leisure Studies program last fall.

"The theory behind [the Life Design] course is to take the students and help them look at the university differently, almost like a laboratory," he said. "The class is based on the idea that this is the window that you should be trying to do all of the kind of things that you can test-drive. What resonates? What fits?"

Gould said his goal is to help degree-oriented college students make connections between their need for jobs and their passions.

"Intellectually, they get it. They know that their job may be better with a degree but they don't know emotionally why they are here," he said. "They haven't connected it to what they are passionate about. There is a real responsibility that people my age have toward [younger people]. We need to be mentors; we have to give affirmation to the students."

UI sophomore Sam Stewart, who submitted his dream of becoming a video-game journalist, said he has recieved feedback.

"I didn't think [Ignite a Dream] was my thing," he said. "I didn't think I had a dream that I'd be willing to put into the public and get feedback," he said.

Stewart added has begun blogging following the suggestion of a video-game-company employee on his "dream" site.

Liberal-arts Associate Director Diane Hauser said college officials were looking for ways to help students get more from their education before Life Design's development.

"[Ignite a Dream] was a lot like [Gould's] class, Life Design," she said. "The students offered up their dreams, and the only way they could effectively bring it to campus was to create a blog."

Ignite a Dream will feature guest bloggers catered to specific students' needs, said Life Design graduate assistant Elizabeth Bledsoe.

"They acknowledge a student's specific needs, and it's a little bit more tailored to what they want to do," she said.

One current example, Gould said, includes a Pulitzer Prize-winner doing a guest blog for a student who wants to be a journalist. When the more personalized blogs arrive, Gould or one of his graduate assistants will send an alert to the relevant student.

"I have to say that Dave is instrumental in finding people who might be the professional kind of bloggers to come in and write on our blog," Hauser said. "They are usually really happy to do that and give their own professional advice."

Gould said college students can get the most help out of such advice.

"One thing about the 20-somethings is that it is so critical," he said. "Many paths that are to come before [students] … start here."

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