Creative Ideas for Learning Materials in Your 12-Week Session

It's summer and that means not only longer days but shorter semesters!

The class material we believe we need 15 weeks to cover, must now be addressed in 12 weeks or less. This not only forces us to make decisions about what content to cut, but we need to reconsider what assignments to make for our students, knowing that summer jobs and summer nights are competing for their attention. If your school is offering career readiness courses or career readiness modules in broader classes, I have you covered! The Pathway U companion workbook Discern Your Calling, Live Your Purpose, is a great tool for engaging your students and helping them grow during a short summer session

I previously wrote a workbook here. When used in conjunction with our PathwayU assessments, the workbook provides opportunities for students to reflect, explore career options, and journal, all leading to users:

  • Understanding their purpose
  • Making an informed choice of an occupation allowing them to live that purpose
  • Creating a “personal board of advisors” to help them through the job search
  • Coming away with a clear plan for “next steps” in pursuing their purpose through work
Summer is an ideal time for you to be guiding your students towards self-reflection and #CareerExploration. See how:Click to Tweet

The “Last Lesson” was an independent study I created to give graduating seniors one more chance to make sure they are on the right career path, and potentially change their lives given the powerful exercises embedded in the workbook. So, what's good for the college senior is good for the gander. Let’s guide and empower our students as early in their college journey as possible!

Looking Ahead to the Fall

Beginning this fall, my department will be offering a seven-week readiness module embedded as part of our college core curriculum. The Pathway U companion workbook is a key component of that module. If the workbook fits a seven-week fall curriculum, it will fit a short summer session! Let me describe the workbook and then highlight why it's so well-suited to shorter summer sessions.

The Discern Your Calling workbook is 38 pages that include multiple sections. In the first section, students complete, report, and interpret their PathwayU assessments (work interests, work values, personality, and workplace preferences). In the second section, they complete a guided exploration of careers in the context of both past experiences and their assessment results.

In the third, they craft and write their purpose statement, which is the way in which they will have a personal impact on the world given their interests and values and expressed through the career path they choose. In the final sections, they set personal goals related to actualizing their career and identify a personal board of advisors and a personal board of encouragers to help them along the way. Note that the workbook was designed based on empirically-supported best practices in career development.

I Know What you Are Doing This Summer!

While the Discern Your Calling workbook is positively received by students at any time, it has the potential to be an even more impactful summer activity. Here are some reasons why:

Discover creative ideas for learning materials in a reduced capacity for organizations offering #CareerReadiness courses this summer.Click to Tweet
  • Six or seven weeks is probably an ideal time for completing the workbook.
    While students could complete everything in a few days, the experience is most beneficial if it is something that they focus on, step away from, then come back to over a short period of time.
  • Summer is naturally a time of reflection for students.
    By May, most students just want to get through the semester. By June, many are thinking – is this really how I want to be spending my life? Is accounting that interesting? If I am going to go to medical school, shouldn’t my chemistry class be easier and more enjoyable? 
  • Summer is also when we are the most optimistic and forward-thinking.
    When I was a student, I went into each fall semester thinking I could do anything and was ready for change. Why not surround that positivity with evidence-based career planning tools?
  • Summer also provides more time and context for reflection.
    Summer moves at a slightly slower pace, so students should have more time for reflection. Encourage them to take walks, sit under a tree, or lay on their backs and look at the clouds. (Remember when we used to do those things?) Pulling their eyes from their phones will be hard for many at first, but reflection and journaling are immediately reinforcing activities. By encouraging these activities, you are not only bringing clarity to their career goals, but you may also be helping them learn a life skill.
  • Summer is also a good time for others to support your students in their career exploration. Again, we all tend to be less stressed in the summer. Thus, the mentors and cheerleaders connected to your career explorers are more likely to support them by submitting to an informational interview, giving them feedback on their purpose statement, or agreeing to serve on their personal advisory board.


Summer is an ideal time for you to be guiding your students towards self-reflection and career exploration. PathwayU’s assessments and companion workbook, Discern Your Calling, Live Your Purpose, are the perfect tools to support that journey. Summer classroom modules centered on career readiness can turn the lazy, hazy days of summer into crystal clear visions of meaningful work.

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