College enrollments continue to fall – Top 5 reasons to consider life design curriculum to counter this disconcerting pandemic trend

If you are a parent, teacher or high school administrator concerned about the falling number of high school graduates attending college, you are not alone in seeking ways to motivate teens to pursue higher education. The Associated Press article – Jaded with education, more Americans are skipping college – captures the disconcerting trends and concerns. As tuition prices soar and student debt becomes an increasingly prevalent issue, many teenagers are turning away from college altogether in favor of joining the workforce right away. For many of them, the pandemic was a double whammy – their education on Zoom was not engaging and they found jobs that provided steady income.

Per the AP, “Nationwide, undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8% from 2019 to 2022, with declines even after returning to in-person classes, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse.”

You may find yourself challenged with getting these teenage minds to understand the huge potential benefits of continuing their education beyond high school. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of five key reasons why incorporating life, career and college design education will be integral in helping students understand their options, explore different possibilities and make informed choices about their future. In order words: don’t let your teens miss out on exploring all they can become!

Mitigate/manage the financial burden of educational debt

Creating a plan to manage educational debt can be the key to financial success. Before taking out student loans, it’s important to understand exactly what type of loan is best for you, how much you need, and what you’re willing to pay back each month. Additionally, make sure to research as many scholarships and financial aid programs as possible, by filing a FAFSA form or planning a visit with the school’s financial aid officer for further advice. Community college can also be a great way to lessen the burden of educational debt; take the time to explore options within your community and talk to advisors about which credits may transfer. Lastly, consider alternative lending if you have already taken out loans but are struggling with repayment. There are countless tools available to help manage debt and create an effective life design that works both now and in the future.

Pandemic saw sharp drop on college enrollment

percent of recent high school graduates, ages 16-24, enrolled in college. Source – Associated Press.

Learn/teach life design skills that students believe prepares them for the real world

Learning the skills of life design helps teenagers create strong, meaningful futures for themselves. Rather than focusing only on college tuition and loans, life design encourages teens to think about – how they can find their purpose by connecting what they love and are good at with the world’s needs and what will pay them. Those are the four elements of the Japanese philosophy of Ikigai. Life design focuses on long-term thinking and planning, which better prepares them for lasting success in the real world. Through developing life design skills at a young age, students can develop an understanding of how to balance independence, creativity, and financial freedom while still finding future success. Life design skills help people navigate the unexpected possibilities and issues that come up throughout life – people skilled in life design are less anxious, less stressed, more creative, more productive, and happier.

Evaluating job opportunities and life aspiration with or without college degrees

Knowing what career path to choose can be tricky. It’s hard to explore what pathways will be available and what debt you’ll have to pay off. Although immediate compensation is important, it’s essential to also consider the long-term implications of any financial decision. That being said, it doesn’t make sense to take on a job that you don’t enjoy just because it pays a lot– life isn’t worth living if your work isn’t satisfying. Instead of being hyper-focused on immediate payment and security alone, taking advantage of opportunities to explore the unknown may lead to more valuable and meaningful experiences in the future. Taking time to evaluate your job prospects carefully while considering immediate vs long-term compensation, satisfaction, and optionality can help you find the right fit.

From the AP – “Fewer college graduates could worsen labor shortages in fields from health care to information technology. For those who forgo college, it usually means lower lifetime earnings — 75% less compared with those who get bachelor’s degrees, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. And when the economy sours, those without degrees are more likely to lose jobs.”

Mentors, passion projects, and communities of interest provide valuable experience

College is a great avenue to develop skills and knowledge, however, it is not the only path to success. Recognizing this reality, mentorship can help teenagers build experiences, passion projects can spark something worthwhile, and communities of interest can expand access for finding mentors as well as like-minded individuals who share a common cause. By carving out time for mentorship and hands-on experiences or following one’s passions by investing in them, teens may gain valuable experience that will guide them on their life journey before, during, and after college. This type of thoughtful exploration of pursuits, done in a proven and structured curriculum, will open doors that are just as meaningful as college without the debt – demonstrating that there can be immense value in continuously creating a person’s own individualized life design.

Build career mentor networks while in high school

Finding the right mentors and building career-oriented networks before graduating high school is paramount to teenage success. Teens should explore what’s out there and access beyond their known people for expert collaborators. Bigger, diverse opportunities exist with in-person and virtual approaches. Reaching out to professionals in different facets of a particular field can provide direction as well as first-hand understanding about what a dream career entails. With research, curiosity and dedication, teens can create powerful mentorships that facilitate insightful learning experiences to create a life design of their aspirations.

As we have seen, teenagers can prepare for both the short-term and long-term reality of job opportunities before making a decision about college. Debt can be mitigated with education, skill development, and good decision-making. Learning how to design a life that maximizes one’s passion, interests, and strengths — instead of purely focusing on building career skills — is a valuable approach for teens who naturally want to take their lives into their own hands. In these unusual times, the world needs young people who can think outside the box more than ever. Therefore, actively seeking out mentors and communities of interest is an integral part of creating a successful career path, so students should begin building their networks now.

It is our mission at to ensure every student has access to a personalized plan, meaningful mentoring, hands-on projects, and community so if you are interested in exploring this route please sign up for a free 1:1 consultation with our life design experts to learn more about how we motivate teens, guide them to find their direction and improve their college application outcomes and experiences. We believe in developing talent through personal growth and self-reliance— regardless of traditional academic or economical circumstances — and are committed to helping young adults create their life designs that become their personal success stories.

Joelle Kaufman<br>
Joelle Kaufman

Revenue Catalyst | Optimizes Everything in Go-To-Market (GTM)

How Ikigai can help teenagers find a purpose

Ikigai for teenagers

Ikigai. There’s no one way to properly describe what ikigai means; it’s a little bit of an emotion and a little bit of a state of being. But loosely translated, ikigai embodies the idea of happiness in living. It’s what drives you and wakes you up every morning with a sense of purpose. But it’s so much more than that too. 

What is the meaning of ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept, compounding two words: iki (生き) meaning life or alive and kai (甲斐), pronounced gai, meaning an effect, result, fruit, worth or use. To summarize, it’s something that gives a person a sense of purpose or a reason for living. On a much deeper level, it’s a self-reflection process. Knowing your ikigai means understanding yourself, your values and what serves you in the real world.

But why are we telling you about this? Well, ikigai can play an important role in defining your life as a teenager and potentially answering one of the most crucial questions that you inherently ask yourself: what is my purpose?

The good part is that you’re not alone. Many more young learners and teenagers like yourself are plagued by what to study next, what to do, will I do well as a dancer, doctor, scientist, engineer, artist, or any other passion you want to explore.

As a young learner, ikigai can shape your motives and help you find your true passion. It can even serve as a way of finding the ‘why’ behind your actions and make you wonder whether it’s something that brings you joy or not. There’s really no better way to truly know yourself than by asking all the right (or wrong) questions. In fact, several studies have found that following the path of ikigai not only gives people clarity in their vision but also provides long-term health benefits too!

Ikigai for teenagers

What is ikigai not?

Now that we know what ikigai is, it’s important to note that it’s not as simple as “following your passion”. A few simple factors differentiate ikigai from the latter: 

  • Ikigai is challenging. It involves a lot of perseverance and personal growth. 
  • Ikigai is a choice. You must feel responsible for your choice and journey.
  • Ikigai demands commitment. It’s a process that takes time and effort, and you won’t see a difference overnight.
  • Ikigai boosts your well-being. It encourages positive relationships and good health, leaving you with more energy to do what you really love.

How do I practice ikigai at a young age?

Life as a teenager can be filled with curveballs, full of emotions, excitement, impulsive decisions, and a lot of confusion. As a teenager, you are at the cusp in your life where you need to decide on a career, find a path, and so much more. It is at this stage that many end up blindly following unrealistic passions and wind up feeling discouraged when their dreams don’t materialize. Many others will resign themselves to careers that bring them money and status but no joy or fulfillment. The end goal of practicing ikigai as a teenager is to, as Mark Twain rightly said, ‘find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life’. 

Now, you must be wondering how you can make this happen? Here’s how. First, start your journey by asking yourself these five crucial questions:

  • What does my best day look like? (Your perfect day, which brings you happiness)
  • What’s keeping me stagnant? (Is it your insecurities, fear, or doubts?)
  • What comes easy for me? (When you feel that time has passed so quickly you didn’t even realize it) 
  • Who am I when alone? (Tap into your true inner self)
  • How can I help someone today? (Something you can offer another that also makes you happy) [Side note: An NPR research found that a teen’s self-esteem rises after volunteering or helping strangers] 

These questions might seem philosophical or too deep to answer but they’ll go a long way in helping you find your calling. This is because ikigai for teens addresses inner crises and gently nudges them towards their goals. Answering all the above questions will help lay a rock-solid foundation and guide you in finding your passion or career.

Can ikigai help me find a career path?

Yes! Ikigai can help you navigate not just your life decisions but your career as well. Here are a few things you can follow to help you along the way: 

Seek answers

Start by writing down these questions on a piece of paper and try to answer each one of them with as much honesty as possible:

  • What do you love to do?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need?
  • What can you be rewarded for?

It’s good if you have all the answers, but it’s okay even if you don’t. Give yourself the time to think about them and answer them over time. 

Let’s take for example that you’re an artist who loves to tell stories. You’ll realize that you have many career options to choose from such as an illustrator, a writer, a painter, or a filmmaker. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way of finding purpose. There’s only your way. So, don’t be too quick to judge yourself. You can always add, remove, and modify your ikigai along the way.

It’s not a race against time

Ikigai is not about getting things right or becoming a millionaire. Instead, it’s about your personal growth and finding the right place for yourself in the scheme of things. Remember not to pressurize yourself along the way. But always be curious; it will take you a long way. With some trial and error, you will be able to uncover your purpose and passion.

Let your ikigai be the north star for you. And never forget, it is a process and it will take time.

Discover your ikigai with Power Club’s Real-World Learning

At Power Club, teenagers can immerse themselves in real-world experiences to explore their interests and passions, and discover what they truly want to do. We enable real-world learning with the power of challenges created by global experts.

You can get started by exploring challenges across domains like entrepreneurship, design, sustainability, and many more. Interact with industry experts and find like-minded global peers who share common interests.

Preparing Learners for the Future of Work

future or work
The Future of Work is evolving rapidly and young learners will need to equip themselves with life skills that go beyond academic learning.

‘What do you want to do in life when you complete school?’ A majority of learners across the world are unsure of how to answer this question.

While schools stress over subjects and good grades, the foundations to prepare them for the real world are missing.

A significant percentage of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. 

There’s another reality to think about – our current school learners will be the ones who will create many of these jobs. 

In a rapidly evolving work landscape, it is essential for them to take charge and equip themselves with life skills that will make them future-ready. But are they up for the challenge?

Learning for the Future

A publication by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says that young learners are in fact studying more than their parents and grandparents did, and yet when it comes to work, they struggle to enter the job market.

Saurabh Saxena, the founder of Power Club, a Career Development and College Admissions Program for 8-12th graders, says we need to do more to prepare them. “The future of work is very dynamic. It demands multiple skills in every role and the traditional teaching techniques are not enough to fill the gap.”

The next generation of citizens will require not just strong academic skills, but also important future-ready skills such as leadership, empathy, curiosity, creativity, imagination, and resilience, among others to succeed in life.

Also, if they are to create jobs and bring more innovations to the world, it’s important for them to develop a sense of purpose and stay connected with it. 

Finding a Calling

So what is preventing learners from discovering what they truly want to do in life?

“A number of reasons – they are not aware of their passion, they are not taught to take risks in life, they are not asking for help and most importantly, they do not know what new-age career prospects they can pursue,” says Saurabh.

In short, they cannot be what they cannot see. 

Another OECD study in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, that followed groups of young learners from childhood to adulthood, showed that the ones who combined part-time employment with full-time education fared better in their school-to-work transitions. A recent survey says that a staggering 93% of students are aware of only 7 mainstream career options in India as compared to over 250 different types of job options available in the market.

“Only when learners are exposed to the real-world, they discover their passion. But it is not necessary to enter the job market even before completing education to do this. What they need is real-world learning,” says Saurabh. 

The Age of Awareness

The good news is that they are eager to learn.

Scholars Seemiller and Grace say that ‘Generation Z’ considers itself thoughtful, open-minded, and more socially aware. It welcomes hands-on learning opportunities that help them learn in more engaging and contextual ways.

Teens need inspiration and guidance from industry experts to find their calling when it comes to the future of work. Power Club enables teens to immerse themselves in real-world learning experiences in domains like Entrepreneurship, Tech, Design, Sustainability and more.

“So many of us struggle throughout our lives to find our “Ikigai”, a sweet spot where you pursue something that you are good at, that you love to do, that the world needs, and something that you can be paid enough for. At Power Club, each learner has the opportunity to discover all these elements early on in their life,” he adds.

10 Teenpreneurs who’re changing the world with their ideas


Age is just a number when you are filled with passion. This fact doesn’t only apply to old age. Teenpreneurs from across the world are defying the notions of age too.

Building and running a business is often considered to be the job of someone experienced. People don’t take teenagers seriously or believe they can have the skills to run a successful business.

If you also think a teenager cannot become an entrepreneur, you’re mistaken.

You may lack experience, but you certainly don’t lack ideas, creativity, and a fearless attitude. Your innovative mind and the desire to do something are enough to put you in the shoes of an entrepreneur.

Don’t believe it? 

Let’s introduce you to some of the teenpreneurs rocking the world of entrepreneurship. They have not only made a mark with their innovative ideas but also earned millions. From healthcare to fashion, no field is untouched by these teenage entrepreneurs. 

Read on for some inspiring tales of teenprenuers who are changing the world with their ideas. The future might be waiting for you to be on this list.

Nikhiya Shamsher: Fighting Oral Cancer with QuitPuff


14-year-old Nikhiya of Bengaluru was left shaken by the plight of an oral cancer survivor. It led her to find the real reason for the high mortality rate among oral cancer patients: delay in detection. Moreover, these patients had to bear a lot of physical, emotional, and financial stress.

To solve this grave problem, she went on to invent a low-cost device called QuitPuff, which can detect the risk of developing oral cancer.

Initially, her project wasn’t taken seriously because she was ‘young’, but she kept trying. She has tested the device in hospitals and keeps working on improving the device to launch it in the market. She has also received many awards and research grants that help her sustain the project.

Langston Whitlock: Helping Elderly Have a Safe Trip

After learning that the homeless and elderly were facing transportation problems to get to medical appointments, Langston got the idea of building the ride-sharing app, SafeTrip, in 2018.

His app lets patients, caretakers, and healthcare providers book medical transportation. Moreover, the payment for the rides can also be made using insurance. Safe Trip has raised $2.3 million in funding and crossed revenue of $3.4 million.

Now 20 years old, Langston leads a team of people older than him. His company not only provides safe and affordable rides but also trains high school seniors to become SafeTrip drivers after graduation.

Sreelakshmi Suresh: Hobby to Web Design Agency

Designing websites used to be a hobby for 11-year-old Sreelakshmi. She decided to turn it into a full-fledged business and founded eDesign Technologies. 

Starting from the website for her school, she has designed websites for over 250 clients over 8 years. Her clientele includes some reputed names. Her business thrives mainly from word-of-mouth. 

Femi Adebogun: Simplifying Scholarships Application

Financing education is a big problem in the USA, and Femi took it upon himself to solve it. He founded ScholarMe, at 16, to simplify how high school and college students paid their tuition fees.

His website allows students to apply for all their financial aid at a single place that too cost-effectively. So far, his company has got funds of $4.2 million from 8 investors.

Interestingly, he hired remote employees and tried to hide his age, but eventually, they found out when the company won an award.

Hriday Dhand: Caring for the Health of Vegans

13-year-old Hriday from a family of vegans got concerned about the lack of critical nutritional values in their diet. After some research, he came up with the idea for his nutritional supplement product, Strength-O-Seeds. 

His product, made from dried fruits and seeds, aims to help vegans fulfil their daily protein and other nutrients requirements. He has also discussed his business plan with the chairman of the Marico group (a leading consumer goods brand).

Erin Smith: Small Observation to Big Idea


While watching a video, 16 years old, Erin observed something that would shape FacePrint.

She noticed that Parkinson’s patients’ laughs or smiles seem emotionally distant. This led her to build FacePrint – a diagnostic system that captures changes in facial expressions to diagnose and monitor disorders like Parkinson’s.

Her technology is undergoing clinical trials at Stanford University. She has also received support and funding from some pharmaceutical companies. 

Brandon and Sebastian Martinez: Socking Millions

11-year-old Sebastian’s obsession with patterned socks gave birth to Are You Kidding Socks. The Martinez brothers started designing socks and, with the help of their mother, found a manufacturer. 

Their socks became a hit and even made them appear on the show Good Morning America. The company sold $1 million worth of socks. They also launched a Charity Socks collection which shares a portion of sales with charitable partners.

Their future plans include the expansion of their business to manufacturing t-shirts, hats, and shoes.

Ananya Gupta: Driving Change with Grit Parity

Karnataka-based high school student Ananya is a gender equality advocate. Her observation that there is a lack of equal gender representation in school textbooks led her to build a tool called Grit Parity.

Grit Parity is a platform where you can upload your textbook to check whether the book has equal gender representation. Her goal is to ensure the education system facilitates gender equality not just in India but the world over. 

She has also received funding from Amazon Web Services and plans to expand her work internationally.

Kenan Pala: Creating Impact through Kids4Community

Kenan from San Diego has been passionate about helping others. He was surprised to find that he could not volunteer for a lot of causes as he was underage. Like him, many other kids also wanted to volunteer. 

He took the matter into his own hands and founded his non-profit organisation Kids4Community, where any kid can volunteer. So far, he has raised over $1 million from charitable events, corporates donations for various causes to support the community.

He plans to hand over the organisation to his younger brother once he enrols in college.

Ayushi Aggarwal: Making STEM Accessible 

16-year-old Ayushi is the founder of an international non-profit organisation Unknown16. Her organisation runs projects to help young girls and underprivileged children develop a passion for STEM subjects.

Unknown16 encourages children to develop ideas to solve social issues and become leaders of tomorrow. Ayushi has also been invited to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit and gained support for her initiative all over.

Sky’s the limit for you

All these teenprenuers are proof that you have all the power to achieve whatever you want. 

From making a difference in the world to making profits, your passion and your ideas have all it takes to build your career as an entrepreneur. So, what are you waiting for?

Start connecting with other teens who are passionate about entrepreneurship on Power Club today!

Jobs in 2030: 10 Predictions to Make You Future-Ready

The world has changed beyond our imagination over the last few years, especially since the pandemic. When you think of 2030, you might feel overwhelmed thinking what else might unfold in the coming years. VUCA is a term increasingly being used in the context of global business environment. VUCA stands for Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous.

Every field of work has undergone a lot of change in the VUCA world. And there’s more uncertainty than ever as to what the future holds for all of us.

You must be wondering if you’re on the right track. Do your passions align with future jobs? Are your skills future-ready? If not, what do you need to do to future-proof your career?

You are about to find out.

The Future of Jobs in 2030

As per a report by McKinsey, although the rise in automation and artificial intelligence will eliminate many jobs, technology is bringing exciting job opportunities in your way.

Many leading agencies have been studying the trends in technology, economics, and society to predict what jobs may look like in the year 2030. Here’s what to expect in the next few years.

  1. The healthcare sector is unfolding more jobs opportunities

The pandemic has brought our healthcare systems to the center stage. The demand for healthcare providers is rising worldwide due to an increase in illnesses. As more people focus on their health, the demand for wellness practitioners is growing. In addition, new jobs are emerging in the geriatric care and pet care domains.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the healthcare sector will add millions of jobs, especially high-paying ones, in the next decade.

  1. The best of technology is yet to come

The growth of technology has been at a supersonic speed in the last few years. But, the best is yet to come. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, 6G mobile networks, blockchain, and many other technological advancements will transform the nature of many jobs.

  1. Administrative and support jobs will gradually disappear

Automation of work has been taking over the administration and support roles. As the organisations continue to adopt new technology for customer support, bookkeeping, and other such tasks, these jobs will be lost over the next 10 years.

  1. Remote work will be the norm

Recently, companies have had to adopt remote work culture as they had no choice due to the pandemic. However, remote work culture is predicted to become common all over the world in the near future.

Seeing the benefits of remote work, many major companies like Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, and Infosys have allowed permanent remote work for as much as 50% of their employees. Other companies are also set to go remote soon. 

  1. More people are going to freelance full-time

The younger generation is finding 9 to 5 jobs dull. Thanks to the flexible working hours and job location, more and more youngsters prefer working as full-time freelancers. Also, creative freedom along with the high-income potential is popularising the freelance landscape.

  1. Softs skills will be high in demand

Artificial intelligence will indeed wipe off many jobs, but still, it won’t replace human intelligence. Interpersonal communication, decision-making, problem-solving – these are some skills that will continue to be very high in demand in the future.

  1. Online learning will continue to boom

Online education has been pacing up for some time. The pandemic forced it to accelerate even further. By 2030, we’ll see online education become more personalised, immersive, and interactive with the introduction of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies.

  1. ‘Passion’ economy will thrive

Social media has given a voice and new ways to earn money to artists, craftspeople, and people passionate about a particular thing. With the growth of technology, people adopting their unconventional passion as a career will continue to rise.

UNESCO also recognises the contribution of creative pursuits in economic growth and promotes a creative economy as a part of their sustainable development goals for 2030.

  1. Digital marketing will not stop growing

As more and more businesses go digital in the future, digital marketing is going to be essential for brands to attract and retain customers. People who can create content, build and manage digital campaigns, and study audience behaviour online will continue to be in demand.

  1. You’ll need to keep skilling up

The future is all set for major transformations. You won’t be able to escape it. So, you’ll have to adapt and upskill to not just survive but thrive.

Future-Proofing Your Career

The world is changing fast and you’re not alone in feeling uncertain about what the future holds. These predictions are hinting at a future dominated by technology, creativity, and soft skills.

As we approach 2030, the key to future-proofing your career is to learn futuristic skills and adapt continuously. To take the future head-on, you need to work on your passions, and actively design your life pathways. The Power Club ecosystem enables ambitious and curious teenagers to do just that. By interacting with industry experts, and collaborating with global peers on real world projects, you get to test drive future careers and build your own unique future pathways.

All the reasons why project-based learning is the future

project based learning

Project-Based Learning not a brand-new concept. It’s been around since before formal education was normalised. This concept, called project-based learning, is simply a method of learning that heavily depends on problem-solving and innovating through practical application. Let’s understand this better.

What is project-based learning?

The project-based learning model is the method of learning and grasping new knowledge through practical and project-based methods. Further, it’s known to help learners acquire deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems.

While textbooks give you the conceptual foundations, real-world experiences give you the wings to fly and discover what you want to be. The conventional learning paradigm has a one-way flow of pre-prepared information. On the contrary, project-based learning or problem-based learning lets you discover interests and passions via a whole new world of innovation and creativity.

Simple examples of project-based learning activities include creating volcanos, monuments, or even solar systems for school projects. Finding solutions to environmental issues, pitching an innovative business idea are also some examples. Now that we know what it is, let’s dive into understanding how PBL helps young learners like yourself in the long run. 

Advantages of project-based learning

Focuses on critical thinking and problem-solving

Project-based learning is essentially an inquiry-based method of learning that relies on solving problems through projects assigned to learners. In the long run, it enables you to view things critically in order to arrive at a solution that works. These skills go a long way in making you confident, job-ready and equipped for the future.

Builds Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTs)

Lower Order Thinking Skills or LOTs include remembering, recalling, understanding, and applying. On the other hand, skills such as analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, and creating are categorized as HOTs. When broken down, HOTs include everything from creativity, sense of inquiry, problem-solving, teamwork, and so many more skills. Moreover, these skills play a big role in shaping your future as they enable you to find your expression in the world and are better equipped to overcome challenges.

Accommodates a variety of learning styles

Every learner prefers a style of learning that suits them best. Project-based learning takes this very fact into account and allows you to work to your own advantage or capabilities. How? While project-based learning gives you a problem to solve or a project to complete, the method by which you choose to arrive at the end is entirely up to you. You can work to your strengths and build more specific interests over time.

Promotes independent learning and creativity

The ability to learn independently and test one’s creative boundaries is a skill often credited to this learning method (PBL). In this method, you are given the opportunity and tools to think out of the box and arrive at unconventional solutions to real-world problems presented before you. This not only sets you apart from the crowd but helps boost your confidence too.  

Encourages self-determined and self-directed learning

Through projects, you are given the canvas to explore and solve real-world challenges that require critical thinking. Something as simple as designing a marketing campaign for a sneaker launch can build a lifelong love for communication, maybe designing or even creative writing! It not only helps you build a deeper understanding of a concept but also encourages self-directed and self-determined learning. This, in turn, gives you all the necessary tools to understand your innate strengths and interests.

Challenges your limits

Real-world experiences teach learners skills such as resilience, divergent thinking, and perseverance. In the real world, you as a learner, get to express your unique opinions, approaches, and ideas. When you work on projects, there are no boundaries to expressing creativity. To take it further, it even allows you to push your limits and come up with 50 different solutions to a single problem, which then leads to innovation! 

Makes learning fun

A very important factor to take into consideration is that often young learners struggle to grasp complex theories, lose interest quickly, and can’t quite put 2 and 2 together. By following a project-based learning model,  you get to find your unique ways to obtain the same knowledge. Projects become intrinsically fun, engaging, and interesting. This definitely contributes in removing the intimidation that traditional learning methods often come with. 

At this point, you must have asked yourself this question at least once: Are there any downsides to this method? Let’s take a look.

Disadvantages of project-based learning

Requires time for research and implementation

Since project-based learning does not follow the rules of traditional learning, it can sometimes be hard to put a timeline to it. Learners should be given sufficient time to explore their ideas and creativity before arriving at a solution. 

Poses challenges for educators

In order to incorporate a project-based learning model into the curriculum, instructors have to drastically shift their teaching methodologies. They must find a means of assessing a student’s performance and take into consideration factors such as tasks completed, overall work, manner of arriving at a solution, communication among fellow students and team members, etc. Especially since it does not follow traditional assessment guidelines.

At Power Club, we enable career discovery through Challenges designed by Industry Experts. These are based on real-world scenarios and aim to equip the learners with core cognitive skills and contextual skills in a range of domains like Sustainability, Design, Engineering, and many more.

Is project-based learning effective?

We’ve read about the pros and cons but is project-based learning really that effective? The answer is subjective. Because the method of teaching and learning is both dependent on the teacher and learner respectively, the outcome may vary for all. Some learners thrive with a project-based learning model, where practical implementation of knowledge plays a key role. Keep in mind that every learner is different and what works for one may not work for the other. 

That said, problems-based learning or project-based learning is a great way to become an industry-fit professional and a resilient individual. A cycle of reflection and creation enables learners to identify their strengths and improve their skills. Just as one cannot learn cycling until they sit on a cycle, merely knowing a domain doesn’t add any value until you start exploring it.

Learners can start by exploring and then deep diving into fields that interest them and start creating micro-projects to test their affinity. In the long run, these challenges will help groom them not just for a job or career, but for the world beyond!

Why Discovery of Passion is Deeply Linked to Teenage Years

how teenagers can find passion

Did you know a 16-year-old invented a pancreatic cancer detector, and a 19-year-old has launched a massive Ocean cleanup project? Stories of teen creators and thought leaders are aplenty. This begs the question – are teens more passionate than the world gives them credit for?

While most associate teenage years with being lazy and clicking selfies, in reality, GenZ is full of creativity and resilience.

Take for example Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who organized the “Fridays for Future” school strike for climate and got the world to start talking about the looming threat of climate change. The teenager admits to being ‘painfully shy’, and yet she sparked a global movement with her determination!

Inside the Mind of a Teenager

For several years, the teenage mind has fascinated researchers. Many studies have shown that adolescence is a time when the propensity for taking risks is the highest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, given that it pushes the boundaries of creativity and divergent thinking.

While many adults are conditioned by their environment to think in one pattern, adolescents seldom have such mental blockers. You’ll often find grown-ups focusing on things they cannot achieve or what cannot be done. To a teenage mind, however, every problem can be solved!

That’s why one sees so many teens today at the forefront of social movements, leading entrepreneurial projects and injecting energy and new ideas into public life.

According to scientists, the teenage brain is at a unique neurological stage. It retains the creativity of childhood years and at the same time, also starts gaining the adult ability to make social connections, and discover interests.

Their mind adapts quickly and has immense potential for learning. It’s a golden time to explore and figure out a passion!

The Road to Self Discovery

It’s a time when you start noticing your natural abilities and things that interest you. Take this opportunity to figure out who you are as an individual, separate from the family tribe, and as a person with a unique personality.

Self-discovery is a constant learning journey. It means finding your purpose in life (it takes time but we all get there!), it means digging deep and understanding the experiences and ideas that shape you. It means realizing what your values and beliefs are and living by them.

This road to self-discovery includes happiness, self-awareness, clarity and sometimes even enlightenment!

Think about what excites you and start exploring your interests. It will even help you answer the age-old question: ‘What am I passionate about?’

While some teens may be naturally inclined to think about life’s big questions, others may need a little encouragement. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What am I good at?
  • Which activities bring me happiness?
  • What are my personal characteristics?
  • Who do I aspire to be like?

While not everything in your teenage years is linked to self-discovery and figuring out a passion, being mindful of how you spend your time and being open to experiences can shape your future like nothing else can!

Start with small passion projects. If dancing, singing or performing arts excite you, go ahead and learn them. In case making and editing videos are your forte, open a YouTube channel. If writing brings you joy, start with a blog.

Try out new hobbies, join a class and do things that make you happy. Amid all this, you are sure to find your Ikigai – your raison d’etre!

Generation Side Hustle: How the gig economy is preparing teenagers for the Future of Work

side hustle

High school students across the world got creative during the pandemic lockdown as they discovered new hobbies & passion projects and turned them into a side hustle.

While there were some who were busy binge-watching Netflix (remember the “Tiger King” phase?), there were many more who were selling crafts, making candles, and even selling customized poetry to make extra cash.

With abundant tech platforms available, it has never been easier to start a side hustle

You can sell your art on Instagram. Set up a Shopify store in a matter of minutes. Offer to develop websites using code-free platforms such as Wix or Squarespace or provide design services using Canva. 

The opportunities are endless. So is the growth.

A New Way to Learn

For decades, teenagers have formed the backbone of entry-level jobs such as serving food at restaurants or working as shop assistants. While these jobs help pay some bills, growth and learning opportunities are limited.

A great thing about the gig economy is that it welcomes everyone with open arms – even those who have no prior experience.

It’s a perfect starting point for teenagers who are looking to express their creativity and find out what they are passionate about. 

It is also an innovative way to learn new skills outside of academic knowledge.

According to UNICEF, more than half of South Asian youth do not have the skills necessary for employment in 2030. Another report says that young adults in the US lack important soft skills, like critical thinking and teamwork, needed to succeed at the workplace.

A hustle is a great way to fill the gap.

It teaches you to be entrepreneurial and life skills such as communication, money management and many more. In fact, a survey by Girls With Impact says that 53% of Gen Z expect they would be running their own companies -affirming the entrepreneurial spirit of this generation.

Even if you don’t start your own business, skills learnt from a hustle are valuable and are easily transferable across various career paths.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development agrees. It conducted a study in Australia, the UK and the US, and found that teenagers who combine part-time work with full-time education did better than expected in their school-to-work transitions.

So where does one start?

Getting a Head Start into the Future of Work

The first step is to explore what you are good at. Think about long-term projects and goals that can bring fulfilment. It gets you in a future-focused mindset and helps with discovering what you are truly passionate about.

Next, you can turn that into an amazing portfolio of work. Even without any prior experience, you can hop on to various gig platforms and start taking assignments. Within a few months, you will have a solid portfolio to demonstrate your talent.

Going forward, a portfolio is set to become more valuable than a professional degree. It’s a real-time showcase of your creative expression, talent and skills.

Shape your own career path, instead of choosing conventional streams. Tap into the gig economy to get started on your dream job!

The end of education

wooden letter blocks in wooden boxes

NASA conducted a famous study on the creative genius of humans to measure how creative we remain over the years of getting “educated”. What is the role of “divergent thinking” in preserving and nourishing one of the most important skills for us: “Creativity”?

The test results were shocking: 98% of 5-year-old children fell into the “genius category of imagination”, this number dropped to 12% for 15-year-olds and to 2% for adults. What the education system doing to our brains, our sheer capacity to imagine, stay curious, and being creative, is shocking, to say the least. All of us know that we are still sending children to schools and tuitions to make them ready for jobs, train them to test, and get admissions into colleges. What we don’t realize is, that in the process, all of us, and now our children are losing their most natural and precious skills.

To drive the point further why not revisit the famous TED talk by none other than Dr Ken Robinson:

The Covid pandemic has given all of us, parents, educators a break from traditional ways of thinking about education. But are we really doing that? Or are we looking for mere replacements of the existing system, online? If technology merely replicates the traditional offline systems online, it will fail us at an even larger scale.

The traditional classroom has always focused on “convergent thinking”, where a Teacher gives information, learners absorb it, and then take some tests to confirm if they have retained it. Not to say that all classrooms are ineffective, there are some great teachers who can inspire and break away from the mold. It’s not the teacher’s fault, it’s the way the system is designed to work, that’s the root of the problem. Our incessant reliance on “Instructionism” has failed us. Instructionism’s focus on information rather than human skill development and its tendency to objectify, quantify learning in information-centric data is the sign of its feeble foundation.

Every parent wants their children to find their passion, discover their talent, and develop skills to succeed in this world, find the joy of expression & creation while thriving materially. No one can deny that. We all discuss how the future is so uncertain and what kind of skills will our children need to thrive? A system focussed on information, instruction, and convergent thinking will not take our children there, well prepared.

What they need is an open canvas to throw in their ideas, to paint a picture that may not make sense to us, but will lead them to divergent thoughts and creations that are far beyond our imagination. Information will only help to a certain degree, imagination, creation, problem solving, and application will lead them to the future with aplomb. Constructionism focusses on applied knowledge, generating ideas, solving problems, inventing products, creating worlds that have not been imagined before.

Our focus needs a fundamental shift:

From Instructionism → Constructionism

From Convergent thinking → Divergent thinking

From Information → Imagination

From Content → Skills

If we want our learners to retain their creativity and hunger to solve problems in the future like climate change, growing population, pollution, economic crisis, create products, and generate ideas that will take the human race further, this is the time to make this shift.

Imagine a world where teens and kids will be free to wander, explore, work on real-world problems, projects, ideas with peers, with experts and find solutions fuelled by their curiosity, imagination, and creativity and become adults without losing these inherent strengths. Where they are creators, makers, inventors, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs who will change the world, rather than pupils sitting in a classroom, offline or online, absorbing information and data like machines, and reproducing it to clear tests!

Don’t you think we deserve this kind of a world, now?