Seven people gather around a table in a small conference room on the first floor of the University Center. Their meeting is part of a student book club operated by the office of Career and Professional Success. What follows is a discussion involving what it means to work, experiencing the flow of a task, and even a tidbit about what the participants think the meaning of life is.
This is the third meeting of the book club, which started its biweekly schedule on Sept. 7. They meet to discuss the book “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.
Sydney Starmer, the moderator of the meetings, said that the book was chosen because of the CaPS office, which used to be part of the old CLACS office on campus.
“With that change in name, we also kind of had a change in focus, to a more holistic approach of looking at your life and seeing what you can do to make it the most beneficial for you,” Starmer said. “So I think that this book went really, really well with that new messaging and new purpose of looking at your life and seeing what you really love and enjoy, and how you can turn that into a kind of a career or a bigger part of your life.”
Starmer said that the way the book club works is by “assigning a couple chapters out of the book. And then when everyone comes to book club, we go ahead and work through some of the exercises in the workbook.”
Michaela Mooney, a secondary biology education major, found out about the book club from working in the CaPS office with Starmer and was interested in attending.
“I was really interested in the concept of designing your life. And I’m all for it because I love being creative and being organized so this book sounded like it would be something for me,” Mooney said.
Mooney said that the book has been good at changing how one views their future and their decisions.
“It gives you a different perspective of, you know, one decision isn’t your end all be all. And no matter where you are in life, you can be designing your life. Whether you’re a freshman in college, or 70 years old,” Mooney said.
Laila Duncan, a Social Work major and peer success coach, joined the book club because she thought it was mandatory, but when she found out it wasn’t she decided to stay.
“It’s been really eye opening,” Duncan said. “I’ve been kind of debating on what I want to do next, and answering workbook questions while reading is really helpful, because I’m like, oh, I never thought of it that way. So it’s been really helpful.”
The experience of the book club itself has also been positive for both Mooney and Duncan
“They’re very kind people, so it’s not like a super stressful thing to be a part of. They give you plenty of time to read your chapters. And it’s really a nice experience because you’re focusing on your own life. So it’s beneficial,” Mooney said.
“I learned that it’s okay to not have my life together,” Duncan said. “That’s something I have a personal struggle with in general. We’re reading about how some of these people are in their late 30s, early 40s and still don’t have their life together. And they’re still like, trying to find out what they want. It’s been like, “Okay, take a breather, you can do it.”
Starmer said that this was definitely not going to be the last time CaPS does a book club. There are plans for another taking place during the spring semester, although with a different book. Both Mooney and Duncan said they would encourage other students to join in the future.
“1,000% yes,” Mooney said. “you’re not going to do it on your own, like, I know, I wouldn’t be doing this on my own. So it’s nice to have other people holding me accountable to taking things into my own hands and reading the book.”
“I’ve already told my friends about it,” Duncan said.
For more information, you can visit the CaPS office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in UC 120.