Students reflect on skills and milestones at the Future Me alumni workshop


In an innovative exploration of personal futures, students from the University of Turku recently participated in the Future Me alumni workshop, oraganised at the Entrepreneurial Hub Konttori. Hosted by the University of Turku alumni and futurist Anna Ryzhova, the event offered attendees a unique opportunity to apply principles of futures studies and imagine their future career paths. 

The workshop, structured around the concept of backcasting, provided participants with a systematic framework for imagining and planning their preferable futures. Based on the backcasting method, the workshop guided students through a series of exercises aimed at mapping out their future aspirations and identifying the steps needed to achieve them. 

From vision to action

The structured approach began with participants imagining their preferable future, considering various alternatives and possibilities. This initial stage encouraged students to dream big and explore the full scope of their aspirations.

Following this, the workshop transitioned to a collaborative analysis of the current situation and potential obstacles standing in the way of achieving the desirable future. Through group discussions and peer support, participants were able to gain valuable insights into the challenges they may encounter on their journey. 

Finally, participants engaged in creating timelines and scenarios outlining possible pathways towards their desired futures. These scenarios not only included key milestones but also emphasised the importance of developing relevant skills along the way. By mapping out potential trajectories and identifying skill requirements, students were empowered to take concrete steps towards realising their goals. 

Empowering students through alumni engagement

The opportunity to critically reflect on their own future was important for the workshop participants. For example, according to one participant, filling in the timetable of a random week in 2035 was a very interesting and eye-opening exercise that allowed one to break away from a fixed vision and discover hope and open possibilities ahead.

The feedback for the event was generally positive, with many students expressing a desire for the workshop to be longer and for additional networking opportunities. Responding to these suggestions, organisers will consider extending future events to accommodate more in-depth discussions and networking sessions.

One notable aspect of the workshop was the alumni touch, with alumni Anna Ryzhova returning to her alma mater to share her insights and experiences with current students. This alumni involvement not only enriched the workshop experience but also provided students with valuable mentorship and guidance as they navigate their own academic and professional journeys.

"One of my primary goals was to familiarise students with the basic principles of futures studies, enabling current students to benefit from futures studies tools to shape their future endeavours. We dedicated two hours to enhancing future-oriented thinking and broadening students' horizons of possibility. Students also reflected on how their images of the future influence their current behaviour and choices. I was happy to see inspired students after the alumni workshop, expressing gratitude for the engaging event. It motivates me to develop the workshops further," says Anna Ryzhova.

The event, organised by the University’s Alumni Relations Department, aimed to empower students by connecting with an experienced alum along with tools and frameworks for navigating the complexities of their future journeys. 

"The success of the Future Me alumni workshop underscores the value of futures studies in equipping students with the foresight and adaptability needed to thrive in an ever-changing world. With its emphasis on future-oriented thinking and personal development, the alumni workshop shows the University’s alumni relation’s commitment to empowering its students to shape their own futures together with the alumni," explains Coordinator Ameya Foujdar.


Photos: Ameya Foujdar

Created 19.04.2024 | Updated 19.04.2024