Life stories about challenges and decisions
A couple of weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to create a Day of Learning at Eindhoven during the World Design Event. Based on the topic Hack your mindset to revolve your life, we carried out short interviews with attendants of the Dutch Design Week at Ketelhuisplein. We asked them for short stories where they had experienced challenges in their lives and asked them to tell us how they overcame them, what they learned and what they will recommend for other people going through similar situations in their lives.
I am proud to say that we collected 10 very interesting stories among people of different ages and backgrounds. Some of them didn’t want to share their names, so we'll leave those in anonymity.
Enjoy the following stories, given by all these authentic people who were brave enough to share their experience and advice with us all!
About having opportunities as a young person
Maria had worked at the Phillips factory in Eindhoven since a young age, approximately 45 years back. Back then, her opportunities were limited and she had to work to make a living. After a couple of years she got married and had children, but after raising them, she went back to work for another 20 years until her retirement. Maria's advice is that if you have the possibility, take advantage of your youth, travel the world, study what you want and be free!
About building a competitive skillset
Cecile and her group of friends are going through the University. Cecile is studying Communication and Multimedia design and for her, it is challenging to create websites, and she still needs help from her professors. However, she has the vision to learn HTML, to create her own portfolio and get an internship to work outside The Netherlands.
About finding the correct career
This young man has had some struggles in finding the correct professional career for him. He first began studying to become a primary school teacher, then he changed his career to become an English teacher, but this wasn’t what he wanted either. He decided to take a year off and began working while he decided what he really wanted, which he discovered to be journalism. It was a tough decision, his father was not happy about him changing career, but he had a lot of support from his girlfriend at the time and his mother.
About finding the strength to overcome the loss of a loved one
This brave young woman has had a difficult time dealing with the loss of her grandmother, who she grew up with, and who died about 3 years ago. At the time, it was difficult for her to be able to move on with her life, and she even had some health issues. She realized that she needed help and that it was good to ask for it. She has had a lot of support from her boyfriend, friends, and family, and now she is even able to talk about it and finds it therapeutical to share her story.
About overcoming fear
Roald, a young man from Germany, joined the fire brigade. During his first 2 weeks, he felt inadequate for the job as he had to deal with wounded people and even with dead bodies. He sought advice from his colleagues and told them how he was feeling. They told him that he needed to work on it and make progress, they shared their experiences with him and gave him support.
About making life-changing decisions
Dette studied law, after 20 years working, when she was about 40 years old, she realized that she didn’t want to be a lawyer anymore. She decided to leave her job and paycheck and began studying to be a primary school teacher. It was a challenging and scary decision, as she was used to having a regular income and then it was reduced by half. She had the support of her girlfriend and family, which was very important to her. What she found out to give her courage to take the decision was to talk to people about it and take some time to decide.
About financial decisions
A married couple had a challenging moment this year when they had to decide whether to keep or sell their big house. They were facing debt and selling the house would give them the necessary money to get out of it. Even so, they decided to keep their house, invest in it to make it beautiful, and rent some rooms to help them pay their debt. Their advice is to follow the heart and not the money.
About changing careers and finding love
John was a teacher at a primary school, after 32 years working there, he began studying to become a primary school principal. He studied for 4 years and then had to decide to stay at the same school or go to a different one. He felt as if he were in a roundabout and had to get out of it. He was 50 years old at the moment and made the life-changing decision to move to the eastern part of the country, find a house and a job. He worked at this school for 7 years until he retired. Looking back, he now says that this was a crucial moment of his life, and part of this is because it was then when he met his wife.
About learning languages while living in a foreign country
Huan & Ning are students from China and they are learning Dutch. It is difficult for them to learn it as it is very different from Chinese or English, not only the pronunciation but the grammar. It is important for them to buy groceries and read the letters that they receive by post.
About finding the correct life path
When Yvonne was in art school she had the urge to get a career that she could rely on, so she began studying Education. However, she didn’t like it because she wasn’t developing her creativity as she wanted to. Making the decision to go back to the Fine Arts department again was a difficult one, but it was the correct decision for her at the moment and she has been working with art since. Now, several years later she is at a moment in her life when she wants to have that risky and heart-pumping feeling again.
Special thanks to Yvonne Grootenboer for helping me in the quest of hunting for stories and Hector Vargas for his support and photographic skills.