sam seidel, co-author, Creative Hustle: Blaze Your Own Path and Make Work That Matters. His previous books include Hip Hop Genius and Hip Hop Genius 2.0. He speaks internationally about design, race, culture, and education. sam has taught in a variety of settings from a public first grade classroom to Ivy League graduate programs.
We recently had a student who was studying medicine, but her passion was singing.
Let us say that exact same sentence again changing just one word:
We recently had a student who was studying medicine AND her passion was singing.
That flip: from “but” to “and” speaks to the essence of what we teach in our course: Creative Hustle.
Whether our students are coming from StreetCode Academy—a nonprofit community organization in East Palo Alto—or Stanford University, we’ve found they arrive having been told that they have to choose their life path from a finite set of options—even if it means leaving some of their most valuable gifts by the wayside.
In our Creative Hustle course, we encourage students to challenge these tracks. We share stories of artists, activists, authors, and politicians who have carved their own. We invite our students to unpack inspiration and insights from these stories. Then we lead students through activities designed to help them articulate their gifts and goals, and identify the principles they’ll need to hold, people they’ll need to engage, and practices they’ll need to adopt, to move from their gifts to their goals.
Think about it: why did our student come to us believing she had to choose a singular fate: doctor or diva?
Imagine an education system that supports students in pursuing their passions—plural. How great would it be for that student to get to show up as her whole self? Maybe she could become a professor who researches the impacts of music on brain activity… Or a singing pediatrician delighting patients with musical medicine…
Our motivation for teaching Creative Hustle is to help students become their best, most whole selves. When this happens, they will feel seen, and they will do beautiful work that impacts the world.