More than 450 learners have enrolled with SelfDesign Learning Community’s grade 10 to 12 program for the 2021/2022 learning year.

Over the coming weeks, they will work with their learning consultants and learning specialists to identify their learning goals for the year and determine what resources and opportunities exist to help them. They will select from a number of interest-based, interdisciplinary themes that will allow them to meet B.C. Ministry of Education graduation requirements through the lens of the learners’ own interests. They will begin to work on and present projects that explore those interests and demonstrate what they have learned from week to week.

Although our grade 10 to 12 program is flexible and highly customizable, it is somewhat more structured than the earlier grades, and some learners can find the transition to grade 10 with SelfDesign a big adjustment.

Recently we spoke to a number of learners from our Class of 2021 about their SelfDesign journeys. Having experienced our grade 10 to 12 program from start to finish, they number among our many experts on how to navigate the program.

Of these learners, eight shared tips and advice for learners beginning grade 10 on how to help make the most of their high school years at SelfDesign. In their own words, this is what Matt, Samayyah, Mara, Hannah, Izy, Téa, Makayla and Mariah had to say:

Matt: Never stop wondering about the world around you, and never stop asking questions.

Don’t let fear get you to ignore those questions. Ask the questions, don’t be afraid to take the time to explore what makes you wonder – because you might change the world!

Samayyah: Think about what exactly you’re trying to achieve – even if it’s not a super-clear vision

If you have any goals you want to achieve, think about that. You don’t have to have it all figured out in grade 10 – it’s always evolving.

Then communicate it with your parents, your learning consultant and learning specialists. Because when they know what you want and you know what you want, they can help you get what you want. It leads to really positive things.

Read more about Samayyah’s SelfDesign journey

Mara: Talk to your learning consultant, tell them what you need, tell them your goals, tell them what you want to do

All these wonderful people – your learning consultant, your learning specialists, and all the others at SelfDesign – are there to help you find a way to realize your goals and your dreams, and they’re there to support you every step of the way. It’s an amazing resource and such a privilege to be able to draw on that support.

Read about Mara’s SelfDesign journey

Hannah: Speak your needs

I would say, honestly, just talk. I found that, for my first two years with SelfDesign, I had a very hard time saying what was right for me and what was not right for me. I would tend to shy away and not say anything and just continue dealing with something even if I wasn’t happy doing so.

Speak up for yourself. Be open with your communication, without judgment towards others, and state your truth. This is your learning, and it’s up to you how you want to do it.

Read about Hannah’s SelfDesign journey

Izy: Always incorporate something you’re passionate about into your work

Doing that will make your learning that much more fun, it will make it that much better, and it will make it stand out just that much more.

And I think it will really make you love your learning. I never resented school the same way my friends do, who go to public school, because I always got to incorporate something I was passionate about – whether it was reading, or dancing or acting – into my schoolwork.

Téa: Reflect on everything extensively

Think about things more deeply. Reflect on everything. Connect your reflections to things from past projects you’ve done, from further along in the project you’re working on, something you’re getting to in your project, or something you heard somebody say that you want to tell a little story about. Answer all questions in your reflections by asking yourself – without anybody needing to ask you – ‘Why is that my answer?’ or ‘Why do I think that?’. Make as many connections to and from other things or other ideas or sources that you can.

The connections will really amp up your understanding – and your results.

Read more about Téa’s SelfDesign journey

Makayla: Make use of SelfDesign’s resources – and connect

SelfDesign offers so many amazing resources, and one of them is the teachers. Go to the teachers’ office hours, go to the meetings, meet the teachers and make those connections, because they will have a long-lasting impact on your experience with, throughout and after SelfDesign. I learned so many amazing things, found so many different resources, and felt so connected throughout my learning because of the teachers and the resources.

Do it even if you’re nervous. Everyone is so nice, and SelfDesign is a safe, welcoming environment in which to challenge yourself like that.

Mariah: When you’re learning, you don’t have to be alone

At one point, I really thought that I had to do all my learning by myself – that I wasn’t supposed to ask for help, that I was supposed to know it all. And what I learned was it was okay to reach out for help. The teachers were there to help me and support me. Learning isn’t one set way. It can be done in a lot of different ways.

My biggest thing I’d like other people to know is you don’t have to be alone when you’re learning. It’s so much more fun when you include other people, and so much more valuable.


We thank these learners for sharing their wisdom and inspiration about making the most of the SelfDesign learning experience. If you would like to share your own advice with other SelfDesign learners in grade 10 to 12, please email us at or send us a message via FaceBook, Twitter or Instagram.

This article is the second in a series on the SelfDesign Blog to help ease learners’ transition to grade 10 at SelfDesign Learning Community.

Learn more about SelfDesign’s grade 10–12 program

Read more about the Class of 2021