Not A School case study: Youth Ambassador Andriana Lagoudes

By Future TalentEd

Samsung's Not A School course mentor Andriana Lagoude shares her experience of this alternative learning programme.

Andriana Lagoudes, age 28, is a youth ambassor and course mentor for Samsung's Not a School virtual learning programme. As a Not a School mentor she shares her expertise in strategic design and film-making. She outlines her role and how she helps young people to understand their own potential.

On being a Not a School course mentor:

I was initially contacted by the project team to be part of Not a School’s Youth Advisory Board, which is behind the scenes, building the programme. I’d previously been invited in for workshops due to my experience as an underground street style creative.

I became involved because alternative education is my everything. Not a School doesn’t try to box people into an identity like normal education sometimes does

Not a School supports the idea that even when people are working in different disciplines, when they come together, they thrive.

My role as a mentor, in the second week of the immersive programme, is to take the ‘architects’ (participants) through a journey, where their creativity isn’t just about play, it’s about doing the work; everything they discuss needs to become a reality in one way or another. We have a responsibility to give them actionable steps and empower them to take them.

Everything about the programme is interesting and innovative. Young creatives often go into the world thinking they need to be one specific, rigid thing. Not a School is a system that allows your complexity to unfold in front of you. You’re getting exposed to the industry straight away, and accessing mentorship from people who are ahead in the game by a couple of years.

Not a School is about investing time in yourself. It’s a fully immersive way of understanding where the world of work stands right now, and the ethical challenges, through a personalised experience that helps in your own professional development.

All the course mentors are educators and students at the same time. Every time we do Not a School, there are so many things we learn about how to be better educators and how we can improve on communicating these essential professional life hacks to young people who share similar dreams to ours. Being in a
team with people with this same purpose is extraordinary.

The programme suits anyone who has felt they don’t fit into the traditional education system or has ever felt ‘othered’; also, anyone who wants to understand their own purpose and potential, who feels they want to fit in a box, but that they don’t fit into any.

Choosing a pathway was always unsettling for me. Nothing seemed to fit the bill until I paid attention to my purpose. Even though I spent my university years gearing up to be a designer, I couldn’t help trying to think through the lens of social sciences.

When I entered the world as a fully equipped designer, I found myself on a path of catching up with politics, economics, business and technology. While applying for jobs, I did a range of roles: from hospitality to copywriting, from creating album art to facilitating children’s workshops, and from art direction in the music industry to cinematography, editing and directing.

Having experienced 150 heart-breaking job applications that confirmed my unworthiness, I wish I’d known that people would respond to me better after meeting me in person. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I don’t need to be one thing; I didn’t take the traditional pathway and everything I’ve experienced up until
now has formed who I am.

COVID-19 has given us a platform to open up conversations about where we need to do better, which is a good thing. Even in the face of real adversity, we all have a responsibly to take our lives into our own hands where we can. If you stay disciplined, stay interested as an individual and develop your understanding of
how the world works right now, you are bound to be agile. But if you think nothing will ever come your way, your door is closed.

Read more on the Not a School programme:

These insights were brought to you by Future TalentEd magazine.

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This piece was first featured in our Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Future TalentEd magazine for careers leaders, parents and students.

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