The Wayfinding Lantern, a symbol of the power in being prepared to navigate your life's path.

Wayfinding Academy

About

Wayfinding Academy is a one-of-a-kind college: Alternative. Nontraditional. Experimental. Founded in 2015, we are at the heart of a movement to revolutionize higher education. Our 2 year self-directed program allows each student to craft their own education while exploring their passions, purpose, and potential for intentionally impacting the world around them.

Founded
2015
Headquarters

8010 N. Charleston Ave
Portland, OR 97203
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Austin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Before I came to Portland to attend Wayfinding Academy, I first attended a small private business school in my home state of Massachusetts. Classes at this school were very traditional: an instructor standing at the front of the room, flicking through a powerpoint about finance while the students browse the web, looking at things that really interest them - music, baseball, travel, food, art (along with some dog and cat photos here and there). Our teachers assigned homework, but never actually check that we complete it. We have assignments due here and there and we hand in essays laden with buzz-words, robbed of originality. Teachers hand us back papers almost untouched by an editing pen. It seemed like everyone was a cog in this machine that spits out uninspired, uncreative, fragile kids into the adult world.

It took me a bit to realize this, but I was just not learning anything of value. I felt dejected. I felt stagnant. I could see the life path I was on and none of it interested me. I was forcing myself to “just suck it up” and bare these classes rather than pursue my actual interests. It made me so uncomfortable and angry at the higher education system that I left it all and dropped out of school.

About a year went by and I attended a conference in Portland where Michelle Jones spoke on stage about Wayfinding. Hearing Michelle’s vision for revolutionizing higher education was all it took for me to know that this new college was the place for me. Even though I was upset with higher education, I CRAVED being in a community with other like-minded students that were committed to their own education and growth.

The first major difference I noticed as a Wayfinding student is that no one holds your hand there. A surprising amount of hand-holding goes on in traditional education. But not at Wayfinding. They don’t prescribe you what you need to know from some list or textbook. They help you figure out what you're naturally curious in and then help you develop the skills you need to learn more and take action. It is entirely self-directed and self-determined.

Building the skills to be a self-directed and self-determined lifelong learner and maker was the bulk of my work at Wayfinding. I learned how to persevere when projects got difficult. I learned about myself and grew as a whole human inside the classroom and out. I got to travel and see more of the world through their Learn and Explore program. I learned all sorts of skills from designing and painting murals to editing films to facilitating group conversations.

Everything good in my life right now can be traced back in one way or another to my experience at Wayfinding. So grateful for the two years I spent there. I would highly recommend you look into Wayfinding as a potential next step in your life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
You need to be READY for this experience. You need to be hungry for learning and making and building and participating and growing in a community. This isn't a passive thing - it's hard work and it requires dedication. The experience is what you choose to make of it. It's definitely not for everybody, but if you're passionate about living an intentional life and you're committed to your growth, this could be the place for you.
Default avatar
Austin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Walking the Camino is one of the most difficult things I've done in my life, both physically and emotionally. There were moments when I didn't think I was going to be able to finish, moments where I didn't want to do it anymore, and moments where I broke down and let go of some heavy sh*t in my life. But I did it and I'm so glad I did.

I learned to SLOW DOWN and notice the beauty in the small, wonderful things around me (they were always there, I just couldn't see them until the pace of my life slowed down). I learned to trust the unfolding of things around me and to lean into spontaneity and the kindness of strangers. I learned how to be alone with myself, my thoughts, and my emotions without having to change anything. I learned that I LOVE adventure.

And ultimately, I learned how to trust myself.

I really can't understate how powerful walking the Camino de Santiago was for me. And doing it with Wayfinding Academy provided an intentional community of folks around me that could be there when I needed conversation and could leave room when I needed solitude.

To anyone thinking of going on this trip, DO IT. It will be full of hard and challenging times and it will stretch you in unexpected ways... but it will also bring you connection and authenticity and realness and strength.

To me, that's the beauty and the magic of the Camino.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The Camino has the ability to bring folks together from all walks of life and all different countries to share thoughts and emotions and experiences. AND I think the Camino is a deeply powerful experience as an individual processing your own thoughts and emotions and experiences.

My advice to future travelers on this program is to value both solitude and time spent with others. I would suggest finding a balance between these two, because they're both equally as powerful.
Default avatar
TJ
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I am very grateful for my experience at Wayfinding. I was struggling in a 4 year traditional college before I dropped out and started Wayfinding. I really like how small the class sizes are . I feel more seen and heard. That aspect made it easier for me to interact with other classmates and professors. My time at Wayfinding was filled with a fun, stressful self- journey. I learned a lot about myself and have grown into someone who is always learning but also someone who I am proud of. I believe I am doing more meaning work in my life now.

Default avatar
TJ
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Walking the Camino was such a great experience. Walking for many hours each day gave me time to reflect on so much and I learned a lot about my self. I did injured my knee the first day and had to taxi some of the days. That happening pushed me to be more open about my feelings. I didn't want to admit to the pain because I didn't want to seem weak but I pushed those feelings aside and accepted help. That was very important to me because I have always struggled with asking for help. I also met so many cute animals.

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