Trials, Tie-Dye, and ExDM
PROVO, Utah – Aug 18, 2021 – While attending a freshman career exploration class, Brooke Taylor was searching for a major in a friendly community that would also develop her personal skills. The current BYU Marriott School of Business senior discovered the experience design and management (ExDM) program through that class and now strives to create and support communities as she uplifts herself and others.
In her career exploration class, Taylor first saw the benefits of ExDM’s strong community after learning about the major from a class presentation. She went on to meet with ExDM students in order to learn more about the major. “I fell in love with ExDM after meeting people in the program,” Taylor says. In addition, she realized the program fit her unique variety of skills and interests. “I am a creative person, and ExDM is the perfect combination of psychology, business, and design. I’m able to not only use my people and organization skills, but I also use my creative skills,” she adds.
Because the welcoming ExDM community helped bring her to her major, Taylor wants to ensure other students enjoy the same experience. The Smithfield, Utah, native is currently copresident of the BYU Experience Design Society (ExDS), a student association at BYU Marriott. ExDS creates opportunities for students to meet together to share ideas, network, and learn from ExDM alumni and industry professionals. Most importantly, the society helps students grow together and recognize the potential they have within themselves.
One of Taylor’s favorite parts of her ExDM classes is the focus on developing personal skills. As she has grown more confident in herself, she has tried new opportunities, including running her own small business. “Sometimes we have an idea, and we fear no one is going to like the idea,” Taylor says. “Having confidence in my creativity has helped me jump in, pave my way, and try something new— including starting my own business.” With her roommate, she runs Supa-Fly TieDye, a homemade tie-dye apparel company. The two girls purchase white clothing and then dye the clothes themselves to create a variety of styles and options, which they then sell on Instagram.
Another important community in Taylor’s life centers around her recent diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). She first started experiencing symptoms in March 2020, but figuring out what was going on was difficult because OCD is often misunderstood and hard to diagnosis. To further compound the problem, the onset of COVID-19 restrictions at the time meant she was away from her normal social circles and daily routines.
After being officially diagnosed in June 2020, Taylor struggled to adapt to her new situation, even failing a class in the process. While coping with OCD is a lifelong process, Taylor says she is in a good place now because she has learned how to understand and be patient with herself. Seeking adequate medical care, including connecting with an OCD specialist, has also allowed her to become comfortable with her situation.
Taylor says this trial has also allowed her to have more empathy for others experiencing difficulties. Empathy is something she has understood more through BYU Marriott and the ExDM program. “In my major, I got a head start because the program places so much focus on empathy and understanding people and how their stories make them unique,” Taylor says.
After understanding her own situation with OCD, Taylor realized she was not alone and that other BYU students also live with the disorder. She knew having a community would be a beneficial way for her and others to feel support, encouragement, and empathy, so she started the Real OCD Club at BYU with three friends who also experience OCD. “Through the club, I have been able to meet so many people like me, and these club members are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Empathizing and building that sense of community through the club has been awesome,” Taylor says.
After she graduates from BYU Marriott in April 2022, Taylor will continue using and developing her skills to build positive communities for herself and others. Motivated by one of her recent classes—ExDM 350: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Experience Design—she hopes to earn her juris doctorate so she can further connect with and improve the lives of others, advocating for those in need, helping minority groups, and working with nonprofits. Taylor’s inspiration for her goals, including law school, have come from her BYU Marriott experiences. “The ExDM program changed my life,” she says.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller