The past summer I sunk myself into my hobbies and tried new things. I learned how to box as well as improving on my poker/gambling skills, cooking abilities, drumming, skate boarding, and other forms of exercise. I also spent time with my friends, mostly virtually.
I am very excited for the projects this year, even though some of the major ones had to be canceled. I have been looking forward to this year since the beginning of high school, as I can finally use the skills that I have learned over the past three years to design and build cool projects. I hope that we can still do some from of the Halloween project this year.
This year I am most excited for hopefully getting into my top colleges. This semester is going to be hard, having to deal with college apps, but I am hoping it will be worth it in the end.
My capstone project has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start, however I feel it is now on the right path. I started off in a group of five people and we all disagreed about what our project should be about, leading to a lot of time spent debating with not much change in people's opinions. Our group ending up splitting up and my new team's project is moving at a much stronger pace. The only problem that I see that could arise in the future is, because my group is now very tiny, in fact it is actually just a partnership, it may be hard to keep up with the workload. However, my parter and I work very well together, so I think we will be fine.
In terms of the college application process, I am in a pretty good position. I have finished my personal statement and begun my work on the UC essays, as well as a supplemental essay for the school I am applying early action to. I have come up with my final list of colleges I want to apply to, a total of 13 including different UCs, and I have set up some interviews. The thing I wished someone had told me last year is the importance of setting up your Naviance account and having some of the information like your resume already filled out. This would be helpful, as it is hard to remember everything that you have done and accomplished throughout your time at SAMO.
To describe my current state in one image it would be...
I define my current state as my state of both mind and body. This has to do with my current physical/mental exhaustion, stress levels, and number of mental breakdowns per week. This image illustrates my current state as it shows the panic of everything in my life from political stress, school stress, and mental exhaustion having been building and now everything seems like it's on fire. This past week has definitely been the most difficult and draining week of online learning so far, thus I found it necessary to show the chaos that is happening, for not just me, but many students and adults across the nation.
This gif helps to summarize my college application experience
My college application experience thus far has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life. I wish I had known how complicated all of the technological aspects of the application process would be. I have had some close calls with transcript deadlines, which was something I was not expecting. I wish I had known the importance of checking my smmk12 email during all of this, because important reminders were sent out, even though throughout the previous three years of high school I had never checked that gmail. The advice I'd give future seniors is to not only start their essays over the summer, but some of the other application steps, like your activities list and to outline when all the due dates are for everything in your application. But now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel I'm so excited for college. Especially having been in quarantine for so long the thought of a lot of independence and freedom is amazing, and I also can not wait to continue studying engineering.
There are two directions that group's capstone projects tend to take, either creating a product for profit or a product created to help people. Our product, a particle filter for wood burning stoves and fireplaces, is designed to help the environment, climate change, and people's health. I believe the biggest difference between a for profit product and one made to benefit people is that in general a for profit product is something people want, while a beneficial product is more often something someone needs. For example, all the people giving away free masks during this pandemic are giving a necessary and beneficial product for people. Suppose to a company selling muffin trays to satisfy people wanting to bake during quarantine.
There are pros and cons in both types of products. In terms of for profit products it can be hard to get your product selling at a price that allows for your to make a profit, you have to make sure your are consistently delivering high quality service which can be difficult to maintain, and consumers tend to be anxious to test new products. However for profit products, if successful, can grant you financial stability, establish yourself as an entrepreneur or business owner, and help stimulate the economy.
When it comes to products that are for benefiting people, they are accessible to more people, depending on the product, they can really change someone's life, and making a successful product that helps a lot of people can get you some good press. However, it can be a timely process, there is no financial reward, and you could end up losing money on the cost manufacturing.
The biggest challenge in my capstone project so far has been figuring out a way to test our prototype in a quantitative way, as because of quarantine I do not have access to tools used to measure particle mass, or test to see if there are certain particles still emitted from the smoke. However, so far I am most proud of the prototype I've been constructing. Because my dad is an architect, I've had access to drills, a chow saw, pop rivets, tin snips, and everything else I've needed to built the product. The prototype is looking really good so far and is coming together smoothly.
The advise I'd give to future seniors regaurding this project, is to make sure you choose a topic that you're passionate about, as throughout this project I've been excited at every step, and genuinely blown away that I'm solving a legitimate problem in our society. This passion has made it extremely easy to work on this project, as the work doesn't feel like real work, so any incoming seniors should know that the way to make this capstone project worth while is to choice something you're excited by.
Next year I will be attending the University of Denver as a mechanical engineering major. I am so excited to live in a new state and actually experience real seasons and weather. In my PLTW career I am defiantly most proud of this capstone research project. I got to use real power tools and actually invent something that functions properly. This project was a lot of work, but completely worth it.