Project Description: Sophomore Inspire Week is a week where the sophomore class goes off campus to do community service work for a few days. The group I partnered with was Juniper School to help design a play space for their new location out in Bodo. We started this project interviewing teachers, parents, and students to help get an idea of what they wanted for their new play space. Then we had to research different playgrounds like natural and reused material playgrounds, to get an idea of what to look for. We worked with Junipers principal Katie and the Coordinator Andy, plus the garden team, and landscaper. After all of this we were able to draw a final layout on big paper and create a master budget sheet, with the quotes from different businesses. The last thing we did was present the different play space areas to the Juniper Schools staff and students.
Big Takeaways The things that will stick with me the most during this project is probably learning about all the safety regulations on play spaces, collaborating with the Juniper teachers, parents, and students to come up with new and fun ideas for the play space designs, and learning how to create a budget spreadsheet. I also was able to collaborate a lot with my group members, which definitely helped deepen my soft skills. Getting to talk with the teachers and parents about what they were trying to get out from this playspace for their students was most useful to me, because I was able to get an idea of what they wanted and needed. When it came to creating a spreadsheet I had no idea how to make one. I wasn’t sure what needed to go on it and how to format it, so getting to learn how to do that was very nice. Knowing how to create a budget spreadsheet and how to communicate with people efficiently are very important things for the future, which is why I think they are the most lasting things I have learned.
Connections Between School and Work: I was able to take and develop my communication, listening, and collaboration skills from previous projects to this project. I had to be open minded when listening to what everyone in the project had to say, and with that I had to effectively communicate to the Juniper staff and my group members when I had to clarify things and give input into an idea I thought would be cool. Sometimes when I was communicating with one of my group members we would have differing opinions of how we wanted the layout to look like, so we had to use our words effectively and kindly to work things out. It was fine when we talked out our problems, but when we didn’t we would start arguing which is not beneficial for the group. This is why collaborating and incorporating my whole groups ideas into the designs were important. It was important that we all talked as one and worked through all of our ideas to come to a consensus.
Time Management: My time management during this project was actually one of the first times where I used it to my advantage and efficiently. As a whole group we made goals everyday in the morning of what needed to be done by lunch, and then at lunch we all came together to discuss what we had accomplished during that time and based off of what we had accomplished that’s when we would figure out what needed to be done during the last part of the day. Having a schedule and goals of what needed to be done each day helped me and everyone else stay on task more, because we had already known what we needed to accomplish. Managing everything for sure didn’t feel as hard as our time crunch. All of us had to work diligently everyday because if we didn’t we were not gonna be able to meet our deadline. All of us were super motivated with the work, so staying on task and using our time well wasn’t hard. There were of course those times where we all just wanted to take a break, and so we were able to because we used our time efficiently.
Connections to YouScience: My highest aptitude was as an idea contributor. The definition says when a topic sparks my passion, my ideas flow like water. I would say for this project that was very true. When we started generating basic playspace ideas and what the school should have in the play spaces I had so many ideas I wasn’t sure how all of them could be incorporated. My ideas kept sparking in my head everytime I would talk with my group members, the students, and the teachers. I was able to merge ideas with my group members to come up with very reasonable and still fun ideas. I usually am not that best at coming up with ideas, but when it came to this project I was flowing with them. I think it’s because I really enjoyed the idea that it was okay to have crazy fun ideas, like the Juniper kids had. The more ideas I had the more beneficial it was to me, because there were so many more options that you could choose or go off of. I also gained lots of skills because of this. I was able to communicate my ideas with people in an efficient way, and I was also able to problem solve if an idea wasn’t very reasonable. I would like to be an idea contributor in my own work in the future, especially since I go to project space school where you should have lots of ideas.
Advice to Future Students: The advice I would give to future Sophomore’s doing inspire week would have to be come into this week with an open mind and heart. The group I was put into (Juniper School Design) was not my first choice. When I found out I didn’t get the group I wanted I was not as excited and motivated to do the project in the beginning, but right after the first hour I decided to change my outlook on it and I could tell I was maybe gonna enjoy it. In fact, I know that I enjoyed this project so much more than I had anticipated. I learned so many new skills, and deepened my old ones. I connected with people inside of my sophomore class and outside in my community. I was also able to help give back to my community and do something meaningful for them. If you aren’t as interested in your project like I was in the beginning you should try to find a way to adapt to it and try to enjoy it. Sometimes it's all about experiencing new things and going out of your comfort zone to be able to see what you enjoy doing and not doing. It’s not a very common thing for students to get to experience something like this, so try to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.