I knew that reintegrating back into s̶o̶c̶i̶e̶t̶y̶ being a full-time student was going to be tough. I didn't know it'd be this tough.
• HONORS 231 A (ENTRE 372), Grand Challenges for Entrepreneurs, a survey of social entrepreneurship and business structures as applied to emerging global issues
• M E 477, a study of embedded computing in mechanical systems that felt like an unholy marriage of C coding, signal processing, and mechatronics
• M E 494 B, part 2 of the Engineering Innovation in Health capstone series
• M E 498 T, the Mechanical Engineering Leadership Seminar class I signed up for after dropping M E 450 😀
in a tailspin
January 9, 2023
Winter quarter hadn't even begun yet when I felt an anxiety attack coming on. Coming home after having a double-shot tall mocha from a coffee shop up the Ave, I felt my head spinning and my stomach sick in a way I never had before. I spent the entire first week of the quarter lightheaded and in this state. I realized that I'd worked myself up over the number of commitments I had: an emerging capstone project, a continuing research project, a TA position, a club officer position... I realized this is what I was stressing about, and I had to make changes to reduce my workload immediately.
Even though I turned to advisors for help, I knew the answers in my head already: my interests had been changing, and the easiest things to take off my schedule were my composites research project and my research lab. This was still a hard decision to communicate and let sink in, but it allowed me to focus my work on wrapping up my contributions to the project, not burn bridges, and continue to consolidate my energy on a few key areas for the rest of my college career.
This quarter would've been the end of me if I hadn't made this move at the beginning.
spinning up (a new venture)
March 2, 2023
Speaking of my capstone, I was lucky enough to end up with the same project and team as I had in the Engineering Innovation in Health bootcamp class last quarter, but we didn't get to start actually doing engineering work as early as we all wanted to. The majority of the first 7 weeks of the quarter were taken up by the Regional NSF I-Corps Program, which aimed to bolster our customer discovery work but ultimately took any prototyping time away. Applying for (and ultimately receiving) prototype funding for the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge resulted in the first ever funding for Simpl-E-Vac (what we named our capstone team) and forcd us to shift our minds towards actually engineering a new medical device for gastrointestinal leak treatment.
Unfortunately, we didn't end up winning additional funding from the Challenge, but we gained a working prototype, useful industry and venture capital contacts and, most importantly, a fun time.
going for a spin
March 4, 2023
A summary of my lifetime ski trips, as of March 4, 2023:
• Early 2011 — Snoqualmie West — Magic Carpet
• Early 2011 — Stevens Pass — ~3 beginner/"green" runs
• February 2012 — Snoqualmie Central — ~2 beginner/"green" runs
• December 2022 — Snoqualmie Central — 1 intermediate/"blue" run
• March 2023 — Snoqualmie Central — 1 beginner/"green" run, 3 intermediate/"blue" runs, 3 expert/"black diamond" runs
March 10, 2023
The Grand Challenges class, my first HONORS-prefix class since Spring 2021, involved plenty of wheel-spinning on my end. With the way that the assignments and projects were set up, I had no graded assignments due for close to 70% of the class's duration, so it was up to me to stay on track with a myriad of long-range team project deadlines.
...and I didn't, which I view as both a positive and a negative thing. On one hand, it made for a much more stressful dead week and finals week; on the other hand, it gave me ample space to do the learning in each Grand Challenge discussion module and reflect on the things I was reading, hearing, and seeing in class, applying it to my exploration of different applications of mechanical engineering. This Personal Grand Challenge Plan was the culmination of said reflection.
Like a car stuck in a foot of snow, it took changes and shifts to emerge out alive. I'm looking forward to a spring quarter where all I've worked for begins to blossom.