When working with other people, you will, without a doubt, have to make changes or adjustments based on these other people. People are complicated, and working with them is complicated. A key trait that is needed to work in any team or group setting is flexibility. Flexibility is not just beneficial when working with teams but also when working on projects for other people.
The idea that we will always get everything right is entirely wrong. The idea that other people are always going to get things right is also wrong. Unfortunately, people often make mistakes, and we will have to deal with them. The ability to change plans or have them changed for you and keep on going is crucial in almost every area of life.
Flexibility is a quality used to describe materials, people, plans, and it means bending easily without breaking. Simply you get tested or stretched, and you don’t break. Breaking during a project is never a good thing, and breaking and taking it out on other people is not good either. Other words that people use are resilience, mobility, openness, and versatility. Having these traits takes you from being stuck in your own ways or own forms of thinking and opens you to new concepts, which is exactly what learning looks like. Sometimes being flexible can mean that you have to do more work, but it makes you an easier person to work with and provides a better environment in general.
I like to think of myself as quite flexible when it comes to plans or projects, and my flexibility was put to the test recently in my capstone project meeting. We are now to the stage where we get to move onto the implementation of our project. My team and I were putting together designs and sketches of what our project will actually look like. We wanted to make sure we were all on the same page and get approval before implementing it from our project sponsors. Well, when we presented our layout to our project sponsor, he had some questions that we did not have the answer to and, after some digging, found out that there had been some miscommunication between what he wanted the process to be and what our design will look like. It was honestly very odd because we had been communicating about this the whole time, talking about what we wanted the process to be how things would be implemented but never before had he said that we were off base. Anyway, after a fair bit of discussion and lots of clarifying questions, we understood what it was that was different and now have a much better picture of what things will look like. Our implementation actually got a little easier and definitely more clear. All of this is helpful, but at that moment, I felt like I had completely missed something or we had not had all the information we needed. At that moment, if I was not flexible, that would not have been nearly as productive as it was. Flexibility has some stress built into it, but how you respond to that stress and pressure is what determines if you break or just bend a little.
One of the most important things I look for in the people around me is consistency. It means I have people that I can depend on, and I know they can accomplish things when asked to and what they say they will do, they will do. This means that I don’t have to babysit them, and I know I can place my focus elsewhere when only their part is left. Often we are stressed because we don’t know we can trust people. Consistency is vitally important in all aspects of our lives; for us, having something consistent like a paycheck or a car means that we can focus on other things. Then we are not worrying or stressing about extra things. This is important because our bodies use stress to help us in dangerous situations. Still, when we are always stressed, our bodies never return to normal function, leading to severe health effects.
Consistency in our own lives is what most of us seek and something that we try to provide. It eliminates the variables in our life and, overall, just simplifies our lives. It is also a hard thing to provide in all areas of our lives. While it is also one of the most sought after thing.
Consistency is something for me that helps me stay focused, get work done, not get weighted down by decision fatigue, and know what I am going to do next. When my life has consistency, I get into a rhythm, and that allows me to be more productive and even form good habits, which often results in good things. When things are inconsistent, you are fighting against so many different things to achieve things you need to do. A lack of consistency in my life does decrease my productivity.
The best way to create consistency is to pick the things that you value and just do them, again and again, this will help you to form a consistent habit, and then you can add other things. Consistency often relates to what we value, and when we consistently value things, it will create consistency.
This week and last week was spent working on the design specifics for our project. The design is the guidelines for the coming months of work and something that we can go back and reference when we need it. There are many things that can complicate the design process. The major one for me is that I like to make things as easy as they can be for others. This, in and of itself, is not bad, but it can lead to feature bloat. This, in turn, can cause me to get too focused on the extra features and not on the primary set of criteria for the project that we are working to build.
I like to find things that people have not thought of or what people are not focusing on. Some of it comes down to I like being responsible for things and having that responsibility. When creating a new feature often times the scope of the feature or really the reasoning behind it can be difficult to come by, and without those guiding forces, you can get lost. When designing, you have to have the use case in mind, and you have to keep focused on the core concepts else you can spend forever rethinking and never get anything done. I sometimes do this, but I tend to get focused on something and how I think it should be done, and if nobody else is there to bounce ideas off, you can dig yourself a hole that is hard to get out of.
The chief concern when designing should be to figure out how to accomplish the core need and then explain that so it is very clear what is being built. Thus the idea of blueprints and having all the details in one spot makes building skyscraper a lot easier than just winging it.
Features can help in specific use cases, but the project’s core has to be there else you can’t create new features to tack on.
Here is to this week and getting back to the core, getting back to the necessary, and here’s getting back to what needs to be done.
Everybody has a way of doing things, and often they have a similarity between the different things they do. Let me explain. Whenever a person sits down to do something, they have an order of doing things. As we grow and mature, that order usually changes and improves, or it can make it harder The order in which we do things and specifically work or school is a process. Everything we do has a process in some form or another. For some tasks, it is a regimented and specific process; for others, it is a more general process, but a process. The great thing about having a process is that you have a starting point, and you have a set of actions that you take to complete a task, and you can utilize that same process as guidelines for any task you do. For most of us, we have a process for waking up in the morning, or taking a shower, or coding a program; each thing we do has some form of process.
The reason why a process is important is that our brains like patterns, and words, languages, music, are all patterns. The reason we see things in clouds is that we look for patterns. So why not utilize our brain and set ourselves up for success.
I am sure there is scientific evidence about such things, but I’ll primarily talk about my personal experience.
I know that one of the biggest hurdles in completing things is starting. Once I am going and in the flow, most things are easy to complete, and I want to complete them. Before I start, I don’t want to start because it is hard, or I want to do something else. A process is a key way that I have found that helps me with completing such tasks or assignments. I have a distinct set of things that I do to get my mind to transition from, say, eating to working. I sit down at my computer, clear any distractions, IE emails, reminders, extra tabs, anything that is gonna distract from my work. I then review what I need to do and when it needs to be done. I often like to listen to music; I usually pick music without words else I will want to sing along. Lastly, I open all the things I need to have open, so I don’t have to go looking for them, and then I start. This is one of my processes, but I have others. This works for me because when I do these things in succession, I tell my brain to transition into work mode and not get distracted. This process is vitally important specifically for me because I like to accomplish stuff and be done, but if I keep on stopping, then I have to keep on starting again, which is the hard part.
Your process can be putting on a certain pair of closes, sitting a certain way, using a specific mug; anything that reduces the number of distractions can be your process. Processes are everywhere in manufacturing, teaching, surgery, and driving. It all has a process, and our brains like these processes.
“Do Not Frown, Break it Down.”
Quote from Blog post referenced below
Several of my thoughts about processes arose after reading this blog on ADHD by Alan Bester “Nahaz”, a Ph.D. in Economics and a Georgetown professor.
Here are a few things to read if you want:
Writing to some is a burden and just something to get that grade at the end of the day. Some enjoy it and see it as a relaxing and stress-relieving hobby. For some, writing is a job and that they both love and hate at the same time. The thing that pulls us together is that we all have to write.
Writing is a form of expression and allows us to actually see what we are communicating before we communicate, and I think if it weren’t for all the rules and formats, we might not dislike writing as much. The difficulty with writing and having to follow specific formats is that it forces us to write, so that is not how we generally think, so it is hard. The value of writing in a specific format or within the rules is that it makes it easier for the reader to understand what we are saying, and specifically, in technical areas, that is key.
So although I would love just to write in the way, I speak that is not the most efficient form of communicating specific topics, thus making “technical writing.” The different forms of writing are to communicate in different settings for some that are telling an elaborate story that invokes emotion and gets people sometimes invested it is to convey a deep sense of empathy or sadness, or sometimes it is how many times a program has to run a certain piece of code. I think of it as using the right tool for the job.
I love writing, and I forget to switch from my normal communication brain to a more technical way of writing, although I know-how thanks to the technical writing class. Technical writing is giving those annoying details that nobody but you really care about or somebody who is in your field will care about, and doing in the most concise and straightforward way possible. The challenge is that I don’t often write in this form, but like anything else, you have to learn by practicing. The fun thing about technical writing is you can utilize the obscure words that most people won’t know and use your most intelligent way of writing. I like to think of Technical writing as writing with a different vocabulary more than as a different form, but that is what works for me—the most important thing to remember when writing is that you are communicating. You should choose the most efficient way to communicate your ideas to your audience, and sometimes that is using a more technical way of writing than what you are used to using.
“Either writing something worth reading or do something worth writing about.” Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard, An Almanack For the Year of Christ 1738, Being the Second after LEAP YEAR.
When we start our school journey, we usually assume that we will do well and learn anything given the right teacher, which is true. So then why do so many people have trouble in college? Well, they expected that college would be easy or that they won’t need to spend all day studying. The real expectation should be that college is a proving grounds for you and your work ethic, perseverance, and willingness to seek the things you want. We should expect to struggle, fail, and ask for help, but we( including myself) tend to think we can do it all good the first time.
I have been good at school and learning most of my life. This knowledge has helped me be confident enough to take on challenges and come out on the other side while also not getting weighed down with all that I have to do and how much time I have to do it. The issue arises when I expect myself to get it right the first time or get it right away. I have learned that the expectations that we place on ourselves can either motivate us or discourage us. Give yourself a little grace and do your best; sometimes, that won’t be enough, but not trying for fear of not meeting your expectations will cripple you going forward. Expect yourself to put in the effort and to have to learn and grow as you go. I don’t think of myself as a perfectionist, but I do have some tendencies that way, and I found a piece of advice that said doing something half-way is still something done half-way was not doing something because you can’t do it perfectly is still nothing done perfectly. Do what you can and do it the best you can with what you have at your disposal, and adjust your expectations accordingly.
The project I am working on has been fun to research and has helped me to get better at researching and understanding how the design and implementation process can change as you go along. I initially expected to implement our store-page directly into another website, but I currently don’t think that will work how we wanted it to do. I expected to create a tool that would build the web store with a few clicks of a button, but I now see that this is most likely not the case. My expectations allowed me to work and continue in the process until I discovered new information to change my expectations. That is the learning process and what college is all about.
I am looking forward to what my team and I create and what we learn along the way. I expect to be challenged, have to grow, and stay up late a few times, but ultimately I expect that we can do what we set our minds to.
“I don’t know who we’ll become
I can’t promise it’s not written in the stars
But I believe that when it’s done
We’re gonna see that it was better”
Lyrics from Grow as We Go by Ben Platt
Time is so fundamental to our society, and the ever-popular saying “time is money”  is a common way of looking at Time. But Time is also abstract and more or less a human creation. It allows us to make sense of the cosmos, our days and give us something to help guide us in our day-to-day lives. The truth, whether Time is made up or not, is that it is useful. It is useful in helping people plan, or how much effort something will take or display data or information; Time is useful.
Time has this sense that it has intrinsic value, but is that true? Time is simply a resource, and thus, it does have a value, but the value is derived from what is accomplished in that time, not the Time itself. Time does not have any value unless it is spent doing something. The concept of paying somebody for their Time is really the wrong way of looking at it. People should be paid for the work they do. Time is simply a lens to look at what a person accomplished and weigh it against others.
I choose to think of Time as a resource for me. It is a way of quantifying my effort and value. Time can describe what I can accomplish or what I got done, but Time is how we can tell what we value.
My Time as a college student is my most valuable resource because I pull everything that I do from it. I have to spend time to accomplish assignments, and in return, I get knowledge and understanding and, hopefully, a good grade. Outside of school, I have to choose do I invest in a job or a project that furthers my understanding of different concepts. Do I invest Time into a hobby that brings me enjoyment and potential relationships with people who enjoy similar things? I could spend Time only doing the things that I want to do, and that gives me temporary happiness or pleasure, but Time is limited, and if I learned anything from economics is that everything has an opportunity cost. Everything has an opportunity cost school friendships, and other relationships have an opportunity cost. So every day, you have to look at what you do as a choice of saying yes to one thing and then saying no to something else, so make the best choice for you. Invest your time in what you most value, and you won’t waste your time.
After writing about teams last week, I realized I often felt that I have to be the last one on the project and see it to the final submission. If that is the case, then I don’t trust my teammates, and after years of team sports, I know you have to trust your team. If you don’t trust your team, then you are wasting your time and their time. There are times when letting your team finish something or taking a break, and working on something else is the best way to spend your time. The value of time is what you do with it. So, take time to do good things for you in the short run, the long run, your health, both mental and physical, and enjoy the time you have, even though you don’t have any time because it is all a construct of society.
Invest time into you, whatever that means for you.
“Time Is Money, but That Doesn’t Mean You Need to Work Non-Stop – Pacific Standard,” Aug. 23, 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20190823202307/https://psmag.com/economics/time-money-doesnt-mean-need-work-non-stop-81438 (accessed Oct. 17, 2020).
This week was a week of feeling like I never have enough time to get all the things done. At points, I struggled to get simple stuff done but the college or any type of education like anything else is a test of perseverance, determination, and hard work. When you as a student have to get the work done you are faced with two options either get it done or don’t. The value of getting it done is then you learn something and you can move on to the next thing. The hard part with college is that you very rarely have nothing else to get to and thus are always having to do. This can be draining physically and mentally and even emotionally. Our bodies are not made to be under stress all the time. Unfortunately, college can be that for a lot of people. This all to say take a break and stand up relax shut your eyes for a minute, go on a walk, talk to a friend or roommate, anything to give your mind and body a break. Also for goodness sake get some sleep, I employ 20-30 minute naps most days to let my brain rest and get a little boost before returning to the grindstone.
Okay, Okay now onto what I am really going to talk about.
In college and almost everywhere you will go in life you will be with other people and you could call them groups. One group is the infamous group project or assignments. There are a tremendous amount of benefits to groups but there are also a fair amount of struggles and disadvantages to groups. Group assignments allow people to learn from each other fill in the gaps in understanding or expertise and overall create a better overall result. The problems are that people suck sometimes. People are lazy, I for one can be on occasion, but when you have a group that clicks that is one of the best feelings.
In a group, there are the leaders, the doers, the followers, and the no-shows. The leaders tend to organize and direct the group, the doers are the ones that work outside the group and take a lot of the work, the followers are the ones that can tend to struggle with the project or assignment and often just need a little help then they carry their own weight, and the no-shows are well not helpful. Group projects or assignments often have the majority of the work fall on a few select individuals, and they do it and do it well, but this can lead to burnout and unnecessary stress. I don’t believe that the no-shows or those who don’t contribute as much do it intentionally; sometimes, they are behind or struggling in their own right, which is okay. We are all going to be there at one time or another, so give people a little grace and encourage them instead of getting mad. They are not malicious actors that want to take you down with them, so don’t treat them like the enemy. Make the extra effort to encourage them and try and include them; maybe that’s all they need.
Quick side note, please communicate if you can’t finish something or are stuck or need help. When you work with other people you have to communicate else nothing will get done and everybody will not be able to help. Side note two if you need help in any way not just with school there are so many people that want to help and are willing to help… YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.
Okay, teams, I get to work on a pretty cool project that I will be telling you(my audience) about as we go along but that is for a different week. My team consists of our project sponsor who I really like and is knowledgeable and is an effective communicator which I believe is going to be a huge asset to our team. There are also three other students on the team with me, and I like them they all seem like good guys and people that want to work together. I was greatly encouraged after our first meeting and am looking forward to working with them as we go along.
Teams are what you make of them. Communicate with them, support them, encourage them, help them, challenge them, really every time you interact with somebody on a team you have the chance to improve the opinion of team or group projects. Teams are so you don’t have to do something alone, you get to work with them. No matter what you want to do there are going to be people involved. Try and leave the people around you better for having worked with you.
“Leave every town better than you found it” Mollmauke Tealeaf
Or in my case Leave every team better than you found it.
I started out on this journey of pursuing my college education and, ultimately, my career knowing that I want to sit in front of a computer for the rest of my life. I think computers appealed to me because my dad worked on them, but also, there is always something new to learn and something different that I could try.
I attended community college at an early age and really enjoyed the atmosphere and having teachers who were experts in their field to teach me. I had decided pretty early on that I wanted to end up at OSU to finish out my degree. After switching majors two times and two community college later, I am now in the senior year of my long college career.
It is interesting to see how you, as a person, change and how the things that are important to you change as well. I knew that computers where I want to end up, but I don’t think I would have guessed that I wanted to study data Science. I have loved my CS classes because they keep on making me learn and grow, and I get to learn new things. But the classes that I feel that really brought me to want to study Data Science have been my Economics 101 class, my statistics classes, and my discrete mathematics classes. These really opened my eyes to data as a fun and interesting field and particularly the application of data.
In the past 4 or 5 years, we have really seen how having correct and unbiased data is really important and that I something that I have always appreciated is the facts without the bias that can be found everywhere we look. I see my love for computers and their raw computing power and the prevalence of data collection to be an interesting cross over. The draw of providing something that is so desperately needed in the world today and gets paid for it is a pretty easy road to go.
The hardest thing to date about this path has been the difficulty of getting experience in my actual field. Due in part to the way classes are scheduled at OSU but not being able to take any of my data science or even Ai classes has made it particularly challenging to understand my field better. The biggest way that COVID affected my plans has been the canceling of my internship over this past spring and summer because I was going to get my first real experience in my field. The Fortunate thing is that I could work on a project for a friend of mine that included some data processing, parsing, sorting, and mapping. All of which were very helpful and enjoyable but still lacking the experience in my actual field.
Looking at the available projects, the ones that most interest me are the ones that involve some data processing, analysis with real-world applications. The DUNE project is the topic project on my list, being that it includes all those things mentioned above and international collaboration, while also working with something that I don’t know very much about. I grew up in a rural area and had farmers all around me, which immediately makes me interested in ALL the Farms because it incorporates data and that real-world application and it is in an area I already have some knowledge about.
All this to say, I like the path I am on, but I don’t know exactly where it will lead. I hope to get one of the projects that will let me do something in my field or at least adjacent. Wherever I land, I will take it as it is and enjoy it. Data is fun, especially when it makes sense.
“Data is good, only if it is good data.” Professor Javier Rojo MY Statistics Professor at OSU