Class projects are a very important part of college life. For most classes, you will have at least one project per semester, in addition to “homework” that takes more than 3 days to do. These projects challenge us and make us grow as professionals and also as individuals. Even though most projects will frustrate us for the most part, the reward that comes with being able to figure them out is priceless. It’s hard to describe the feeling I get when, after sitting in front of a computer for more than 3 hours, I am able to make a program work. Creating programs, developing equations, and plotting vector fields are several of the focuses of the projects I’ve done. And even though at times I thought I would never be able to figure them out, with the help of classmates, teammates, teachers, teaching assistants, and most importantly, Google, I was able to make it through and accomplish things I consider pretty amazing. With these projects not only do you learn how to work with things you’ve never heard of in your life, but also you learn how to adapt, how to research and how to work with lots of different people. One of the latest projects I’ve done this semester was to create and adapt several parametric equations to 3D plot and print several kinds of pasta (yes, pasta), for my Calculus 3 class. Even though this project might sound ridiculous, it’s honestly been one of the hardest and most time consuming projects I’ve done. This project allowed me to develop my critical thinking skills as well as expanded my knowledge of the 3D space. Who would have thought you could do so many noodles with Cosines and Sines?
As a future engineer, the projects I’ve had to do in my short time at KU are mostly related to several sciences, and consequently, my experiences with projects might not be the same as those of somebody majoring in Global and International Studies, Human Biology, or even Education. Focuses and types of projects will vary, the experiences you get out of all of them will be completely different, and the tools you’ll need to accomplish them will also not be the same. Also, as we are all different and we all have different goals, all the projects we make will have a different emphasis and a different perspective. Whether you write, read, or make, all projects will have one thing in common, and that is that you will have to work really hard on them, you will learn to cooperate and coordinate with more people to get them done, and you will get a lot of new knowledge after you finish them.
Even though sometimes I talk about projects like they are the worst thing ever, the truth is that finishing projects and the process of getting them together gives the most amazing feeling of accomplishment. And not only will these projects allow you to make it through college, but they will also prepare you for life outside of the university, when the only things you’ll have to work on are actual projects.