A virtual scholarship that saved summer

Aug 19, 2020 The Explorers Lab category Student Blog total reading time 5 Minutes

At the end of the year, my teacher approached me about applying for a scholarship for a design workshop. We had been working on our design project at the time and I thought the camp would be useful for learning skills that would improve the quality of my report. Because it was virtual, there were many benefits including being more affordable then travelling to the USA.

Being a virtual camp, there were naturally positives and negatives. A downside was the lack of interaction. Half of my team had poor internet connections and that made working together slightly more difficult. Regardless, we were still able to work together on an amazing project.

There were benefits as well, for example, we had a chance to have workshops with alumni of the program. I loved these workshops because they were friendly and enthusiastic and they had fun things planned for us. Since the alumni had been in our position before, it was valuable to understand how this program would help us and have our questions answered.

San francisco, landmarks Free Photo

 Going virtual didn’t limit the possibilities of this camp. Regardless of the fact that we were isolated in our homes, we toured the USA and visited museums and parks virtually. This was made into a fun exercise that gave us a chance to simulate a tourist experience. Because this camp was virtual, it was a lot easier for people to be part of this program.

 We had a chance to speak with the CEO of the company we were working for. Understanding her vision for the PsiBands was an extraordinary experience. Meeting her and other female CEO’s was inspiring because we had the chance to listen to stories of influential women.

Search Free Stock Photos, PSD Mockups & Vectors | rawpixel Additionally, this program helped us consider our college applications as well. We had Stanford counsellors talk to us multiple times throughout the week and give us advice. We also had students coming in to talk to us about the admissions process and what we need to do as students in order to prepare. A highlight of this camp would be the industrial designers that we worked with. Often, as students the ideas that we have remain as an intangible idea. The opportunity to work with these designers meant that we had high quality products designed for and we were able to watch our product come to life. Having our product designed and working with these designers was definitely an amazing part of this experience.

Side view of graphic designer at desk Free Photo

One part that I definitely loved were the interactive activities that we had. We started the camp with Ugli Orange, where we were scientists and we had to negotiate to get a rare ingredient that we needed to save lives. Of course, it was educational, but it was also a fun way to break the ice and get to know more about the other students attending this camp. The activities in the alumni workshops where we had to understand our target audience or create an opening were engaging activities that I enjoyed because I got to work with other people. I loved working with my team. We were very different people with different personalities but we learnt how to work together. When we were initially sorting out roles, three of us wanted to be the Chief Design Officer but we learnt how to work together and compromise in these situations. I think working with strangers is a definite work to enhance your teamwork skills and your patience! We learnt a lot of useful skills throughout this camp from how to create a memorable advertisement to how to create our financial forecasts. I loved having the opportunity to learn so much about the design process. Since we were working on our design problem, we were constantly applying everything we learnt and it all really came together in our pitch when we used everything we learnt to convince the judges that we had a feasible design proposal. I really enjoyed being in this camp because it gave me something to do during the summer but it was also an opportunity to grow and strengthen my skill set. This experience was easily one that I could draw on for many of my classes and the skills I learnt extended from just hard skills to soft ones as well. A plus for the camp was definitely the amazing music we listened to as we joined the zoom call each day! Whenever we were working in our teams, we had coaches in the same call as us. This proved extremely useful because we would often need guidance or help because a lot of the content we learnt was new. This was especially true when it came to the finance aspect and we had to figure out how to calculate the different costs! It was important for my team that we learnt how to listen to each other and work together because we wouldn’t have gotten any work done otherwise. Once we got down to it, we did our work but sometimes it took us time and having the coaches there was motivating and encouraged us to complete the work. More often than not; however, we didn’t need that and would zoom through all our activities. The tasks we had to do such as an adapted form of pictionary helped us grow closer and work together better as a team. I loved my experience at this camp and I can’t wait to do it again!

Tanvi Dhingra, Student
GEMS International School Al Khail

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