STEP Computer Project
Type of Project: Artistic/Creative Endeavor
This project was to challenge myself by learning how to build a desktop computer. I already had the case to assemble it, so I only needed the internal parts, and learned how to handle and assemble them. I also learned how certain components interacted with each other, to help troubleshoot problems. I finished my project by displaying my build at Hackathon, speaking with students and faculty.
When I first started this project, I thought that I already knew a lot about computers and that it would be a fairly simple process. I discovered that it was much more difficult than I originally thought, and I needed to go to others for help. Building a computer led me to recognize and realize the value of my support network. In addition, it gave me insight into how I view the world, and how that view has changed. There is so much to every aspect of our lives to rediscover. My project helped me to learn the value of true understanding—it was not just about knowing where the parts go, but about handling them, and knowing how they interact. All of these things translate into skills, which are applicable in other, bigger projects. However, this project was not just about completing a goal or learning about computers. This project was about setting my mind to the goals that I have and pushing myself to achieve them. To me, this project was about goal-setting, planning, and accomplishing. These are in every aspect of life, and I learned new ways to approach my own goals.
The events that really inspired this change started when I first began my project, then when I completed my project. When ordering the parts, I found that they costed around what I planned. The tax for some was surprisingly large. The sheer number of pieces all boxed and laid out in front of me when I first started was much more than I originally thought it would be. I organized my build by what needed to be done first, and started on them one by one. This was what helped me to learn how to work through a large and complicated project—to work it into manageable sections and focus only on what needs done at one time while taking the big-picture plan into consideration.
The mid-way point through my project felt repetitive—I removed and reassembled the CPU fan on the motherboard, which involved taking off the back of the tower. Taking a break and coming back helped me to stay refreshed and focused on what matters. I decided to take the time to enhance my knowledge about what I was doing—really reading through the manuals and directions as well as consulting others allowed me to get started faster. Without the challenges from this computer build, I would not have been able to grow as a person, bettering my abilities to deal with frustration, finding resources to learn how to assemble as well as diagnose problems for the computer, and how to approach problems in my life.
Toward the end of my computer building-process, I thought that it was completed—but then it did not start. It took me some time to troubleshoot to discover the problem, and to correct the problems. This portion was the most difficult for me, and I discussed the issue to my family, friends who have completed STEP, and my brother, who also is working through his STEP project. After taking off several big parts, the large video card, the memory sticks, and the CPU fan, and putting them back on firmly and without interfering with the other pieces already in place, the computer started. It was a lot more complex and intensive than I thought would be, and I realized the value of a support network as well as skills to complete large independent projects.
This computer project taught me a lot about myself, and how I deal with frustrations and setbacks. I learned about how to better deal with frustration, and ways to prepare, plan, and overcome setbacks in life, not just in my project. Building a computer showed me how to approach goal-setting. I was ale to recognize the true value of hard work and dedication, and the challenges that exist in every endeavor. This is always a personal goal of mine, and I am glad that I had this project to improve upon myself and make myself a better person. This was an academic goal of mine as well, because I needed to learn so much about computers to complete it—something that I have wanted to do for quite some time but had not been able to. This also fulfills a professional goal of mine: to have a highly functioning computer to use and have something reliable to do all my professional needs on. The reason I chose this project was so that I could work on all my goals, and not necessarily just one aspect. STEP has given me the opportunity to achieve my goals and make these transformations. This computer build has given me the tools to develop myself, broaden my perspectives, and to accomplish what I set my mind to.
This build was both exciting and interesting. Through the process of building it, constant troubleshooting, and reflecting on it, I have learned a lot. The Hackathon event gave me some time to reflect on what I have learned, and realize just how much I now know, and how much I have yet to learn. I spoke with students visiting my build display, and I was able to guide them through my process, while speaking to them in technical terms that I would not have known before starting this project. I think this event let me realize just how transformational STEP was. I did not realize before this just how much I know. I was able to talk to computer-tech students without a real background in it, but I could because of STEP. I realized that the other STEP students are a good resource, and so are the STEPMakers for this computer build. I talked with the other STEP students presenting and learned a lot. We talked about our build processes, but also budgeting. There are some tips and tricks when ordering parts to not spend more than you need to. In addition, we had some parts similar to all of our builds, and it was very helpful to see which works best and what gave us trouble.