- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.
My STEP Signature Project consisted of conducting research into which computer parts would best fit the budget given by STEP. The parts chosen were then acquired, assembled and the process was documented in order to aid those who hope to build a computer of their own in the future.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.
My STEP Signature Project has mainly altered the way I view projects in general. Due to the computer build, I have become much more detail oriented and patient. It has presented me with the opportunity to make much less mistakes when faced with a daunting task due to the fact that I can now look at a problem without becoming frustrated as well. Another change that I discovered during the project is how much more satisfying it is to make something yourself rather than simply purchasing the computer, or having someone else assemble it for you. Finally, I was able to grow a better understanding of the hardware side of technology, which I may not have received had I not been given the opportunity to complete this project.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP
Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in
#2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing
the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project
that led to this change/transformation.
The first thing that I realized while completing my project was that I should work on maintaining a level head while trying to solve a problem. Fairly early on into the project, I realized that the motherboard would take up a large portion of the case, and that the fan might not fit as well. I had started to become worried, and frustrated that the fan would not fit, which made it much harder to complete the precise work that was required. After leaving the build for an hour and coming back to it, I realized that I would be able to mount the motherboard first, then mount the fan after the motherboard was secure in the case. Before this event, mounting the processor also gave me some trouble. It’s a very small object, and the pins on the bottom can become bent very easily. The mounting system was something I had not used before, and I had become worried and frustrated when it would not simply snap into place like I thought it should. After second and third guessing myself, I realized that I could simply apply a little more pressure, and it would slide right into place like it was supposed to. These two events proved that I should be a little more patient and keep a level head when dealing with any problem that I am faced with, especially when it involves precise work.
Throughout the duration of the project, I was also given opportunities to document my thought process, and share it with the Makerspace community. The Makerspace community also offered the chance to bounce ideas off of the other members, see their thought processes, and improve my own. I feel like this collaboration allowed for my project to improve a great amount, and it turned out a lot better than it might’ve had I not interacted with other members. This interaction with this community was able to provide fresh ideas on how I could improve my build and process, and it also made me look forward to helping others in the future the same way current members provided aid with my project.
Lastly, being able to build a computer using the parts purchased confirmed my passion for completing a project myself, and seeing something through from start to finish. Some may claim that it would have been much easier to simply purchase a new high-end computer, and they may be right, however the experience that I had gained from this experience in terms of technical know-how and practical problem-solving skills could not have been purchased. I would highly recommend to anyone who is considering purchasing a computer to weigh the pros and cons of completing the build themselves. They will more than likely find the same benefit that I found which was a sense of accomplishment, new technical skills, problem-solving techniques, all of which can be applied to practical situations as well as coursework.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.
The previous changes are valuable in my life for multiple reasons. First, as described in my previous answer, all of the changes that I experienced can be applied to both practical problems as well as coursework. For example, the problem-solving techniques and technical skills that I have gained grant me the opportunity to be able to troubleshoot my own issues that may arise seeing as how I know the build. By knowing what makes up a computer, and knowing how to troubleshoot one, I can also better understand how software that I may be writing (in and out of class) could interact with the system. Another example of where these skills can come in handy later is once I graduate and enter the workforce. It is extremely important in the workplace that you can keep a level head, especially considering that almost every developer position will require you to be able to solve complex problems with a team. By learning how to keep a level head, and problem solve off of my STEP Signature Project, I am better prepared for the future.