“She’s trying to make the library more fun”

Today my innovation group and I finished our project! It’s called the Mind Lab. You might be wondering why we would call something a Mind Lab, and what the project is even about. My English teacher had an idea about a 30-day innovation project, where we were allowed to choose what we wanted to create, whether it be change or t-shirt logos. There would be no teacher involvement (unless we were struggling with something), which allowed us to dig deep into our creativity without having to stop production.

With the help of my English teacher I was able to decide what I wanted to do, which was to create a relaxation area in my school. Everyone knows how stressful it is to be a high school student, and I needed to “feed a need” so this was the perfect idea. Kids would be able to relax with squeeze toys, or play a calming brain game. I had trouble finding people who wanted to join my one party group, but eventually I found Angela and Vivian , turning this one party group into three.

Our first step was to figure out how we were going to make this happen, so we scheduled what we were going to be done with by a certain date. We called our project the “Mind Zoo”, which our teacher suggested for the time being.

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We were planning to build put a bookcase in the school library and fill it with different types of puzzles and stress balls. We were going to raise the money by selling baked goods and that’s where things really kicked off.

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We wanted to sell cake pops, chocolate covered strawberries , and cookies so I shared Angela’s poster onto my facebook. While Angela created the poster, I started a kickstarter on gofundme.com. I thought the kickstarter would bring the majority of the money in, but unfortunately we didn’t get any donations. I could see why, being that I only knew a couple of teenagers that carried a debit card, so after realizing the money wasn’t coming in, we focused our main attention on selling baked goods.

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Week after week we started cutting down the prices, eventually four dollar cake pops turned to two dollar cake pops, and we added a couple more varieties of sweets like m&m cookies, and mint and plain brownies.Angela made the cake pops, I made the cookies and brownies, and Vivian made chocolate covered strawberries.

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Since Angela was mostly selling treats the first week, I decided to head over to the strawberry festival. Bad marketing strategy. When you go to a local place where teenagers hang out, to sell brownies, people get the wrong idea, but I did sell some brownies. I headed over to different neighborhoods around me with the remaining brownies, and luckily they sold out. I also started and was in charge of our instagram page at missionmindlab and updated our progression of getting this project finished. Eventually we made enough money and realized we needed less than what we estimated. We bought a shelf and I bought the puzzles and knick knacks. You’d think you could find puzzles in one place, but that’s not true. I had to go to Barnes and Nobles, Target, World Market, Michaels, and Daiso Japan.

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So I bought the puzzles, all we had left was the shelf. The shelf we bought was coming in later than we expected, and this was the most stressful part of this project. Finals was coming up, and we had this problem where none of us had a car big enough to bring the bookcase in. At this point, I felt like I was alone in this project, I was constantly making calls and trying to get a hold of my teammates if they could do the same, but I didn’t have much luck. Luckily I found this guy who was willing to bring in the bookcase by Monday morning. I faced another problem where the person who was supposed to pick up the bookcase ,slept through his alarm and was told that he could bring it by the afternoon(which was fine). But then my family members got involved, and to spare you the ugliness—it got stressful. The lack of communication in our group, led me to figuring out how to get out of this mess, alone. I didn’t have the resources at all to bring the bookcase in, and nobody was responding to me, everything was just too much. We should have organized who was responsible for what, to avoid something like this. But hey, this was a good lesson to learn.

Another thing that that our group needed to improve on, was trying to equalize the amount of work we had to do. There were a lot of days where each of us were busy, which delayed our schedule. I’ve learned that before creating anything, make sure to have reliable sources and to understand the sacrifices you need to make. If you plan something, plan it thoroughly to understand what you will be dealing with.Our project would have been less stressful if we weren’t so busy, but overall it challenged us to work harder.

Eventually we got the bookcase in and started building. Things got a lot better once we started building, assembling the shelf was actually kind of fun. We all spent our morning,lunch, and afternoon building, and we finished right in time. I’m grateful that Angela and Vivian were able to sacrifice their own morning,lunch, and afternoon to help finish this project. There were also other people that helped us in the construction of our bookcase, whose names are :Sandy Tran, Natalie Pham, and Anthony in Angela’s french class. This is a special shout out for the people who volunteered to help(along with Angela and Vivian of course), including the librarian who let us put the bookshelf in(Ms.Sharon): YOU GUYS ROCK! 😀

Day 1, assemble

Day 2, connect the pieces together

I forgot to mention the change from calling our project “Mind Zoo” to “Mind Lab”. We decided on calling our project the Mind Lab because ideas can come from anywhere and providing a de-stress station could help develop it. Mind Zoo has a connotation of chaos, and the puzzles were about critical thinking and the stress toys a refresher, so in that sense, the Mind Lab was a more appropriate choice. It was also because in stereotypical labs, we picture scientists creating things, and by trying to figure out a puzzle—you create different strategies and pathways.

Now that our project is finished, anyone can come by the manga section in the library(located in front of the computer lab) to relax by playing brain games and squeeze toys. We invite everyone to stop by, with the exception to take decent care of the knick knacks as you would with a library book.

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This was a great way to end the year, I’m glad we were able to succeed in our innovation project. I’ve never come across a project where I was able to create something on my own. I had hands-on learning where I learned about getting a business known through social media and figuring out how to make an idea come to reality. This is definitely an experience that’ll stick.

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A New Ending

Inflamed eyeballs were the un-established compromise to writing blog posts for English. But don’t get me wrong, it was well worth ALL of it. Now that the school year is ending, I’m disheartened to see this community of student bloggers come to its final stop. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most about English. I was able to see the inner workings of my fellow students and friends and their weird, brilliant, scary, and funny thoughts about everything. I had the opportunity to step into others’ perspectives and it felt genuine. I didn’t come across many bloggers that wrote just for the sake of finishing it. We had the freedom to talk about any topic and I feel like giving someone a certain trust that they can write about any topic, unconsciously makes people want to do well. That’s how I felt about it, but that’s also because I don’t like having restrictions on things that don’t require it.

There were some barriers along this whole blogging experience like not knowing what to write about, finishing on time, and creating something that would be satisfactory to myself. There’d be days where I had a week to write a blog post, I’d end up with ten drafts before I decided on what to write about and when I figured it out, it was too late. I would ignore all my drafts and start a fresh post that I wish I’d spend more time on. However those are only the elementary aspects of actual hindrance. I would worry about what I had already written, so as to not repeat myself because I am a person with old thoughts. It was also overcoming the fear of not caring what other people thought about what I wrote, that helped me grow as a writer. But not only does that help with my writing, I can speak my mind more freely than I have before this year started. There was also a line between being playful with words or just writing as though I was speaking to my friends. The main thing I would change about my writing, is to write poems, or mess with how things are supposed to be structured. I should have just risked the play on words, because then I would learn something if I was doing it incorrectly,luckily I realize my mistake now.

As I’ve mentioned in my last post “The End Has No End”, I struggled through organizing my thoughts so that the writing process would flow fluidly. Sequencing things is my scotoma, and I never realized it until I started blogging. I’m still not great at putting things in order, but it’s gotten better. Along with learning how terribly I organized pieces of writing, I learned how to incorporate quotes into a passage in ways where I could either bring it up randomly or have it slowly creep up as the main idea of my writing. Visually, I had to think about what details tied into what I was writing about, and using tags correctly to bring the right attention.

Some of my favorite posts have to be “Sorry for not Uploading” , “The Good the Bad and the Weird parts of Rain” , and “The End Has No End”. I was able to express bottled up thoughts that I’ve been wanting to share. There are some things you can go on forever talking about, and these topics were exactly that. Sometimes we forget them, but once it springs back to our minds again, you have to write it down immediately before the thought escapes. When we were forced to plan out the connections we made to rain, it helped me draw even more connections from personal experiences with rain. It was effective to focus on one topic to draw connections from your past, future, your five senses, or anything. And with those connections you would create more connections. I was able to dig deeper into the connections I’ve had with rain, even the insignificant details led to something bigger.

The best advice I could give to anybody who’s writing a blog or will be, is to be unafraid of what you post. If you’re passionate about something, go for it. Your writing can reflect who you are, so be bold even if it’s a little embarrassing. Also, don’t write about certain topics just because it will get views, write for yourself.

If there was something to fix about this blogging system, I would change the picture policy about having a picture as big as the blog post. I would often times find fantastic photos, only to be disappointed that it didn’t match up to the columns beside it. I understand how smaller pictures make things look “unprofessional”, but some photos are worth posting even if it isn’t big enough.

For my part, I loved blogging. I liked seeing other people’s opinions on things that people don’t share when they talk or hang out in real life. The things that go unmentioned were noticed because of our blogs. It is our own, and we can spread ideas like a wildfire which was what interested me the most. It’s refreshing to see new minds talking about unfamiliar things, rather than everyone focusing on one topic that they couldn’t find connections to. I think the best part about starting a blog post is finding the connection we made during class, it broadened our spectrum of what we can talk about as long as it connected to something we learned. It’s a good mixture of work and freedom and I hope other English teachers catch on(Future AP Eng teachers, I’m looking at you). Reading other people’s blogs were just as fun as writing posts, I’m glad I was able to experience this and I think I’m going to continue blogging. I’m going to miss seeing everyone post up a new blog post every week.

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Don’t Be a Weenie

My 9th grade English teacher once told me about how she turned down the chance of meeting Ray Bradbury. Well, she wasn’t technically going to meet him, but the job was to show Bradbury around her school or something like that. She told us that she turned down the offer because she was shy. I couldn’t believe it! She turned down Ray Bradbury, I mean, opportunities like this don’t come so often and to put something down because of fear, is kind of sad. She ended the story by telling us how rueful she was and I felt the same aching pain so I started thinking, why do we let fear stump us? In fact, why do we allow our emotions to dictate our actions? Some feelings are temporary, and if everyone acted based on how they felt, this world would be more chaotic. I hope to never come across a situation where I let my fear get in the way of something I want. It’s so easy to tell yourself to ignore fear’s presence ,but then you start wandering off and thinking about all the worst things that could happen. You start making excuses and by the time you’ve made your decision, it’s already too late. And now you’re realizing that fighting over something you know you wanted to do, was just a waste of time. It’s not a bad thing that you’re missing out on something, but the fact that you convinced yourself that you were defeated, is what makes the difference. We should be able to explore things free from judgement or fear. Kick down the door to your comfort zone, and venture what you please because I’ve never heard anyone envy about people who live life “safely”. By “safely” I mean getting rid of the things that aren’t in your daily routine and only sticking to the things that you have become used to. Adventurous people are more fun because they’re willing to do what most people are afraid to do. Now I’m not saying you should go jumping off cliffs, but a little fear in our lives keeps it exciting.

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