The main reason that I joined the Academy was actually because I got duped by my mom into thinking that all of my friends would be in it, and who wouldn’t want to have a ton of classes with their friends. My best friends did turn out to be in the academy, but little did I know, they only signed up after I did, so there was a chance that I would have never been with my friends at all! That is really besides the point though. The 4 years of the academy that I have been through have been a great experience. I have been able to work and learn with people I would have never met and talked to otherwise. I also learned some very important life lessons from the academy
One of the biggest takeaways that I have gotten from the academy is to finish what I have started. I typically have tried to throw in the towel a little early every year, but I have always managed to finish the project, even when it became really tough for me to do so. The most difficult year for me to do this was my senior year for my capstone project. I was ready to quit at the end of April. I had no motivation to complete my project, I would skip class, I even had no intentions of showing up to Expofest. After talking to members of my family and making a plan with Mrs. Pelletier, I was able to complete the rest of my capstone project in the short amount of time that I had left. This is extremely important because it shows that even when I was at my lowest, I was able to pull through and show that I can finish what I started. I also got the sense of accomplishment from finally finishing something that I started 4 years ago in freshman year. This is a very important trait or characteristic in the real world. It shows future employers that I have traits such as perseverance and collaboration which are always needed. It also shows that even when I am at my lowest I will not be ready to give up in the future.
Another takeaway from the academy over the past 4 years is how to handle new and uncomfortable situations. I have started learning how to do this since freshman year. It all began when I signed up to wear the banana suit at the expo in freshman year. I thought that I would just be able to walk around, hang out, and chill, and not have to work at the booth, but I was very wrong. The first part of being the banana that some would consider to be uncomfortable would be singing the jingle. This wasn’t too hard for me to do because I thought that I would just have to record it once for the website and be done with it, but again I was wrong. After many heard the monotone, lifeless jingle on the website, it started to gain some hype, and by the time expo rolled around, I had to sing it live in front of many strangers for our pitch and for the expo goers who took a peek at our website and wanted to hear the jingle for themselves. This made me nervous at first, but I soon learned to embrace the banana suit and the jingle, and it made the overall expo experience much more enjoyable than it would have been had I not. This shows that I am never afraid to be myself, and I never put on some sort of facade when around other people. Another uncomfortable experience for me was how to handle my failing capstone project towards the end of the year. Like I mentioned above, I could not bring myself to just make that small bit more to the finish line. I had so many things going on in my life, and could not care less about my expo project. I didn’t know what to do, so again like I mentioned above, I stopped showing up to class, but after making a plan, I was able to get my expo project just ready by the day of the expo. This was a challenge as there was still some engineering, building, and coding that I needed to do. I just pushed myself to finish even though I wish I could have just stayed in bed the whole day and done nothing. I’m glad that I was able to finish, even though it made me uncomfortable at first, I now feel a sense of accomplishment and relief that I am done.
Overall, the last 4 years of the Academy have been a good time and have taught me very important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I wish the Academy luck, and I look forward to move on to other things in life!