Guess who spent the weekend with 150 kids from Hampton and Howard hacking away at exciting new projects like mobile apps and websites? Yep, this girl right here. Now when I tell you I’ve been stressed for the last 2 months of planning a Google Hackathon, I MEAN I’VE BEEN STRESSED. I’ve literally been working round the clock, securing vendors, prepping students, and confirming plans that have been in the works since I legit stepped foot in my new job. I’ve planned lots of events in my lifetime, but this type of event was super foreign to me and therefore made it hard to work through without asking the people around me a million questions. So what’s a hackathon, you ask? Its essentially a 24 hour event where computer science students envision and create a product that solves a problem. In most cases, that product is a mobile app or website. To build this product students have to spend lots of time working in teams, hashing out ideas, organizing responsibilities, and putting their ideas into action. Being my very first hack, I had no clue what to expect but knew it would be an experience to remember. Throughout the 24 hours I spent with my students I was able to see a side of them that really pushed me to wanna be a better me so I thought I’d share that with you tonight. My kids literally impressed me with their tenacity and persistence in working to finish their projects in excellence, despite the barriers that presented itself in all of 24 hours. So to encourage you all in your current endeavors here are my takeaways from the DC Hack:
Stay focused on the big picture
My students came up with such awesome ideas, many of them setting super ambitious goals for themselves. Even though there were many instances that they could have been distracted, they had their minds made up that they would finish in 24 hours. If you have been working on a dream and find yourself falling for distractions, force yourself to focus on the big picture. Don’t get so caught up in the small stuff.
Help exists in the folks you would least expect it to
There were lots of moments when my students found themselves in a place of needing help. In many instances they would ask for one specific person to help them simply because they were comfortable with that one person. Just as I pushed them, I also push you all to go outside of your comfort zone and ask for help from those who you wouldn’t normally ask. You never know who’s placed in front of you specifically for the purpose of solving your problem.
Don’t let setbacks (big or small) discourage you
Many of my students were brand new to a hackathon and came up against some pretty big mountains but they never once complained or quit. They stuck it out and pressed forward. My encouragement to you? Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Your final project may not be as polished as you want, but FINISHING is a WIN all by itself
Consider this your midnight snack 🙂
Until next week,