Week Seven – Live and Learn

There are good weeks. These weeks leave you feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride—a knowledge that time has passed and you’ve leapt forward into new territory, conquered fading enemies, completed missions, made new connections, even found a niche in the world around you perhaps. There are these weeks…and then there are not-these weeks.

This was a not-these week.

I’m not sure if you’ve been reading all of my blog posts, dear reader, but perhaps if you think back you’ll remember the naivety of my statement: “I think I may actually be able to finish my projects”. Yea. About that. The past few weeks have been a collection of small setbacks amounting to the current realization that I am woefully behind the schedule I created for myself.

The Gantt chart I drafted at the beginning of the summer, on the first week of my St. Jude experience, has been updated weekly. I’ve watched with growing concern as “shipping-delays” and “cancelled meet-ups” have pushed back critical deliverables until certain events this week left me completely frustrated with the state of my projects.

This is not to say I am not entirely without fault. You would have thought after two summer internships in the medical field I would have learned a few things about the design process. Namely, there is no design that will please all. You can add this or that and someone will have something they don’t like about it. Someone will think it isn’t going to work. Someone will look at your sketch or your CAD or your beautiful 3D animation—slaved upon for hours over a hot hard-drive—and find something that just isn’t up to par.

That is why prototypes exist. My critical mistake this summer was not creating rudimentary prototypes. Instead I lost time and wasted effort on creating intricate designs that simply did not please the right people in the right ways. Some of my errors I see, some of my designs I still think could well work, but now with only three weeks left of my internship, I realize my mistakes have cost me dearly.

I will not be completing one of my projects. I will do the best I can to supply something that is easy and straight forward to continue on and implement, but it will not be the product I had hoped to create.

This is disappointing and frustrating. What’s harder is, looking back, I see where I could have changed things to make the whole internship smoother.

But that’s why I’m here I suppose. Perhaps the biggest lesson to be learned is that I do now know it all. From product design to manufacture, there is room for improvement. I hope the next three weeks I can learn from the mistakes of the past handful and move as far forward as I can.


Jeannette Nelson

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