Spring 3 – Finishing the Race

The semester – and the end of my (foreseeable) academic career – is coming to an end! With only a month left, all of our projects are getting a final push to finish strong.

PalliAssist

A (mostly) complete design for our phone attachment device

The most exciting progress made on my Brazilian communication app was a simple troubleshooting solution. Up until recently, the app would often crash the first time someone would try to login. While this unfortunate bug did not render the system unusable, it was certainly an annoyance and hindrance. As a reminder, I did not have any app development or object-based programming experience coming into this project, so solving this problem, albeit a simple one, seemed incredibly intimidating. It was unclear exactly what was causing this problem, and I wasn’t even certain that I would be able to figure it out. Nevertheless, it needed to be addressed, so I pressed on.

It contains lots of nooks and crannies for all our electronic components

A couple weeks ago, I finally had enough time to start devoting substantial effort to this problem. I studied the code associated with the login, read what the phone output when it crashed, rinsed and repeated. After some time, I was able to start connecting some dots and the metaphorical fuzzy picture started coming into focus. Then, after consulting stack overflow and other forums (my lifeline for this project) for fewer hours than I originally expected, I was able to implement a single line of code that solved the problem! This may seem like a seemingly insignificant victory to you (and practically it probably was). For me, though, it was like I was a boy who just learned a new trick on his bike and had to go show all his friends! There’s something exciting about surpassing your own expectations.

 

All in all, this experience with PalliAssist has been a difficult but rewarding one. Choosing to step into projects that will involve lots of learning and uncertainty can be unnerving, but completing them gives you the confidence to step up to even bigger and more uncertain problems next time.

Teledermatology

After spending lots of time learning new skills working on PalliAssist, I’ve loved getting to flex my mechanical design muscles again contributing to the teledermatology phone attachment project. Over the past weeks, we have been completing the final design that we hope to hand off to our partners in Barretos at the end of the semester. That means lots of SolidWorks! Trying to implement DFM (Design for Manufacturing) principles, minimize the size of the device, and find space for all of our electronic components have been enjoyable challenges to overcome this past week. We are on track to 3D print our final clip design by the end of next week, so that we will have time to complete all the necessary documentation that Josh will hand off to Barretos when he travels there later this month.

Jobs

Graduation is soon approaching, but that means that the next chapter is as well. I’ve found that the excitement, uncertainty, hopes, and fears all involved in the job application process make this one of the most unique times in your life. So far, I have yet to secure a job, although I have had some successes in landing some interviews. Despite the harder aspects about this application process, I’ve really valued going through it because it’s taught me more about myself than I’ve learned in a long time, both good and bad. Although I don’t believe a person’s worth is based on their professional success, I’ve been surprised how easy it is to get caught up in thinking that when I encounter obstacles pursuing it. No – life is far more meaningful than that!

Knowing my own qualifications, I’m still hopeful I will get a good job. But for now, I must keep seeking and waiting…

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