OK, so we have a blog. But where’s the content?

Creating a blog has been something I’ve been pondering for a while now. But it would’ve most likely been a personal blog where I would update it everyday with my daily experiences; diary style.

I have never been that great of a writer. Sure, I can turn out a bombing technical paper, but I really don’t feel like there’s any “art” in technical writing as opposed to more creative writing purposes… like blogging. My reasons to create a blog was for just that: expand and improve my creative writing techniques.

So what can you early readers expect from this blog? Well from me, I will just be putting out content whenever I can or feel like it. But I will  try to post often. My posts will be remembering past events and experiences related to our mission: to become the most well rounded material engineers on this earth!

But for now, Ill just tell you the circumstances of this blog post.

I love to research in depth every new hobby, passtime, or mind-distractor that unfortunately cycle through my life. This time it is blogging. So I researched the top blogging tips on reddit (I absolutely use this site for research). What I came across was a post that simply said “Write about everything, write about nothing. Because writing makes nothing become something.” or something like that. I must admit, I’m very influenced by carefully picked words that induce a sense of motivation… some people call them ‘quotes’. So this quote stuck to me, whether it was true or not. After absorbing these carefully picked sequence of words, I looked around myself and saw… nothing. OK, now I got nothing, let’s get writing! But for reals, I’m sitting at my desk that has literally been my home this semester, sipping on coffee cup number who-knows and snacking on Walmart brand nutella.

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Ignore the Hello Kitty mug. Wait, forget it, I love that mug.

So this is what writing is like when you just… write. I have to be honest, the post I made previous to this one sucked and I think I know why. It is because I put to much thought into it. And my grammar sucks. But that’s a story for another day, another post.

Now, I must get back to my homework: writing up a lab report with technical writing. I’m hoping due I can subtly make it more lively with the leftover ‘creativity’ – if that’s what you want to call it – from this blog post.

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STEC una pequeña gran oportunidad.

En búsqueda de mejorar mis habilidades y el seguimiento de cumplir mis sueños me aventuré en STEC (Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Camp), un campamento dirigido para jóvenes colegiales (Stephen y yo los únicos universitarios), con grandes aspiraciones a ser sus propios jefes (como ellos lo definen), pero sin dejar de la el impacto social.

Esta edición del campamento fue para muchos jóvenes su iniciación en la comunidad emprendedora de nuestro país, la cual es reducida pero con gran crecimiento en los últimos años, dedicado en especial para jóvenes de la zona sur de nuestro país.

Al revisar la agenda de la actividad observé que sus conceptos en gran medida eran de mi dominio, sin embargo gracias a su coordinador Cristhian Nuñez obtuve una beca para el mismo, dándome la oportunidad de lo que realmente era mi intención desde un inicio; conocer y motivar a todos esos chicos admirables aventureros desde edades tempranas.

Equipo STEC 2015

Equipo STEC 2015

El campamento se desarrolló mejorando las habilidades de comunicación de los chicos, durante la primera tarde-noche, con el temido elevator pitch con productos graciosos como lentes 4×4 y 4×2 y cuchillos sin filo. Esto fue de gran asombro para mí, al observar presentaciones de gran calidad.

El segundo día fue una sesión de casi 18 horas en lo que trabajamos aspectos de Lean Canvas Business (http://javiermegias.com/blog/2012/10/lean-canvas-lienzo-de-modelos-de-negocio-para-startups-emprendedores/), sobre proyectos ya con algún avance, en mi grupo fue desarrollado PRISMAT, (el proyecto de basurero inteligente que tengo con mi amiga cofundadora Francy Rojas), en el cual decidí recibir retroalimentación de los integrantes de mi grupo STEC (el cual fue el más unido, desde mi punto de vista).

El día domingo, día de las presentaciones se notó mucho esfuerzo por dar lo mejor de cada uno y explotar al máximo las capacidades, además cada uno deseaba mejorar en el trayecto de viernes a domingo en sus habilidades.

Por otra parte desde mi punto de aprendizaje, el campamento fue muy enriquecedor en el aspecto de la exposición oral ante una audiencia, debido a que pude practicar y sentirme en confianza con el equipo de trabajo.

No dejo de lado la admiración profunda que tengo hacia los muchachos que nos acompañaron al ser agentes de cambio a sus 15 casi 16 años; conocer chicos y chicas voluntarias, con proyectos de gran calidad, humildad y con grandes deseos de superación fue una de las experiencias de las que sin duda cambiarán mi vida.

Para ir cerrando, agradezco a la organización dentro de las que destaca el Centro Universitario Miravalles y la Embajada Americana, responsables de esta pequeña gran oportunidad.

Como reflexión final quisiera dejar la siguiente frase:

El éxito sólo se logra rompiéndote la madre… de otra manera serías un suertudo, no una persona exitosa.- Anónimo.

STEC, a whole new experience

What I thought would a distraction from my university studies and thus a waste of time, actually turned out to be an excellent formation opportunity and a huge eye opener.

This edition of STEC (Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Camp) was mostly directed at high school students in Perez Zeledón whom are looking for their first entrepreneurship experience.  With me being a university student in Cartago and already having some entrepreneurial experience from the past Startup Weekend, I thought it probably wouldn’t be the most profitable opportunity formation-wise. But I applied anyway because hey, I might actually learn something and to be honest, I got a scholarship thanks to my friend Fabian. And boy did I learn, but not in the way I expected.

The camp started with the bus ride to UCR’s agrifood farm in  Ochomogo which would be our home for two days before moving to Perez for the final presentations. The farm had many classrooms where we spent most of our time developing our business ideas with the help of mentors and also received short keynotes from invited speakers.

The first day started with each student introducing themselves along with a short, funny story about themselves. Afterwards, we received several keynotes from successful entrepreneurs whom shared their experience and hardships in their journey to get where they are today. Afterwards, we got down to business and the twenty of us were split into several teams where each team started developing the first steps into building a business ideas. At the end of the day we each performed individual elevator pitches about a random business idea our mentors gave to us as practice. My elevator pitch was about “Flavored Orthodontics” and it wasn’t that bad! My public speaking skills and preparation have definitely improved from the last time I spoke in front of an audience.

The second day was aimed at honing down our business model. We received mentoring on intellectual property and lean business model canvases to be implemented in our business ideas. In the evening we prepared out PowerPoint presentations and defined each of the group members roles. Preparation went on until  2:00 am when each group performed a first-run practice of our final presentations and recieved more feedback from the mentors.

The bus that took us to Perez left at 9:30am right after a delicious breakfast. During the three hour journey we practiced our presentations as groups. Once at our final destination at UNA’s Brunca division, we presented our pitches for last minute feedback. A couple of  hours later, after a lot of stress and nervousness of the other students, we pitched our business ideas in front of a panel of judges. Each group performed amazingly… but ultimately my team won. Our business idea was titled Life Security, a device that would prevent infants from suffering overheating or death if they are forgotten inside a hot vehicle. It would be implemented into car seats and notify the parent if the vehicle is getting too hot and set up an invisible perimeter around the vehicle from which the parent would be notified if they move out of it.

The students who live in Perez stayed behind while those who live in the central valley returned to whence they came. We said our goodbyes and wished all good luck in the future.

My awesome team.

The awesome team that of Life Security. From left to right: Tania, Me, Vale, and Elian

This humbling experience led me to see that today’s youths are more capable than I previously thought (I feel old when I say this). They have many more opportunities available to them that I never had while I was in high school. I was definitely surprised with their spirit and willingness to go beyond the expected image of a common high school teen. In many of them I see a bright future.

The knowledge I gained from this event wasn’t what I expected. Sure, my speaking skills improved, but that will always come with practice. This camp led me into my first steps into being a mentor. During the whole process I was transmitting to these students the experience I had gained from previous and similar events. And I had so much fun doing so. I really wish these guys the best and hope to see them become something great in the future.