Have you ever had that feeling? The feeling of arriving back home after a long trip, only wanting to share the best of those newly-made memories with your family and friends?
The IA has been that long trip for me. And whenever someone asks me about my time spent in the IA, the memories I have created, and everything I have ever learned through my experiences within, I can truly say that it was the best two years of my entire educational experience, not only as a student, but also as a person.
Whether it was from learning how to lead my own learning during iWeek or even getting out of my comfort zone to present a TED Talk in front the FDR high school community, I couldn't wait to share my experiences with others The point taken here is that I have grown; moreover, I have changed for the better--all of us in the IA have--and the beauty of how we did it was that we did it together.
The funny thing is I still remember the day when I walked into the IA classroom for the first time. It was around the time when Randy Scherer came to talk to us about the design thinking process. The first couple of days I sat quietly listening, waiting for the best moment for myself to pitch some ideas. However, it wasn't until we began prototyping our ideas that I finally felt like I was becoming a part of something much bigger than just a regular class at school.
I was becoming part of an educational Innovation. However you need to know that we faced many hardships along the way, like any true entrepreneur does. Although we have started our own company at school BlendZ, sometimes we miss the bigger picture that we started the IA alongside our CEO Mr. Topf. Our founding class was a prototype and we have worked hard throughout all the hardships to make it what it is today. And now we have teachers and even students contact us from different countries to see how we do what we do and how we can teach them.
Not only was it incredibly educational to be part of such a reform, but I've also learned so much about myself along the way. For example I now clearly understand how to lead my own learning at my pace. Think to yourself for a second or two, but if you think deeply you’ll realize that learning is like a race. You will always have your Usain Bolts who can finish things at an almost supernatural pace; however, if you actually take time to find your own pace where you believe you can still create beautiful work, then you will be able to lead your own learning. After understanding this, I know that planning long term is definitely something that will serve me for the future when I go off to college to learn on my own. Take a look at Pablo Picasso or any painter for a matter of fact: when creating a painting they take months, sometimes even years to complete some of the most recognized work on the planet to this day. By this analogy I don’t mean to take years on completing an assignment, what I mean is that I need to give myself the time in advance to always be able to create the best of my work. It is when I create my best work that that I will truly learn to grow.
Moreover, some might say that it is easy to lead your own learning; however, I can tell you that for all your procrastinators out there, myself include, it is a difficulty beyond belief. Although with the help of the IA, I have truly been able to find my own pace to leading my own learning and understanding the depths of being autonomous. And for me that is one of the greatest takeaways I need to keep close to my mind for when I am off on my own for college.
As I shift onto the next chapter of my life at Rider University in New Jersey I know that this trip will always be remembered because I will be utilizing all of my experiences and memories here with what I am planning to pursue in the near future: business and entrepreneurship. And as our senior class, the prototyping class started the IA and helped make what it is today, I know that both like in a business and in life we all have to face pivots no matter what, but we learn from them. I learned this lesson not only through an educational perspective in The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, but also in more personal way in The Secret of the Seven Seeds by David Fischman.
In saying the last good-bye I have to mention that after having shared this trip of two years with the most phenomenal people, I am heartbroken since they have been like a second family to me. They have helped me grow, by telling me and showing me strengths I never knew I had and weaknesses that I know I can fix for the future. Moreover, I know that it might seem like the last good-bye for now, but it’s the end of this trip and the beginning of our new one. And that is when we start to get that feeling of wanting to share our newly-made memories again, but now we are sharing them with the IA family rather than experiencing it with them.
So for now, this is the last goodbye. And the next time we all see each other, I hope we've all resisted the urge to stay the same.
"They know us as the Innovation Academy, but they don't know that we are like a family--through work and play we are there for each other."
Something that life has gotten it’s way to teach me this week is that “you either work to live or work to die.” This quote was said by Andy Duphrane in the movie Shawshank redemption. The meaning I found behind this quote is that you can either love your job or die doing something you’ve hated. Moreover, this past week we focused on the IA review. Which was basically the overlook of all the strengths, weaknesses and things missing about the IA. We began to look through every detail, with the intention of repairing the IA for the better— for the future classes. That it is when I made the correlation with the quote from Andy Duphrane, I’ve noticed that I’ve enjoyed working to live through out the IA. I have been working to enjoy the now, the present.
All though sometimes I do and most of us do, live in the future, it is important to realize the present can be more important. Most of us might never notice but we are stuck on our phones, wether it’s during family dinners, filming at a concert, and even texting during class that we don’t live in the present. Introducing my new point that we do need to anticipate and invasion the future but at the same time live in the present, the same way Andy Duphrane did while being trapped in prison. Take a look at this video explaining the differences between working to live in the present rather than working to die in a job that all you think about is the future of leaving.
While watching the video it made me think of the next section for the IA final project—our focus on iterating through life and how I can still live in the present while envisioning the future. look below:
Models of People Who Live Well:
A person I admire with a strong character.
A person I admire with deep integrity.
A person I admire with a meaningful career who loves what he or she does.
A person I admire that is selfless and works for others.
A person I admire that is genuinely happy.
Who am I right now? (Consider this a pretest in how well you know yourself. Right down some of the first things that come to mind.)
My life would be incomplete if I didn’t have…
- A purpose (in other words a vision)
Finally the decision making has come to an end and now I am officially a student at Rider University.
As a little kid I had always dreamed of this moment. The moment of finally being done with school. The moment of choosing the next chapter to my life. Finally I am present and in this living moment. My decision is left with Rider University.
As happy as someone can be with their decision making, I am happy to face the world on my own and at my own pace. As I have recently learned and been re-introduced to, pace is important. Let me start by saying that we all learn at different paces, the same way that each and everyone of us runs at different paces. Stop and think for a moment, what is your pace?
Although I might have a pace I learn at now I know that it will be different in college, when I am on my own, weather its for good or for bad. However In college I believe that I will find my pace, especially when I find my passion and I will be far beyond dedicated. This link to the meanings of more than just these two words: dedication and pace, came to me after completing the movie whiplash for the first time this weekend. Struck to me by how much dedication the protagonist had, the idea of being so dedicated, setting your mind to it, and being able to do it at your own pace is surreal— you notice this at the end. No wonder why this movie has been awarded heavily.
So For now I will be beginning my learning at the school of business at Rider University. And when I begin it I will begin it with dedication and at my pace (corresponding to my schedule I am given).
“Only you can control your future.” ~Dr. Seuss
If you stop and think for a second about how powerful reading can be, you might notice a few pointers. For starters, reading is like a window into your imagination. One of the many beauties to reading is that whenever you read a book you are going to imagine it differently than someone else might have imagined it. Take a book that has been made into a movie, for example. The movie is a representation from what the director might have imagined; therefore, when most people read books and then watch the movie, they don't like it because it is not exactly how they imagined it. Of course there are other reasons why people don't like books that have been made into movie, but that is one reason why. Although that is why I love movies because I find it interesting to see how other people might have imagined it. Next time you see a movie and you've read the book try think of it being the imagination of someone else, you'll realize how interesting their perspective can be.
The reason I bring this up is because recently I have been starting to read more often in order to help me focus more. A problem I face a lot is not being able to completely focus myself in one of the many things I am trying to do at a moment in time. Therefore I have been challenge myself to read through periods of total focus, seemingly progress has been shown. In just over a week and a half I have finished Paper Towns. A thrilling romance mystery by John Green. This summer his book will be made into a movie and since I have just finished the book I saw the trailer. I depicted the differences of how I imagined the characters to be and the settings to look like immediately. However I am still super excited for the movie to come out. My favorite part from the book was the way John Green involved gave such interesting views to his characters, especially Margo's perspective on life itself and how her town was like a paper town. Also her idea of believing that we currently live in the future, that we base our lives on a plan of the future: going to school, then going to college, getting married, having kids, and finally sooner or later dying. This was all so interesting and is what kept me hooked, reading more than 50 pages in an hour. Moreover, I am excited to find my following book to read, but I hope it is as impacting as Paper Towns.
Whenever I am stuck between decisions I always take the time to sit down and think about it; especially when it is a life changing one.
As you may know, senior year is coming to an end and it is time to decide the future. With just one question my life can change forever. And that question is: Which college am I going to attend?
From the 9 schools I applied to I have gotten into 6 denied by 2 and wait-listed by 1.
For those who are curious to know which ones they are? Take a look below
*Awarded Scholarships (Business)
Upon looking at this list, it is time to make a decision. By the end of this week that decision will be made. However, from my thinking I am leaning closest to Saint Mary's college of California.
The reason is that I believe that it is the best fit for me is because it is close to my home town San Francisco and also because I like their business and entrepreneurship program. Also after speaking with a member of the board of directors of the school, she has given me some advice upon why she believes it might be a perfect fit. The reason I trust her advice is because she is like a second mother to me and I do believe it is a perfect fit.
Stay tuned on twitter to find out my decision making.
This semester has been an intense one. As I’ve been caught up with university stuff and studying for my IB classes I have come to the realization that I have let things slip in the IA. I haven’t been working to my full potential and have let things harm my reputation. In terms of pushing myself and pure motivation, I still have it, I just need to prove that it is there because all I have been proving are qualities like not turning in my work, laziness, etc. These are qualities that I personally do not want to be recognized as! Therefore as I lose my autonomy of choosing my grades this semester, I am brought back to a stepping stone of how I could change my view to everyone and most importantly myself. If I am willing to improve, which I am, then it is time for a change. Especially now mocks are over, I have more time on my hands. Nevertheless, I want to challenge myself in a few areas:
Admitting it is hard, but realizing that I have hit a bump in the road is the hardest part.
I tend to ask myself this a lot. When does work stop being work and actually start being something I enjoy. When does it stop being a hassle, a time that I don’t look forward to in my day. At first I honestly loved working in the marketing section at BlendZ, it was something I was profoundly passionate about it.
However, over time that passion began to fade ever since I didn’t feel that I was adding enough value to the company. Yes I had been researching new merchandise, contacting several potentials buyers, and even creating several designs, but still I didn’t feel like all this merchandise was so necessary since our time working at BlendZ would be almost over and even more than that it would potentially cost a lot of money and our main focus was for Habla Roosevelt. Although I see myself as having failed this semester in my section, nevertheless I do believe that I learned something. Failure can teach you many things, but only if you are willing to accept and understand failure. I learned this the hard way and I don’t see myself having learned it better any other way.
I learned that the hard worker doesn’t matter wether he is seen working or not because deep down he or she knows how much of themselves they put into their work. They know wether they feel proud or embarrassed. So now it has gotten to the point where it is time to say farewell to BlendZ and hello to a new project. As I had off my position I am finishing it with receiving the last bundle of merchandise for our company, the re-stocking of our shirts and hats. Although it is sad to let go something you started, it is astonishing to start something new. As I have finally moved on from BlendZ, but also still keeping the smoothie company close to my heart, I am again re-motivated to start planning for our IA service trip.
The plan is to go to a place in Peru and teach secondary kids about the ideals that we learn in the IA. An example is teaching them things like design thinking in little workshops/seminars. That is where I come in, myself and a couple of my peers are deciding to begin creating and planning the seminars. The following week will be our first brainstorm. Therefore I have been contacting different schools specifically in Lima and close to our community to see if they would be interested. I was able to talk to a teacher at our school who might have some potential schools. As I am excited once again to see how this will follow through, I am ready for our team brainstorm. So far I have been thinking of doing a fun game incorporating design thinking and how important it is to ask ourselves the why the how and the what. However, I think it is important that the game about design thinking triggers a memorable experience in the students minds so that they can remember this and use it as a tool in their future work. Can’t wait to see how the brainstorm will go! “Changing direction can always indicate new possibilities and attitudes, even in the workspace” ~unkown
In this past week there has been a slight change to the addition of things we have to accomplish in the IA weekly agenda. Planned by the entire group, we decided that it would be useful to watch documentaries and then analyze them. The reason behind this is because of our IA service trip in May. We will be filming our service trip to wherever we plan to go (we still haven’t decided yet) and serve there community there in an impacting and meaningful manner. Therefore we watched a documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi; which depicts a whole new meaning to how we view our job and how we feel about it.
Jiro Ono shows how even after doing the same job for 75 years, he still is passionate and believes that there is more to innovate and master upon. Besides this lesson he teaches of perfectionism he teaches a very important lesson that I took into thought:
Falling in love with your work
The majority of people now-a-days will tell you, chose an occupation that you love, that motivates you and persuades you into creating/doing the best of your potential. Although Jiro might agree with this, it is more profound than just that: “Once you decide on your occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about you job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to begin regarded honourably.”
In order to fall in love with your work it takes discipline. A personal connection that I noticed with this lesson was of my floating idea of maybe being a painter. Although I love to paint, I hesitate in immersing myself completely because I am still open to learn new things because I am not exactly sure if I would fall in love with painting everyday. However, Jiro proves that his sons hated making sushi when they first began, but with handwork and discipline it seemingly paid off. Therefore, I feel that once I go to college I will be able to finally be able to test new things that I can immerse myself for completely in. “It takes discipline and commitment to fall in love with your work."
In the IA I have realized that when working for Blendz, the majority of us do fall in love with our work. At times however I question wether we all actually do? Does the human resource team love what they do? In class this past week we did basically ask ourselves wether we love what we do our not because we changed up our different jobs once again. Those who seemed to not be in love with what they were doing were able to chose to begin working on our new service trip project, another option to immerse themselves in. In my case I have fallen in love with working and creating the IA merchandise, however, I do feel that I need to immerse myself more into creating more work in a quicker time span.
This past week has been an incredibly successful one. Not only has it been an exciting one because we sold over 100 of smoothie but it was also the first pitch of the new BlendZ merchandise that I have been working on: the BlendZ cup. When pitching the idea I had to persuade my customers. In other words I made them believe in what I believed in, that the cup could really add not only a valuable change to trash problems at our school but also a great way to market our company well (a playfully healthy and sociably responsible smoothie company. I was able to pitch my idea and sell it well. After having practiced pitching ideas in the past I have realized that the practice really payed off. The reason is because not only did I sell the idea well, but I was able to persuade my same enthusiasm of the merchandise with my peers/customers. This was a big task that I felt proud of being able to accomplish. Take a look at my BlendZ cup portfolio -->
Upon finding a problem with the purchase of this cup I was thankfully able to come up with a quick solution, I applied my quick thinking skills at this point. As the cup can only be purchased in the US I am going to next visit Gamara myself to keep on researching for more options to our suppliers. If this doesn't seem to work I have other back up plans to figure out how to ship them to Peru. These quick decision of changing and fixing a problem are something that I felt proud of being able to do. It really made me feel like I was at my internship all over again, I felt like I was a professional again. Moreover, after deciding my next step I was also able to complete and finalize the orders of the extra 20 shirts and hats for our volunteers and upcoming juniors.
As these tasks were time consuming due to the research, emailing, and finalizing planned, I nevertheless began to realize how important it is to complete tasks and feel proud of completing it. I can honestly say that after completing a task I feel proud of the work I have done because I know that I have dedicated my best efforts to doing so.
Senior year is coming to an end, but BlendZ will continue to flourish. Long live BlendZ.
As we have discussed with the younger IA class, it will be in their hands to take care of BlendZ and innovate upon the unique smoothie business. They will have complete autonomy over the company once we seniors graduate. However as we still have a couple more months serving the company, we need to keep working hard to leave everything in one piece.
Therefore this week everyone has been working incredibly hard to finish their goals for the company by the end of the semester. Wether it is for us to get the cart we have all dreamed of having on campus or even getting ready to launch our socially responsible part of the company: Habla Roosevelt. The company is moving, on wheels and quickly to reach their goals.
Moreover this week I have focused my time on trying to contact our hat and T-shirt suppliers once again. The reason for this is to begin refilling our uniform inventory since now we will be having more volunteers. Even so, I have been trying to brainstorm a type of merchandise that would be perfect for BlendZ to market themselves with and at the same time satisfy our customers. At first I though that maybe selling a BlendZ hat or T-shirt would be ideal, but then I came to the realization that it is our uniform and it represents us the employees. In that case, after brainstorming several ideas I went from BlendZ socks to a BlendZ Tumbler cup.
For those of you who may not be aware of what a tumbler cup is, it is basically a reusable plastic cup. Take a look at a rough idea of what I am talking about:
The concept behind this reusable cup is that it will help against a trash problem that BlendZ is causing at our school. Not only will it help our school trash problem, but it will also provide a discount upon a following BlendZ purchase, if and only if the cup is reused to buy a smoothie.
More research however had to be taken into account when looking at this idea. As I researched upon viewing several website, I noticed that the pricing for one is around s/. 30 to s/. 40 and in dollars around 7 to 15 $. One example is in Starbucks they cost 10 $ while at BlendZ we would be selling them at around s/. 20. Of course we would not only be gaining a profit since we would be purchasing them from a reliable source at 5.60 $ but we would also be marketing and satisfying our customers. Keep in mind that the profit we gain goes to our socially responsible organization of Habla Roosevelt. Therefore this purchase would be a great investment, however I did need to ask my self a very important question. Without any assumptions, would our customers be willing to purchase this cup. Check out the the results surveyed from our sale on Thursday.
Please comment below any opinions or any ideas/concerns for BlendZ merchandise. Thank you :)
My name is Stefan Stangl and I am originally from San Francisco, California. Currently, I am senior at Colegio Franklin Delano Roosvelt in Lima, Peru. My passions are sports and art.
♫Tweet me ♫