DAP is Over! (and I mean it this time)- Anjali Mani- EcoDrive

This is my final blog entry, the last contribution I will make to my sophomore DAP project. I will admit that it is an odd feeling to be a few hundred words away from finishing a project that has extended through three Texas seasons and four months.

 The DAP presentation was a mystery to me. I wasn’t sure how to balance information, thoughts, pictures, and personality to create a winning presentation. As EcoDrive was one of the first groups to present, we had the least time to prepare and the least amount of information about the judges and how other’s presentations went. I feel that going earlier in the week was actually an advantage for our group. I (and some members of my group) occasionally have problems with hyperventilating and over thinking situations, so going on the first day let us present and put us out of our misery.

 Of course, now I realize that the preparation for the presentation wasn’t actually that miserable, but it certainly seemed that way at the time. Overall, the presentation went far better than I ever imagined that it would. I was afraid that we hadn’t practiced enough, that I would speak too quickly, that I would forget all of my material or the projector light bulb would explode. Needless to say, I had some anxiety problems at the time.

 Being completely honest, I have to admit that I don’t remember a lot of the presentation. I think that I did a good job of presenting the material that I was responsible for without bombarding the judges with too information and managing to include an appropriate amount of my personality as well to make the presentation a little more personal. Although I am happy with the presentation, I know that I could have improved parts of the presentation. I would have liked to memorize my speech and slowed down when I spoke because I know that I speak ridiculously fast which can be hard for people to understand.

 On the first day, we had about seven judges there to watch and evaluate the presentations for that day. Quite a few of the judges were teachers who I knew rather well and really wanted to impress and show that I knew what I was doing. Several other judges were professionals in the engineering/eco-construction field including an environmental engineer, a landscape engineer, an architect and various other experts. The judges were very helpful and asked questions that helped us include more information that we had originally neglected to mention. One judge told us that they appreciated the photos of the trailer’s interior so they could get an impression of what the trailer actually looked like. Another judge asked us about our water supply and electrical system’s practicality, which prompted another group member to further discuss our reasoning behind certain decisions. Presenting in front of strangers was certainly a new experience for our group, but made the presentation feel like we were a professional design team, which was a very new sentiment.

 If I was to start this project from the beginning, I would have started much earlier. For a month or two into the project, our group planned intensively, trying to figure out the best way to approach the project. I now realize that although that time was useful, jumping right into the project would have been more effective for me. I would also have done more research regarding SketchUp and green materials earlier in the project so I could have had more information to work from.

 I have learned a lot from this project, and not all of it was just about what VOC paint means. I learned about how to work as a group, how to prioritize and sit down and do the work no matter how unpleasant it may seem. I learned how to properly measure different parts of a trailer, how to best utilize my resources and when to stop and calm down before proceeding. I know that I won’t be forgetting about this project any time soon. I will remember the sleep-deprived days, the time when I almost deleted the model, running in and out of the school to find those last minute measurements, and the feeling when I knew that I had done all that I could do and that DAP was finally over.

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