Sunday, April 10, 2016

Five things I've learned during Epic Challenge

Hello, everyone!

This time I'm going to post something different from usual.
My name is Sonja and I've been updating the blog together with Krista, another one of our team members. I'm one of the two high school students in our team. Since we will give a presentation to American high school students regarding our project next week, I feel it could be a good time to share with you a few lessons I've learned myself during the Epic Challenge.

5. Anyone can learn anything if they try hard enough

I have never concidered myself to be very good at biology, chemistry or mathematics. They have always been the most interesting yet most challenging subjects for me to learn in school. In the beginning of last autumn I had no idea what a hydrophonic system was or how the gravity of a planet affects how the plants grow there. During this project I have had to learn about those and dozens of more subjects and suprisingly there hasn't been anything I couldn't have been able to understand. I have learned tons of stuff from our teachers, the NASA experts, the other team members and just by searching for the information. It's amazing how much you can learn if you are invested enough!

4. Good teamwork requires flexibility

One of the main things I've noticed during this year is that not everything goes according to plan. People have lives outside the project and not everyone can always give their all. There is no point in blaming others when timetables don't hold and deadlines lurk behind the corner. You can only accept the siyuation and try to make the best out of it.

3. Managing your own time is vital

I have always had the bad habit of doing everything just before the deadline. Unfortunately that doesn't work when you are a part of a team with little time in thei hands and lots of work to do. Dividing tasks and planning your work really makes everything easier.

2. Keeping an open mind brings pleasant suprises

Insects taste good.
This is one of the more suprising things I've noticed during this project. Before I would have never even concidered putting a squirming, nasty bug in my mouth. Now I can proudly state that grasshoppers with garlic is one of the best things I've ever tasted!
Science is the research of the world around us and one who wants to discover the mysteries of the universe should be able to put their prejustices aside and try new things once in a while.

1. Nothing is impossible

A Finnish high school student working with NASA and innovating technology to habitate Mars with? That sounds absurd, but for me, Netta and our classmates from Red Sandbox that is pretty much our everyday life.
Cooking insects for food and calling to an international space station? Been there, done that.
The Epic Challenge project has taught me many things but perhaps the most important one is this - you can never know what opportunities the life brings to you and it is impossible to determine the circumstances you'll face in the future, but when you have a chance to do something valuable and learn new things, you should take it and try your hardest to make everything you can out of it. Only by taking a leap of faith and testing your own limits you can achieve something truly epic.

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