Running Away from this Blog but Finding My Way Back Home

In this post, I will address: Where have I been?! , and this MEGAplan for the upcoming months.

Where have I been?!

I have to be honest. I didn’t want to post anything because I committed a grave error. In my last post, I said I would learn this program called SolidWorks. (SolidWorks is this computer-aided design tool to help make stuff. For example, I could model a chess set and 3-D print it!) Well.. that didn’t happen and I made that post in September, nearly four months ago. Instead, I had to honor a previous commitment I made for myself, which was to read these three social design books (Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher and Mastering the Machine Revisited: Poverty, Aid and Technology by Ian Smillie, and Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on Less than $2 a Day by Collins, Morduch, Rutherford, and Ruthven). Over the course of a semester, I finally finished these three books. They are by far some of the best books I’ve read in my life. I plan to read Small is Beautiful again to really absorb Schumacher’s message. It is a difficult read for me. I would love to talk to anyone about these books, so if you’re interested send me a tweet on Twitter (@dswenn)!

It was only after I finished this prior engagement I made with myself (and to those that read this, do people actually read this?!) that I could move on to learning SolidWorks. And I’ve committed my month long winter break to learning SolidWorks! It is very enjoyable to learn and serves as a creative outlet. I have much to learn, but the goal is for somebody to say something such as “lava lamp!” or “pokemon figurine!”, and I would be able to create that in SolidWorks.

The MEGAPlan

So where am I going from here? Last summer, you went to Louisiana for research. Where do I go this summer? I thought long and hard and I came down to two paths. I will describe the first one below.

Path 1

My first and most desired path is to go to a foreign country such as India and carry out some sort of internship or research project. Understandably the chances of this happening is slim to none. One of the main reasons is because a country such as India, for example, is a hub for intermediate technology. Exposure to different cultures is also invaluable. A problem with this is that I have zero connections to the world of sustainable development, human-centered design, and intermediate technology. Therefore, I must find potential contacts and organizations and inquire about opportunities.

Finding these people and organizations is like trying to find something in an abyss. Fortunately I have a great Professor supporting me, Professor Wendy Petersen-Boring. She told me to view this whole thing as a process. I thought it made sense when I first heard it, such a simple phrase. But I didn’t really know what it meant. It was only these past two weeks of feeling extremely motivated at one point but then the polar opposite the next, that I finally understood it. During these low points, I became frustrated with myself on why I couldn’t do any work, why I was just sitting here. And I realized, it’s okay. Accept that there will be days like this. Everybody loses motivation every now and then. It’s normal and it’s okay. Accept it and move on. This switch in mindset allowed me to get out of a major slump. And Professor Petersen’s advice made all the more sense. This is all a process. There will be good days, and bad days, but at the end, there will be something (hopefully)!

Path 2

As if this wasn’t enough, I am also applying for research opportunities, like what I did last summer in Louisiana. Although I went through this process last year, it is not easy by any means.

The reason why I am doing this alongside Path 1 is because Path 2 is equally good. Working on engineering/physics skills intensely over the summer will allow me to become a better engineer, and thus making me better equipped when I enter the world of social development. Furthermore, while doing this engineering/science, I can try to keep a humanitarian perspective and see how I can incorporate what I learned into what I can do in the future.


That’s my MEGAPlan! I will work my hardest to make sure I don’t end up becoming a potato at home. But more importantly, to get started on this journey of engineering and sustainable development.