Team UV arrived home from the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) late last night after having traveled from California to Nevada to Idaho to Oregon to Washington, back to Oregon and finally home to Southern California yesterday, amassing over 3,000 miles between travel, the conference, food, hotels, and a bit of tourism.
The conference itself was a lot of fun and proved to be a great opportunity to share our project with students, scholars, and many others from all over the country, while also giving us the chance to check out some of the research that others have been conducting as well. Perhaps one of the coolest moments, was meeting an Eastern Washington University (site of the conference) engineering student who was familiar with our website and who told us he wished he could work on projects like ours in the future, which is a huge win in our books, as it reflects the fact that we have been at least a little bit successful in one of our primary goals here at TeamUV.org: to inspire interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), especially amongst the general public. This was definitely one of the cooler moments for our team regarding the past week, as well as the duration of the project in general.
It is unfortunate that we had to run before getting the name of the person we talked to briefly regarding our website after the presentation, but to you we would like to say the following: thank you for your readership and support and please believe that none of us could have possibly imagined a scenario in which we would accomplish/learn/grow as much as we have over the past 12 months of this project when this team was first established last April. If you want to be able to do projects like this, then go for it! Don’t let anyone stand in your way, and as long as you are willing to pour yourself into it, to push yourself to your limits, to get up and fight for what you believe in, and to maintain that level of inspiration, dedication, and determination, there is not a force in this universe that can stop you from achieving your goals. Sure, there’s adversity; maybe it’s financial, maybe it’s administrative, maybe it’s the fact that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but all of this can be overcome. We raised nearly 85% of our project costs through online crowdsourcing, filed paperwork on a daily basis for nearly three weeks to get to the national conference, put in nearly 5,000 man hours between the five of us over the first 11 months of the project (by a conservative estimate), and slept far less than we’d like to admit, but most importantly, we got to where we are today. Four conferences, representing the Mechanical Engineering department at the Engineering Showcase, a successful website, an excellent team with a great future, and an outstanding project, and we’re still kicking. Remember that seemingly-corny saying “you can do anything that you put your mind to”? Well, it’s time to start believing, because mind over matter is for real and to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, nothing worth doing ever comes easily.
All that’s left is to find your inspiration. For me personally, my inspiration comes from our troops. The way I see it, if someone can put their life on the line halfway around the world to protect the freedoms that I enjoy, if they can risk being shot at, blown up, captured or killed in a foreign place thousands of miles from home, possibly alone, starving, and near death (as was the case for Marcus Luttrell during Operation Red Wings), so that people they have never even met before can go on living comfortable lives, how can I possibly complain that my work is too hard, or that I am too tired or too hungry? For me, these are the considerations that make my issues pale in comparison and that push me to keep on pushing myself until there’s nothing left, and then to push further. To all of our readers, identify something worth fighting for and then go to war with your own demons over it, because you can do whatever it is that you want to do and remember, pain is temporary, pride is forever.
Until next time,
P.S. Regular post scheduling will resume Thursday.