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Personal Project Essay

Introduction. There is no way to describe the Personal Project better than to say it is a one in a lifetime experience to mark self growth and personal development with a tangible piece of evidence that displays devotion and the MYP student’s ardor for exploration of the unknown. For me, it was just that. I carefully contemplated the subject for my project. I decided that my high school career was coming to a close faster than I thought and I wanted to see if my path for adulthood was the right one for me.

After college, I aspire to be an editor for a magazine and there is no more perfectly-suited opportunity to test this than my Personal Project. I also wanted to integrate my future plans into my everyday life and my interests now; my present hobby and a substantial part of my life is swimming. So I used Approaches to Learning to create a magazine for a teenage swimmer. It would include three main content sections: stroke and technique, health and nutrition, and recent events in swimming. Of course there would be smaller subsections such as top times and releases of new innovative products too.

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Approaches to Learning was an important Area of Interaction for me. I learned organizational skills and developed other necessary skills for completion. I hoped to learn to efficiently manage my time and through the Personal Project I learned that I often underestimate my capabilities. I appreciate my growth in the Homo Faber Area of Interaction because through creation, I improved my attitude towards life. I learned to connect different aspects of my life (the present and future, hobby and career, etc.). I challenged myself in creation of a magazine and used processes and became efficient in using the creative processes to compete against myself and be the best I can be.

Lastly, I utilized Health and Social Education to explore nutrition and wellness. I want to endorse a healthy lifestyle, one I have failed to achieve. Through my Personal Project,t I hope to correct my wrongs, and help others from making the same mistakes. Also, athletics is more than ability, but proper personal upkeep. I want my magazine to have a focus on that. So, using the MYP Areas of Interaction and my commitment to achievement, my greatest goal is completion with the most attainable gain.

Process. Receiving the Personal Project, I felt inundated with work. Still, as I developed a plan and immersed myself into it, my interest drove and devoted me through one of the most invigorating experiences. Being always academically oriented, I wanted to put forth the maximum effort and completely commit to the task. On top of my regular classes, it seemed stressful and nearly impossible. I failed to recognize that this opened up doors and opportunities that my ordinary classes cannot provide.

I learned how I handle situations by underestimating myself and making rash judgments too quickly through my initial reaction. To overcome this and select a topic was probably the most challenging phase. Identifying an interest for me to expand upon consumed much of my time. I can count this process as part of the Personal Project itself. Therefore, I cannot say that this was not time wasted. However, I already incorporated many Areas of Interaction into my life, so this did not present a problem. Instead, it was selecting from my wide range of ideas and passions to develop into a study to last me a year.

My personality requires straightforward answers and guidelines to follow rigidly. So, it is no surprise that this would be my major obstacle with unlimited freedom in the selection,  and it would take perseverance and focus to overcome this snag. The flexibility is not something I am accustomed to. In my regular MYP classes, the instructors present a theme to follow along with a rubric. The deviation from the norm gave me an unnecessary sensation of fear, and I became more stressed as it permeated my mind. As a deadline for a general idea drew near, I felt more clueless than ever. I went through an intricate process of elimination, taking all of my daily activities and interests into consideration, and ruling out all of the impossibilities.

I wanted to utilize something that was a large part of my life but still pushed me to have a new experience. I desired to morph one of my rituals and daily occurrences, let it spark my creativity, and then let it blossom into a project that cannot only enrich my life, but possibly as well as others. Above all, I yearned to slowly unveil parts and traits of me that I did not yet know existed. Being part of rigorous International Baccalaureate, I am fascinated by wayston use my characteristics to produce succes, improvee upon thes, ando uncover my strengths and weaknesses. While I am relatively young, and the development of my personality is coming to a close, I want to seize the moment and identify my strengths and fortify them.

In addition, I control my weaknesses to a point where I can correct them. So for me, this Personal Project was more than just tangible output, it was a matter of self discovery. My first idea for a topic involved my love for the fashion industry. I aspire to be and editor of a periodical so this would use one of my hobbies to lead me into tasting what I will go through in the career world. However, I wanted to do more than learn. I was longing to create. However, this soon fell through. I was planning to take on more than I could handle. Having absolutely no background of sewing, I would be fabricating clothing with no basis of knowledge for actual production.

To take this on would be a challenge that I foolishly thought I can handle. To take this on would entail designing creations and attending sewing classes, and acquiring machinery and materials. This would be quite an investment of time and money that I do not have enough of either to spend. No amount of management could facilitate this and I have inadequate finances to actualize efficient equipment or availability to borrow it. Also, I am involved in athletics six days a week so the amount of classes to become skilled in sewing would be impossible to fit into my time schedule. Sewing is a lifestyle, a practice acquired and perfected over years of time. I hastily chose this without realizing the ability required.

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I proceeded to select something in the same range of interest but not entailing as much to handle. Still hoping to create a project in the fashion industry, I decided on merely creating a portfolio of designs I wish to create. After my sketches, I would finalize them with a detailed drawing complete with colors. Then, I would put the designs in a giant book resembling a scrapbook. Along with that, I would find fabrics to go along with each article of clothing. Instead of creating the clothes, I would be gathering samples of materials. This seemed like fun to me, and I was excited to begin. I started with a few designs and focusing on perfection. After those were finished, it was more complicated than I thought to find fabrics that would suit each creation and accessories. That was just a tiny problem, though.

My interest was starting to deteriorate. The Personal Project is a year-long affair. Even though this seemed erratic, I needed a topic I could commit to. This seemed almost too easy and just seemed all too familiar to me. Based on the advice of former sophomores, they told me that it was of great importance to pick an idea that would lead into new excitements and keep me hooked on the project. This was something that I have been doing as a hobby since middle school. The Personal Project is supposed to broaden horizons and I was looking forward to venturing into the unknown. However, I felt that my portfolio was limiting the possibilities, and I was not taking advantage of such a golden opportunity to try something foreign to me. Therefore I decided to go in a new direction.

Discouraged by the lack of fulfillment that fashion brought me and the failures of my former ideas, I desired complete opposition. So I ruled out anything even relating to fashion and instead focused on another interest: writing and drawing. I wanted to incorporate writing and drawing into a children’s book. Children’s books are rich in colors and vibrant pictures, which I have a knack for. They also require climatic and exaggerated storylines, which I enjoy writing. Also, they need a creative layout and presentation. Many of these elements would help me with this book I was planning to create, but I could acquire new skills for my career as an editor.

As I began working, I felt this starting to go downhill too. It was boring and seemed so unoriginal. I needed to add sparkle with a new concept. What a better way to do that by adding one of my more robust classes of Spanish into the mix? By making the book bilingual, I would be strengthening my existing knowledge of the Spanish language and learning new aspects. This was indeed something I could stay dedicated to. I worked hard to come up with a storyboard and especially on pictures to accompany the plot. I was pretty into the drawing part. Still, I could not envision this standing out amongst other projects.

I feed off attention, and I wanted mine to be unique, something that others will envy and more importantly something I could be proud of and remember forever. This seemed all too similar to other people’s works. One of my classmates had a striking resemblance to this exact idea. I could not share the spotlight with someone else. I want something that defines who I am and to be one of a kind. If another was duplicating this project, there is no way that I can rightfully call this my own. It could not mark just my personal development.

It was not until winter when I finally came up with the perfect project. Briefly aforementioned is my involvement in swimming. This was one of the first interests to be ruled out because I quickly came to the conclusion that nothing could evolve into a year-long study. Many past projects were videos or creating a team. But with swimming, a video would be impossible and inappropriate. And developing a team requires much more than just having kids sign up. I would have to be of legal age and go through many six-month-long application projects. Also, coaching requires immense experience.

I could not ethically teach kids proper stroke, knowing there are better people suited for the position. I do, however, have quite an amount of knowledge of the sport, for my past coaches and my coach at present are all amazing. One of my more recent coaches and the one I have had the longest, has been especially helpful and really transforming me into the athlete I am today and I wish to pass on the expertise that he has bestowed upon me. Initially, I completely bypassed any ideas because I was close-minded and could not figure out how to intertwine all of that with tangibility. After the crash of the previous idea, though, the ideal project came to mind. As previously stated, I want to be an editor of a magazine. No one said it had to be fashion.

Numerous fashion magazines are dominating the periodical industry. Yet I could not help but notice that there are very few swimming magazines. All of which are bimonthly and are brief. I knew exactly what I should do: create a magazine. I would design it for teen swimmers who are dedicated and want to be the best they can be. It would include the basics of stroke and technique and tweaks to perfect it. In addition to that, I would have proper nutrition for the active teen, which is something I could easily attain data upon. Also, I would feature the latest swimming news about innovative products with ads to complement it and famous swimmers along with top times.

At first, I thought I would be doing this cover to cover. However, I am no expert in all of the areas I wish to include. All of the basis of information would be from the internet and other magazines which do not make it new to avid readers and I would feel like I am not finding out new facts on my own. I feel that a storyboard along with sample pages would carry across the general idea of my magazine. The storyboard would show the available content breaking up the subjects and giving a general feel for the magazine. The sample pages would display the layout and readability of the periodical.

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Along with that would be articles that I would use in the real thing. I would need to get information to do this and have good sources from experts and other sources. Unfortunately, some of these sources must be the internet and other book and periodicals because I do not have enough experience to be the sole informant. I am no Olympian, and my swimming itself is nowhere near perfection. Also, time or location does not allow me to find all the needed experts and interview them, but I have enough from coaches and personal accounts to have firsthand knowledge. I plan on nutrition and wellness to be the most vital point of my magazine. I can arrange an appointment with a couple of nutritionists and interview my pediatrician for accurate health and diet specifics.

Now that my topic was established, it was time to create a time table and plan of action for this to be followed through. The first order of business was coming up with a snazzy name. Even though this was not a top priority, the name would confirm that this is my Personal Project and just make it seem more real to me. The name is important, so I feel like I am fully committed and cannot turn back. I went through a series. I carefully thought of other names of magazines and what they do for them, and how they apply to content. For example, Cosmopolitan. It is a woman’s sort of “how-to guide” for life.

The name describes what the normal lady wants to be with a hip and suggestive name. It means for someone to fit in and be part of society, which, let’s face it, everyone wants to be just that. The New Yorker is often associated with the elite of academia and writing. Also, a New Yorker is thought to be one of a society of innovation. Therefore that name perfectly suits it. I want mine to be distinct, but still fun and youthful. I need it to hint at the fact it’s a swimming magazine without being blunt like Teen’s Swim and Nutrition. Therefore, after much deliberation, I came up with Eat My Wake.

Secondly, I must have material to publish. I would start with something small like topics of articles. I knew that I was not going to publish an entire issue. So I needed to carefully choose what I was going to write sample articles on. These would be pretty general to ensure maximum understanding of the magazine’s purpose. I decided that a guide to each stroke with an introduction, key movements, and tweaks to perfection would be good to cover the stroke aspect of the topics. For nutrition, I would describe ideal foods and diets for better performance along with suggested calorie count and necessary nutrients.

Finally, I would have recent swimming news and momentous meet updates (this would be the last thing to write about so I can include the most recent information at the time the Personal Project is presented). In the back of the magazine would be top times for all age groups and world records so swimmers can compare themselves to the leaders of the country. Then I needed to think of what I wanted to use that would illustrate my articles. The best pictures of swimmers are those nearest to perfection. These are our Olympian athletes and role models that we aspire to be. I wish I had a team of photographers to go and get my own original pictures of them, but the closest I will have is the internet and other magazines and posters.

So I scanned these looking for action shots portraying what I focus on in a particular article. Pictures rich in the movement are motivating and easy to admire. After finding pictures I would move on to the part requiring the most attention: the articles. The writing of my articles was the most difficult because I wanted all original material to write on. Most of the swim technique and stroke facts were from my coaches. Ever since I decided upon this topic, I have been paying close attention to my coach and what she tells us about stroke and how to perfect it. My past coach often reiterated and focused on technique work. So it was not hard to recall what he said.

I also used what my high school coaches told me to put into my guide. I just had to organize the archives of my mind to produce accuracy. I also asked other swimmers how they improve their strokes. When I felt I was lacking in information in a specific area I resorted to the internet and other magazines, but this was rare considering I had a plethora of information. I just felt it was important to utilize all sources and have a wide range for extra reliability. After collecting all my facts, I set to work on writing articles. I had to make sure that were not too long, but not too short. They had to have easy readability and be presentable so they can be revisited and skimmed. The format was important in the guides. Next was the nutrition article.

I visited nutritionist Alice Baker in Winter Park, Orlando, Florida. She was accommodating. She gave me a lot of information that I needed. TThese were foods to eat and which were inadequate for athletes, adjusted the food pyramid for personal use, and figured out needed intake. She showed me the importance of not following a general schedule but how to take on a healthy lifestyle based on individual needs. She gave me a list of foods for each exchange. She also gave me paperwork on how increasing calories and reducing fuel can affect mental and physical performance.

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I am grateful for her assistance and I gam lad that I have a professional’s hdependable help I feel that a licensed nutritionist is better for me to get material for my article than the internet or a book because this is information not readily accessible to the public. This also displays good use of time management. To research would be much more consuming. The nutritionist can answer my questions directly. I also felt she helped me because now I can make sure I eat right and lead a healthy lifestyle, imperative for personal growth. FThereis nowhere I can go but the internet bfor news on the swimming scene ecause I am no reporter and have no way of attending meets.

This is just from research. If this were a real magazine, I would be sure to have an amazing group of hired staff that would gather the latest and best news fit to publish. But to merely display the content of Eat My Wake, this is undoubtedly sufficient. After writing articles, it was time to prepare them to be formatted. I had to conceptualize a format for each plan and design it on the computer. It needs to be aesthetically pleasing but still discernable. The pages were then printed on high-quality paper and laminated for protection and professionalism. I want it to look as if I was about to present it to a publishing company. To bring this even further, a storyboard would be most beneficial.

The storyboard would just be on a piece of poster board. I should be a visual representation of Eat My Wake. I used colorful scrap booking paper and lettering to show each topic covered. I cut out bits of articles and used many pictures to convey the spirited, lighthearted, but how informative my magazine is. In the career world, people introduce their magazines in a pitch to a board of publishers, and they decide if it is profitable for their company to produce. And by that, I mean whether or not it will sell copies and is attractive to the public. It must have a group that is attracted to the periodical and must be a dependable base. I planned on making the magazine as accurate to this as possible. I am confident that I have achieved that.

Conclusion. At the start of my project I was so exasperated that I felt my goal was just selecting a topic. This, however, opened up precisely what I wanted to reach: I wanted to uncover my passion and for it to lead me into a new experience. I wanted to experience growth and feel that this opened up a door to an entirely new era of my life and have better self-understanding. It was pertinent that I created tangible evidence that this process was natural and developing, and maturing. This was sort of a turning point in my life. It was when I realized that we are not just going to receive instructions on everything we do.

To figure out what is best for ourselves is up to us. No one will guide us through our lives, and to maximize our potential, we must set goals and make short-term and long-term ones that are easily attainable and those we must work for. I saw this through just a year of a Personal Project. I learned the importance of both success and failure. The beginning was so discouraging, and I kept feeling that I was going nowhere. But, I had just failed to see that these were just obstacles, and I had to overcome them. In addition, they served as a giant process of elimination and shaped what has become a beautiful project.

The Personal Project will never cease to help me. Not only did I reach my goals, but I learned so many new skills and discovered parts of me that I never knew I had. I learned to better organize and be more efficient with time. Time management was always a struggle for me. I did not meet the first deadline which was selecting a topic. This was a fiasco, and being a determined, strong-willed individual, I promised myself that I must make up for this and find something that is just absolutely perfectly suited for me. I learned that setting your mind to anything can accomplish the desirable. With full focus comes full throttle comes full production and achievement.

In addition to all my internal conflicts and personal development, I had mental growth through this. My project itself was a creation of a magazine involving one of my pursuits, writing and one of my hobbies, swimming. Also struggling with a health issue, was instrumental to physical self-improvement. The nutrition and health aspects led me to many practices I should include in my life and as well to help others. I love creation and felt that the fervour in this was key to its fabrication. I have never really put time into actually writing articles and have realized this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

It is easy to see I have made great progress in all my goals. I never thought that making a magazine could be a year-long process, but I can honestly say that more than a magazine was produced and that is what the Personal Project is all about. I have endured struggles, but now I overlook these because when I think of this experience all I recall is the zeal for my project and I am proud I conquered all standing in my way of completion. With these newly acquired skills and self-realization, I should be able to conquer future endeavours with ease. MYP Personal Project 2008

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