This week we want you to take a moment to review the timeline you established to complete your STEM Fair Project. This is a valuable and sometimes necessary step for all researchers. Try thinking of this as a mid-project course correction and opportunity to correct and catch up or sit back and admire the work you have already completed. Either way, this moment offers you a reality check of where you stand in relation towards your goal. Don't waste it.
Just a few suggestions to help you make the most of this time:
1. Ask yourself: If I were to assign my STEM Fair Project percentage of completion - what number would I give?
If you're number is less than 50% - you have some catching up to do and what will you need to do to get back on track?
If you're at 50% and on track - Congratulations! Are you pleased with your work and are you addressing all the requirements necessary for submission?
If you're at 75% - Wow - that's great - but... are you missing anything? Are you sure you didn't forget a required element? This is a great opportunity to make sure you didn't miss a step or neglect a requirement. Is your' logbook up-to-date? Is it legible? Is it in pen? Take this time to review the rubric and make any necessary adjustment OR skip ahead and begin working on your STEM Fair presentation.
At 80% - 100% - Hmmmm.... what did you miss? Does your project have enough detail? Could you include more information? If you are nearly done with your STEM Fair project - we encourage you to go back and review all the requirements and make sure you completed them all.
2. Is your timeline realistic? Regardless if you are behind or ahead - you should ask yourself if your timeline was / is realistic. This is an opportunity to look back and try to understand why you're not on time for completion OR ahead of your completion date.
3. If you are not on schedule: You might have to ask yourself the difficult question: Can I still complete it? Be honest and realistic with yourself and those who are mentoring you. If you can't complete the project on-time; this doesn't necessarily mean you have to abandon your project completely – maybe just postpone it until the next STEM fair.
4. If you are ahead of schedule: FANTASTIC – but we still want you to look at your planning schedule and see what you did right or wrong to move so quickly. Just because you’re ahead of schedule doesn’t mean that is a good thing. What did you have to sacrifice to get ahead? Time with your family? Time to have fun? We want you to have balance in your life and enjoy everything this beautiful world has to offer and make sure that you work to live not live to work.
Conduct an honest and objective review of your work to date and establish a realistic way forward towards completing your project.