I often feel sorry for myself as the weeks prior to Project Week slip by and the excitement builds on campus. I'll admit it, I'm jealous of all my peers that get to co-lead such unique and interesting projects, a growing number of which are student inspired and created. I'm jealous of my friends that get to travel to Iceland, Italy, Nashville, DC, Seattle; and I'm super jealous of my wife who is spending the next 8 days in Vieques, Puerto Rico. I'm also jealous of my many peers and students who are spending the week building and creating stuff, a growing passion of mine. I really wish I could hone my archery skills, or my artistic skills, or even my writing, baking, and athletic skills. And let's not forget the adventure projects! What I would give for a week in the White Mountains or on the coast of Cali. Even my old friend Hans Mundahl is getting in on the action!
But then the first day of Project Week inevitably arrives, as it did today, and all the emails, meetings, and schedules fade into the past. My jealousy fades as well. It fades because I begin to remember that I have something that no one else has. Maybe I don't get to co-lead a project for the week. Maybe I don't get to travel to a far-off land. Maybe I don't get to build something with my hands this week. My unique experience is that I do get to be part of 27 different life-changing projects. I do get to see first hand the fruits of everyone's labors, the "A-Hah" moments of 300+ students, the support and strength of our community that makes this week the best week of the year. I do get to see faculty and students engage with a common purpose, learn by doing, and, maybe more importantly, by failing.
My Project Week experience is different than everyone else's, and I pray that your's is too. I hope that you find your own connections and purpose for Project Week, whether you're a student, teacher, staff member, parent, or alum. Take advantage of all that this week has to offer. Connect through social media. Challenge each other by asking tough questions, and then work with someone to find the answers. Generate ideas for new projects or for how to make this program better. Above all, take your passion, your newly developed interests, skills, or questions, and continue to search. Continue to learn. Continue to engage. Not just for Project Week, but for every week of every month of every year. You can't be an engaged global citizen or lifelong learner if you don't!