SHAD Day 1

So just a little context, I applied for SHAD back in November last year. SHAD is an annual summer program that invites 800 of the best and brightest Canadian high school students. After being selected, we get to select from a variety of university campuses including UBC, University of Waterloo, UNB, and Queen's. I didn't know what to expect from the program, but it was a lot of fun. In the next few weeks, I will be writing about my experience at SHAD. I really enjoyed it, and it was life-changing for me. I hope you can get a sense of that when you read through it.

The grammar is pretty weak here because I wrote it around 11 or 12 every night after our jammed-packed day. To help make it more readable, the bolded parts are what I have reflected on and learned so hopefully, it'll benefit you somehow!

July 3rd, 2017: Day 1

Today was our first, full day at SHAD Queen's; I was really excited to meet a lot more new people as well as face the challenges that the PD's and PA's created for us. After breakfast, we had a lecture from all the SHAD staff about their expectations for us while we were at SHAD, the two main guidelines (living SHAD to the fullest for us and allowing others to use their experience to the fullest), and about specific black and white rules. Afterwards, we had our first lecture by Jen, our Program Director, who started off by reading a book called "the OK book." Her primary focus was the fixed mindset vs. the growth mindset, and she asked us to reflect on how we got so good at something, what we hope and how we want to accomplish it at SHAD, and time we experienced failure. The most important part of her message was that our mindset defines who we are and our abilities and are capable of changing at any time. She explained that we could develop a better growth mindset by doing three steps:

1. Always learning
 2. Learn from setbacks
3. Have an open mind to everything

These three principles really stood out to me as three key elements that I wanted to focus on throughout my stay at SHAD. We then moved to the ILC (building on campus) to have our first official challenge called the Innovation Challenge. In this challenge, we had to design a prototype, drawing, and one-minute pitch for a wallet that the PA's could use for more efficient financial transactions. After the challenge, we reflected on our processes as a team and the other processes that other teams used. Finally, we learned about a design process to work as a team with three steps:

1. Define a problem
2. Ideation
3. Ideas into Action

Design thinking was a new concept for me because we, as students, never really have the chance to learn about it in school. Sometimes, we do it intuitively, but almost never as stages in a large plan. After that, we had REC where we played Hunger Games dodgeball and bench dodgeball. Then, we moved back to Watt's Hall where we sang songs together and celebrated one of the SHAD's birthday. To end off the day, we had house meetings. (SHAD divided us into smaller groups of 8-10 SHADs as a chance to reflect and discuss together.) Even though it has only been two days, SHAD's welcoming and open environment has made me feel included and part of a larger family. It can only get better from here.