I can’t tell you how many times my roommate of 5 years now has said to me, “You have too much time on your hands”. This is her default response whenever she’s found me taking apart a computer monitor, frankenstiening whatever ingredients I could find in our kitchen into some kind of dessert, creating detailed maps of restaurants and landmarks I want to explore when we move to a new place, teaching myself how to solve a Rubik’s cube, and the list goes on.
While my roommate may have made a valid point as I doodled pages of fractals during finals week, my days of homework procrastination are over, yet her comments haven’t stopped. As of recently (around the same time I started at Maker Ed, funnily enough) I finally have a retort! “We have the same amount of time, I just use mine differently”.
I’ve always been drawn to the trial (and often error) method whenever I do anything. I process-of-elimination-ed my way through my undeclared freshman year of college until my dad recommended I take a computer programming class. It was always something he had enjoyed and I was comfortable with computers. Within the semester I had changed my major and set myself onto a path filled with debugging and late night code parties in residence hall basements. The most success, and the happiest I’ve ever been in an academic setting was when I had the chance to make mistakes, and was surrounded by people who were just as passionate as I was.
I’m serving as the Communications and Development Coordinator as a part of Maker Ed VISTA, on board for what I already know is going to be a quick, but amazing year. AmeriCorps VISTA members are dedicated to eliminating poverty within the United States. We help build capacity within organizations that work in low-income communities. I’ve relocated to the Bay Area, about two hours south of my hometown of Calistoga, where I grew up in a household that had quite the affinity for making. Halloween was a sacred holiday, where planning and design began weeks in advance and my mom would create beautifully elaborate costumes, transforming me into anything from Mona Lisa (complete with a wearable frame and background) to George Harrison (from the Beatles Yellow Submarine cartoon) to Glinda the Good Witch (photo below). Our house doesn’t quite have room for an office space, so my Dad decided to make his – a converted tool shed in the backyard that we lovingly call “the Barn”. My brother is a great visual artist with an imagination that inspires and amazes the whole family.
Now that I’m transitioning into my first post-college position, I feel unbelievably lucky that I’m at an organization filled with as much fun, drive and impact as Maker Ed. I am able to connect with the work being done by imagining the differences that could be made in my own hometown community with Maker programs, or how different my education would have been with more making experiences. I know working at Maker Ed is an opportunity to help little bits of those imaginations come to fruition. I know it’ll fly by, but I know it’s bound to be a wonderful time.
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