For my challenge, I worked on the 3D printed pen – and it is an understatement to say it was a challenge for me. As someone with work in I have basically never worked on anything related to CAD, and found myself struggling from the start. The tiniest issues, like print that was too small on the instructions or one line misbehaving, could take me upwards of 30 minutes to resolve. This had two great bright sides though. First, whenever I did achieve something, I found myself feeling really accomplished. Second, I developed a lot of empathy for re-launchers. I remember my mother going back into the workforce after a 15-year hiatus, and she would complain about how hard it was to learn new tools like the Google Drive suite – while I was somewhat sympathetic I remember feeling like it wasn’t really that bad. As a grad student doing something totally out of his realm of comfort and surrounded by students who seemed to be making quick progress, I think I realized just how big an obstacle many of these people are facing.
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