A weekend with Robogals

The Robogals Rural and Regional training weekend has come! And gone, like the wind!

I can remember taking photos of my furniture just before I left to list it for sale while I was away.. yeah, right. I didn’t even have time to think! Friday 8am through to Monday midnight was just one big Robogals blur!

Friday we ended up having a 5 hour wait at the airport after our plane had a fault and eventually got cancelled after an hour and a half of sitting on it while they tried to fix it. Everyone else was probably thinking ‘how ridiculous, they should have kicked us off straight away’ but I could totally relate it to what it’s like at work. You have some potential fixes up your sleeve, which could work instantly or could fail and leave everyone sitting there waiting.. but it’s still worth the try!! Eventually we got put onto a fancy qantas flight that got us in with just enough time to make it to a UNSW Robogals dinner only a little late. A teensy bit of planning in the hostel, before heading to bed.

I’d never stayed in a hostel before.. it was pretty uneventful but there were no power points in our room which was dumb, and it got awkward when someone from outside our group came home. He’d been living there for a few months though, so I guess he’d be used to people much worse than us! I guess you normally just wouldn’t go into your room until you’re ready to sleep, so that you don’t keep others up with your conversations.

We were up nice and early to do the grocery shopping, create powerpoints, organise the rooms and eventually register our guests! One arrived early so I bumped into her while she was checking in, and we had an easy chat for a while so I could tell that the weekend was going to be fun.

Saturday afternoon we heard from Marita about Robogals (well, not me because I was waiting for one of the late-comers) and from Effie, the Rural and Regional Robogal of the year last year on her experiences talking at schools. She went to 15 schools in one semester.. I was pretty impressed!! She emphasised the use of videos, role play (!), and anything interactive when speaking to children.. she even spoke to a year 4 class and a school with 5 students. She said that once she took her grandmother with her to a school so that she could see what she was up to, and halfway through her grandmother shouted out ‘that’s not something that girls should be doing!’ Oh, how times have changed…

We took the ferry to our site tour of the one and only Sydney Opera House..

Some interesting civil engineering stuff there.. Nah, seriously: someone studying IT said it was their favourite part of the weekend!

As for my favourite part.. that comes next.

Awww yeah, karaoke. A solid 3.5 hours of 80s voice-hurting. And bonding, of course.

Sunday was kick-started by a breakfast that I was pretty proud of (“you ARE ready to be a mum!”), followed by fun training things and, my favourite part of the day, a trip to Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie. His cookbook is literally the only one I use, so I was a bit excited!! I bought ‘some’ things but didn’t end up eating them straight away because stress kills my hunger a bit. We practiced our school presentations, then headed out to dinner. Little did I know that that was the last I’d see of my Zumbo stash (thanks cleaners).

Free champagne, cheap meals, and uno.. another great night, I’d say!! I couldn’t believe that things were playing out so well, but that’s what happens when you have such a great group of girls together!! We played games in the hostel until wayyy too late.. worth it!

Another awesome breakfast and then the girls were set to work in the Robogals Call Centre.. it was too cool to see everyone on the phone to schools at once – what a team!! Our second supporters’ luncheon for the year (which didn’t require any organising on my part this time!) involved backflipping robots, and then some networking for all with the industry reps. I met some ladies from Cosmos magazine that showed me the new iPad app aimed at teenagers – it was really incredible the way that they leveraged the technology to provide a maze-like discovery structure to the online magazine that I think will keep kids engaged with the content. I even had a quick amaze-session with one of the ladies over Will I Am’s involvement in STEM promotion, but that deserves a blog post all of its own!

The weekend ended with the others off at a board meeting while I met up with Paul and reclaimed what was mine….


Five year warm up

If I had to comment on my university experience as a whole? Fast. Really truly ridiculously fast. But experience tells me that that’s what happens when you fill your plate up.. I imagine that if I had’ve just done the bare minimum that it would have been a different story, but it all paid off. I do sometimes wonder if I missed my chance to have the undergraduate experience that everyone always talks about.. wild parties and whatnot. But I went to mostly every party there was (I was organising a good chunk of them!), so there are a few possibilities here: I really suck at experiencing things (reject: I can remember some pretty sweet dancing nights!); society’s portrayal is a bit much; when I think of my time I focus more on the achievements than the parties. Well, whatever the reason, the best best very best part of it all is that I’m still just TWENTY! Ridiculous – I can’t believe it myself! I had my few years of ‘must suck to be you, Deanna,’ but now, for the rest of my life, I have the advantage. Some people just start this experience at this age: and really, that’s what I’m about to-do, over in Europe and whatnot.. In fact, we can consider the past five years as just a warm up..

Drink Unsuspecting Small Town Establishment Dry (DUSTED) 2011

TV, TED and Thredbo

Alright, it’s been a while.. and some things have happened I guess. The word famous has been thrown around 😉

OK, the realms within which are pretty small I’ll admit.. it’s pretty much my facebook friends. And maybe some 12 year-old kids.. but, when you’re on a kids’ tv show, I guess that *is* what happens.. :/

Scope Chanel 10 4th July 2012

A year’s worth of hard work paid off.. boiled down to a 3 minute segment explaining my thesis in layman’s terms! Luckily they took care of the scripting, so a brain-controlled car should be pretty easy to digest now, with the exception perhaps of those lame puns that they threw in.. I was worried that I would regret ever agreeing to do the video because I thought I’d hate the video and be plagued by it forever, but each time I watch it I like it more! What a relief!

Remember that time I gave a TED talk? I’d been dreading the day that I’d have to watch it back on the internet; wasn’t quite sure that it’d turn out how I had it in my head.. well, so far, the world seems to like it. Because that’s the thing: it’s on show to the entire internet, and it’s meant to be seen. There’s some weird voting aspect involved in deciding who of the 300 finalists will get to present their full talk at TED2013.. they’re particularly vague about it though ‘comments will help us decide’ but specific about it in that votes won’t secure your place. And so I imagine that there isn’t too much point in spamming everyone to vote.. I suspect that they would already know who they have in mind; to make it into the top 10% you’d have to have done some really amazing things.. I’m talking like Chantelle starting a charity, right!

And on one hand, you get even the slightest possibility of getting to TED and you take it, spamming included. But on the other, it is so so nice to read comments from strangers. To see that people that I don’t know have recommended my video to their friends.. Saying things like “A great idea and willing to fight for it, seems to me Hood is one of those people TED was made for.” How incredible..! Really an amazing feeling. We’ll see how this plays out, but either way, I’m pretty satisfied (even if my talk bores me!!)

Anyway, this all came to light in the last week when I was having my last family holiday for a long while. Sadly Dad wasn’t able to come because of work, because I was really looking forward to having him there: I see the others a lot, but he kinda makes it feel ‘holiday’y. We went to Thredbo to visit Mathew because he’s working there for the season. The skiing was good fun – I picked it back up again pretty quickly and was onto blues (one ranking below blacks) on the first of the two days. Albeit it took a while on day 1: we followed Mum on the beginner-most slope for a while; Mathew was teaching her. We left Mum waiting for us for lunch as Mathew, Teagan and I went off to a more difficult slope.. lonnnng story short, we made it back about 2-3 hours later after Teagan being a bit out of her depth and Mathew supporting her step by step down the by then-iced slope.

I spent a lot of time doing Robogals stuff.. got pretty stressed over the RRR weekend I’m in charged of, but it’s turning out ok so far (a lot of thanks goes to Jacob’s Telstra phone – reception for the rest of us was terrible!).. next weekend will tell!

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