Dedication and Resilience By: Truc Ly

Me vs Stress, Time, Fire, Adobe, and Determination


Adobe Illustrator

This is quite a stressful week, there are many projects stacking up each other, like a big mountain. The due date is right around the corner. There is a project is Science call Earth 3000, and we have to make a topographic map in PLTW for that project. I never fond of using Adobe Illustrator, because last time I try using the program I fail miserably. But for this project I have to use it. At first I try to avoid using it by leaving the sketching for my teammate. I was running away from it for a long time, but then when my teammate needed help, so it’s my responsibility to help her.

It was not till that day when our teacher said that the sketch for our topo map is due in three days. My team and I know for sure that we won’t finish in time in class because our picture that we want to trace is really hard, s0 I took the tracing jobs upon myself.



Instead using Adobe, I used Inkscape instead, which is kind of like Adobe Illustrator. At first it’s really hard, but then I got the hang of it and learn how to enjoy it. This what I want to talk about today, learning how to love something that you know that you’ll hate. What I learn from this project is that when you do do anything, you have to put your heart into it, or it’s not going to be good. When I traced the map that seem to be impossible to finish, I focused on what the outcome is going to be. I kept on reminding myself that it’s going to be good. It’s going to be beautiful. I dreamt the map the sketch would come to real life. I believe if I don’t give up I would finish it eventually. After about seven to eight hours of tracing, I finally finished. To be honest the outcome is quite awesome, like I imagined it would be. It is  the best feeling when you put some much work into something that when it finally done, you feel so relieve and proud of yourself.


The Topographic Map Sketch

When I’m doing this Earth 3000 project, I hated it and couldn’t feel it. It wasn’t right and I don’t know what to do to make it good. But then I started to make the topographic map, I saw that I could make this project into something fun. I started to feel interested again, and felt that I could really make this project a good one. I dedicated my free time to tracing and working on the topographic map, making very small detail. For when a project is a good, I can really see the final product in my dream. 

That happened when I dreamt about the bird house we made on the previous week. It’s was really fun. This module help me learn how to use the power tools, which help a lot with topographic map, because I could cut a lot woods. This module is about learning and getting comfortable with the power tools in the makerspace. All the power tools seem to be scary, but when you learn how to be safe, everything is a piece of cake. This week challenge was for us to make a bird house. Our team have to came up with the design, which was easy because I have a really creative teammate. We came up with a really interesting design, and started building right away. First we had to cut the wood, which is really fun. Then the most time consuming  part is when we glue the wood together, and waited for it dry. After it dried we got to use the air compressor, which was awesome. We used the brad nailer, which was something worth learning how to use, because it saves you a lot of time from hammering nails. Finally we get to paint. I was really dedicated to it, because I was the one who actually stayed after and painted the house. I’m not a perfectionist, but when I touch something or do something, I have to do it right, and do my best. If you do something heartlessly, the product is not going to be good. If you try your best at something, you’ll feel really good in the end. I have that wonderful happy feeling when I finish with a project. All the hard works I put in seemed to pay off. All the stress seemed to fade away, and the feeling of relief and pride fill in.

bird house part 2

Bird house

Now back to the topographic map.

After that wonderful tracing that I did, I decided to start cutting. But the problem was that Inkscape doesn’t transfer layers to Adobe Illustrator, which was a big problem.I thought about giving up, because it would take to long to physically drag lines to the correct layers. But, of course I put too much work into it  to be thrown away like that. So I wouldn’t let this small problem stop from making this map into a reality. I start do the clicking and dragging. This was the first wall that I had to break through. While this is happening the time is ticking away.

When I was finally with putting the lines to the correct layer, I was so ready to cut using the laser cutter. I thought about using wood, and my map is going to be so great.

NO! There is no more wood! Are you kidding me? After all this time, there is no more wood. I was so done with map, so I was going to just give up hope because there isn’t any wood left. I decided to use cardboards like other people. I was kinda sad, because the one other group got to use wood, and their topo map is so beautiful. But I thought it’s going to be fine, and I could paint the cardboard. Everything is going to work out somehow. It was not until I start using cardboard for my map. A small flame lit up.

With just one spark of fire, the cardboard went to ashes. My map is too detailed so it was easy for the cardboard to burn. Imagine this happening right before your due date. The fire and time give no mercy. It was me against the time lord, and fire god. My teammate suggested that we should start over and use an easier map. In my head, I thought that was a good idea. But my heart refused to take it. I refuse to lose and quit because things don’t go as planned.

I took some action, and by woods and paints for myself. If the school doesn’t provide the supplies for me, then I’ll do it myself. So my dad and I went to Home Depot and got some wood. I was happy that they also cuts the wood for me. After getting all the wood and paint, I start working again one the next day in the Makerspace. I was fortunate enough for some people offer to help me with this project. My friends offer to paint the wood and my teammate offered to take the cut pieces out of the wood. There are some minor problems here and there during this process, like one time where the laser cutter didn’t cut through the wood, so we have to use the box cutter to physical cut out the pieces. So many struggles. I got paint all over my jackets and got wood glue on my hair. I was a hot mess. But in the end, after all the struggles, worries, stress, ashes, and files, I finished my topographic map of Fuji San, Tokyo, Japan. All thanks to my all friends, a great team support, my strong mind for not giving up and my body for staying strong. But most of all my dedication and resilience.

tokyo map 3jpg

Final Topographic Map

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s