All endings carry with them a level of bitter sweetness, a loss both freeing and painful. The disappointment throughout crushes less, the late nights, stress, the highest highs and lowest lows are now just memories. The “Yes, I did that,” and “That was once the biggest part of my life” become little more than cemented reminders. The 2017 Robot Design project was all of that and more, and perhaps the best time to reflect on it is standing at the edge of the finish line.
“Aren’t you happy?” A teammate asked me, mere moments ago. “It’s like we’re marathon runners at the end of the race.” And that’s true, to an extent. There’s euphoria in the sense that we survived, we made it through, no better or worse for wear. We weathered failure and success like tall buildings in strong storms, and we did so together.
I’m ecstatic that the project is over; it consumed my life, my time, and even my unconscious thought (I’ve had
dreams about this thing.) It’s up there with the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I think in that the project has taught me more about myself rather than engineering. Sure, I learned time management, technical skills like soldering, and teamwork, but now I know better who I am in crises, how to deal with caring too much or too little about things that do matter and do not, and most importantly how to fail.
In that respect, the end of this project brings about a certain sense of disappointment at goals not obtained and milestones not reached. There’s merit in the fact that I tried, that I conquered,
and that I failed. Thus, this brings about the perfect oxymoron of an ending, the bittersweet and deeply intertwined idea of winning and failing.
I guess in the end what I learned is this: in life failure is not a cement that hardens immediately, but instead a twisted ankle or a sunburn. It’s something irritating, embarrassing, but not always debilitating. It was a very hard lesson to learn after 8 weeks and 150 hours of work, but it’s a lesson all the same.
“Last night took an L but tonight I bounce back.” -Big Sean