If you are familiar with the Data School then you probably already know what I am talking about. Every Friday we are challenged with a project presentation – either a client one (and in that case we’ve worked on that through the week) or a from-Andy-or-Carl’s-evil-imagination one. With the latter, we only know the topic on the day and have 3 hours to have something to present.

These 3-hour projects… I hate them, but in the end I also love them because they teach us so much.

This Friday’s Project

This week’s topic was an interesting one. Andy knew that there’s someone in our cohort who really enjoys knowing about other people’s lives, so he decided to hand us over his Strava data. It included latitude, longitude, time, elevation, heart rate and cadence of his physical activities, so we had a lot to play around with. He also gave us a list of questions he’d be interested in, which was helpful.

We worked with Spatial during the week, so this project was a perfect fit to wrap up everything we’ve learnt.

WHY I HATE THEM

It’s too much pressure!

Knowing how little time we have to put everything together, along with having cohortians that are truly smart and talented… The stakes are always high.

It’s too much freedom!

I am still learning the lesson – that not having a specific goal in mind is not a good thing. And it will be even more difficult if it takes you too long to realise that you are lost.

All my colleagues are better than me!

Yup. It’s not by chance that you read so much about the impostor syndrome in the Data School Blog. The truth is that everyone in here is super skilled, talented, smart… and all the good things you can think about. It is too easy to feel like you are not enough, especially when you are not naturally confident.

WHY I LOVE THEM

It’s too much pressure!

Nop. I did not make a mistake. Being a “bad thing” does not mean it can’t be a “good thing” as well! And this is the case. Even though I always panic with the pressure, it is an important factor that will be present a lot during all our careers and life. I believe that being exposed to it while we are learning will teach us to deal with it better when we finish training.

It’s too much freedom!

This one would obviously have to be a good thing as well. Who doesn’t like freedom? Even though it’s scary, it’s also funny and defying that you can make your own decisions and choose what you want to create.

All my colleagues are better than me!

I have heard more than once that if you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room. What’s the fun in being always the best? What’s the fun in not having someone to challenge you? And most importantly, how can you improve if you don’t have someone to teach you and help you?

Along with all our cohortians, we usually have people from other cohorts and even from the core team hanging around here. I can’t stress enough how valuable this is. If you learn how to ask for help, you’ll go much further because everyone here will try to help you and make you actually do it.

In the end, these 3-hour projects are just one of the long list of great things that the Data School will give you.