Roundtable Transcript: General Topics (September 24, 2017)

Welcome to our first roundtable of the season! Roundtables are a chance for you to hear from our experienced competitors and alumni! Our panelists here today already are Lumosityfan, markuswso17, Person, pikachu4919, and Unome, with more possibly coming... Roundtables will sometimes be structured, e.g. panelists will all talk about their experience with a certain subject or they will be unstructured, e.g. you'll have a chance to ask any questions SO related and panelists will answer. If the channel is muted (i.e. +m), feel free to private message your questions to any panelist. If you're joining us as a panelist, send a message to either me or Schrodingers_cat and we'll give you voice! We'll open with introductions from each of our panelists, each will talk about where they're from, any competition experience, what they're doing now (SO-related or not), and anything else they want to mention.
bernard
hello everyone! so I'm lumo and I'm currently a junior studying astrophysics at Columbia University :) I used to compete at good ol' John P. Stevens High School though in Edison, New Jersey, therefore I competed in New Jersey all four years in Division C from grades 9-12 and did fairly decently, getting a good amount of medals. However, I did not make nats sadly (curse you North and South :|) I now try to help out the New Jersey and NYC scene as much as I can, helping out at Union County College Regionals, Princeton Invitational, and NYC Regionals and NJ States when they fall into my schedule (as in no classes curse you NJ States during my non-spring break :|). I do lots of astro with some sports mixed in when I'm bored (particularly baseball, college basketball, and tennis). Hope you guys enjoy this roundtable!
Lumosityfan
Hi everyone, I am a freshman studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Florida as well as on the premed track. I competed for 3 years at Boca Raton Community High School, two of those years I attended nationals. I competed in all types of events (except lab events) and have a great knowledge set on build events in particular.
windu34
Hi everyone. I compete in region 6 in Michigan, mainly in study and sometimes lab events. I competed for 3 years in div B and this current season is my 2nd year in div C. I'm kind of weird because my school has never made it to states before, but I'm hoping that'll change this year! I would also like to give a shoutout to teh ento cult, ento is luv ento is lyfe.
Person
Hey guys. I'm a freshman in college working on a double major of Computer Info Sys. and Music. I competed in about 3 years of Div C with Fairfax High School VA and was able to be captain this past season when we went to nats.
markuswso17
Hi, I'm Unome. Chances are you've seen me on the forums a few times (or many times). I compete in Georgia, where I captain a team, organize an invitational, and occasionally medal at nationals.
Unome
Hello everyone! I'm Magikarpmaster629 (or just Karp for short). I competed for several years in Missouri and went to the national tournament twice. I now help run my university's Science Olympiad program where I coach local teams and organize an invitational.
Karp
Hey all. I'm raleway and this will be my 4th year competing. I mainly do builds, chem events, and inquiry events.
Raleway_
Haiiiii everyone! In case you don't know me already/haven't really stalked me yet, pikachu4919 (usually when I'm on IRC I shorten it to pika, which is probably what most of you know me as). I competed for the Science Olympiad team of Carmel High School in Indiana for four years from 2012-2016, where I captained in my last two years (going to nationals once) and primarily competed in molecular biology, Bio ID, and lab events. While biology is my favorite field of science, my favorite/strongest event is Forensics, the one in which I somehow managed to break into the top 6 in at SONT 2016. I'm currently a sophomore at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, majoring in biological engineering with a concentration in cellular and biomolecular engineering and minoring in forensic sciences.
pikachu4919
i'm foreverphysics, i'm a mod, i got to GT, ping me if you have questions
foreverphysics
i'm a clements alum (graduated last year), currently at UT Austin, did mostly building and earth science events!
a_boy
Thanks to all our panelists for their introductions! As you can see, we have a range of ages from middle school to grad, doing/having done a variety of events, and experience at various levels of competition! If you're just joining us, we just did panelist introductions! Throughout the roundtable if there are any questions Science Olympiad related you want our panelists to discuss, feel free to discuss any panelist or a mod, and we'll work it into the discussion! The new season just started, and teams are starting to choose members. So each of our panelists will talk about how their school starts the season, how they get students interested in SO, tryouts/how they choose their teams!
bernard
so at JP Stevens, we started the season at the Club Fair where we would put up a poster discussing what Science Olympiad was and all that jazz about getting onto the email list. Then we would have an intro meeting discussing what SO was and letting the potential people ask questions and talk about the general procedures. Tryouts I believe we had a general test as a first round and then subject-specific tests as a second round. Those results would then allow us to see who fit the best in each event for the competitions. For getting people interested we did a variety of online recruitment to word-of-mouth to posters around the school.  Hope that helps!
Lumosityfan
We usually advertise with flyers and whatnot, but the club is pretty popular at my school so we get lots of initial signups. There's a first meeting where we go over what the competition, when competition dates are, etc. Then we filter them with a set of qualifying tests, but we don't actually cut people until regionals/states.
a_boy
My team selected members via tryouts. Each event was tested at a competition, and people were ranked against each other in each event, and our coach used the overall results to select the 15 members. Our coach felt that this was the most fair way to run things, and I would agree. Since we never had more than around 20 trying out, everyone who did not make it was invited to be alternates, although typically only 1-2 ever accepted since our state does not run trial events. We received most of our competitors from our (Ladue) middle school, which had a much larger program, so advertising was mostly unnecessary, although we did pick up some new members in high school. Our school starts the season with an informational meeting the day our coach receives the rules packet, and students select the events they plan on trying out for (although they are not bound to these events until after the first round of testing, they are free to add or drop events as they want until then). The coach made sure everyone could see who was doing which events so that we could see which events already had plenty of talent, and which events could really use some more people. We do not have captains since we feel that giving a single person arbitrary authority is unfair to the other hardworking team members, and because we thought it would simply work better if logistics and planning were left to our coach, so our competitors could focus solely on events.
Karp
We did a lot of ads around the school and told all the smart kids about scioly. We had about 100 kids show up to our interest meeting. About 60 kids took a tryout test. About 40 actually stayed past that. The hardest thing for us picking teams was finding members who really cared more than to just boost their resume. We would try to be as harsh as possible to some members to see if they would stay with the team and keep working harder to improve the team. This led to us having fewer members than we would like, but every member that was in it was willing to work their life away (almost) in order to finally make it to nats. Last season when I was captain, there were 2 captains who would do as much work as possible for the team. I was able to help as captain a lot more than most others would though since I happened to be the coach’s son so I was able to communicate with the coach 24/7. This year we have 3 captains who all specialize in different things, so we will see how that goes.
markuswso17
In case you haven't figured it out yet, my school wasn't very organized with Science Olympiad :P In middle school, we generally had an informational meeting about 3 weeks after school started. We did do a test, but it was not a huge factor in team placement - generally, 8th graders and a few 7th graders were on the primary team. We didn't advertise much but most of the members encouraged their friends to at least come to a meeting and see if they were interested. Last year (my first year in high school), we first held a meeting in October (got events in December...) and did no advertising. Team placement was essentially only "freshmen can't be on primary because they're younger". This year, we have a new coach but probably won't do a tryout test. However, I think we'll try to take into consideration years of experience and competition placings.
Person
So at Carmel, our season starts with the freshman activities fair, where the team captains of the season advertise our callout meeting to the freshmen with a posterboard of photos from previous seasons, displays of trophies and builds, and...our favorite...dry ice in beakers with colored water! The last is primarily for aesthetics, but it's actually kinda effective in at least attracting freshman to check out our booth, lol. We get around 100 people, freshmen and potentially returning members combined, to at least show up at the callout meeting, where we introduce what Science Olympiad is about and our expectations for club members. Then, throughout the year, we try to be as transparent as possible about reinforcing our expectations when tryouts come around so people don't get too salty about not making it if they don't. We try to have our first and second rounds before our first invitational to give those who want to be on the team a fair shot. My sophomore year, we started a tradition that first-year members of our program are given priority for being chosen to be on one of two teams for the first invitational and then from there, we try to squeeze in another round of tryouts before the next invitational. The teams at the rest of the competitions of the season from there on out are decided primarily based upon tryouts results and invitational performance.
pikachu4919
At my school, there are no initial cuts but rather it's an open team. The Science Olympiad team is quite popular and well-known so we don't hold much recruitment- rather people already know to join or not due to previous knowledge and the middle school team. Tryouts are done as a multitude of tryout tests and invitational results prior to each invitational, which culminates into the selection of States team before the last invitational and then trying the team composition at the last invitational.
Raleway_
My team recruits mainly with flashy posters and such. We typically get around 60-80 people at the start of the year (mostly due to our poster campaign and word of mouth). We evaluate people through initial tryouts, and iteratively work toward finding the best team over the course of invitationals. We don't cut until prior to states, where we go to one states team and several alternates. We usually split people across teams at invitationals to give new people experience and make sure the veterans don't try to coast along.
Unome
Interest is attracted mainly through two ways: The coach sends out letters to sophomores at the beginning of the year inviting them to try scioly and encouraging them to reach/realize their potential. The second way is by having current students go to freshman science classes and talk to them about scioly and why we love it and why it is good to join. In past years, we never did tryouts, and the coach made the teams with input from select members who had proven themselves to be highly invested in the team. Last year marked the first year tryouts were implemented to attempt to raise our national rankings from low 20’s. With a breakthrough performance last year at nats going from 20th to 12th, tryouts were continued for new members and made optional for veterans because it was decided that having to prepare for tryouts may have had a negative impact for veteran members who had specific events that they were going to be doing regardless and tryouts became mostly a way for prospective competitors to learn about the events rather than a way to pick teams.
windu34
Teams are mainly based off of two factors: Work ethic and Results at Invitationals. However, some veteran members can essentially “choose” members to be on the A team by taking them under their wing and mentoring/involving them deeply in their events and training them to be their partner, however it is not a common practice currently.
windu34
Thanks to all our panelists for sharing about how their team runs! As you can see, teams use a variety of approaches to get students interested and select team members. Deciding how to run your own team can be sort of a science. Approaches that work well for some teams may not work as well for your own team, and it may take time to realize what system works best for your team. When assigning events, there's usually a couple events that people are less interested in, and sometimes teams have trouble filling these spots. Next, our panelists will talk about how they assign students to these less popular events (which may vary by school) and how students stay interested in these events throughout the year.
bernard
The way I've dealt with unpopular events has typically been to do them myself or convince someone I trust to do them - that's how I end up with so many events, and also how I went from doing mainly bio to mainly earth science to mainly bio again. Sometimes this works better than others. In years when there aren't many people who can handle doing events like that, due to work ethic or just not having the time... we tend not to do so well.
Unome
I was one of only 2 people to take the remote sensing tryout test out of 75+ people. I took it mainly because I felt it was going to be an event our team would be weak at due to lack of care and I was determined to help the team raise our national rank. Despite the event not being crazy applicable and interesting, Me and my partner ended up having a ton of fun and really loving the event due to a combination of building a strong friendship with a ton of inside jokes and laughter as well as really challenging each other to learn more about the event topics. I think putting two close friends in unpopular events might be the best method as they will likely have fun with it. On the other hand, it is the duty of the captain to make sure the team is balanced and that weak events are at an absolute minimum and that means the captain should be responsible for taking up unpopular events. At the end of the day, I have learned that it’s not so much the events you are doing that will lead to you enjoying them, but rather who your partners are and how much you enjoy working with them.
windu34
Hmmm...I'll split this into two perspectives:
pikachu4919
For those of you who are current competitors: picking up events that no one wants is one way to sort of increase the likelihood that you'll get put on the team (I guess I could put it that way); it's a motivation for you and it's a great service to the other people also on your team (so you all don't get screwed over, I guess lol). However, I'd say a caveat is that you obviously still need to be good at those events plus maybe some others because 15 people, 23 events - if you only do one or two, that means other people on the team will have to pick up much more and that's not that good, since balancing every team members' event numbers is a crucial part of success. You shouldn't want any one person to be too loaded.
pikachu4919
the second part - for those of you that are captains: even though I say that being too loaded is not really good overall, if you see something that needs to be covered or done, don't be afraid to take matters into your own hands - whether that means covering the events yourself or noticing team members that you think could be great competitors, yet are trying out for the most popular events and not necessarily being at the top of those, and giving them a gentle nudge towards the "least popular events," like "hey, I think you have great potential, and I think a way you could do it is by doing this event. It'll be a great help to the team".
pikachu4919
but I guess in short, talking to members of your team who you think have great potential and talking them into doing it.
pikachu4919
Hey all- here's my perspective: unwanted events are a thing I guess... most of the time you can just put a freshman on the event and see if they will grow. More often than not, on a competitive team, the enticing fact of less competition is enough! If still no one does it, then you'll have to force people on similar events that have lower scores to move to that similar event to make up for event numbers. I guess I'm lucky enough to have a big team where this usually isn't an issue (I was forced onto Matsci two weeks before Cornell and still medaled so lucky me)
Raleway_
There are a lot of ways you could handle the situation of unloved events. The way that my team handled it was that for any events that people didn’t want to do, the captains would usually have to take on those events just so the team wouldn’t fall apart. If the captains were unable to fill in those events, we would just highly recommend (force) a member to fill in that event and they would usually end up doing well with it. Just make sure that the partner personalities match up though so that they don’t hate each other all year. As long as you have someone willing to do a difficult event that nobody else wants to do, and they work hard, they will do well.
markuswso17
So as I mentioned earlier, we let everyone looking to make the team see the events each person is doing. If an event looks like it will be less competitive to make the team, people are encouraged to sign up for these events in order for them to make the team. This way, there are no events that no one wants to do. However, in the event that there are events where there are less than three people trying out (or in last year’s case, two people trying out but one does not have other events where they are top two), our coach will ask someone who does similar events and has space for another to pick it up. In general, by having a competitive team, event tryouts were competitive so there rarely were unpopular events.
Karp
Thanks to all our panelists for sharing about how they fill all the events for their teams! For the remainder of our roundtable, we're opening it up to any questions you may have! If you have a question you'd like to ask, send it as a private message to Raleway_ and we'll answer them here! To send a private message, start your message with: "/msg Raleway_ ..." where the ... is the question you want to ask!
bernard
Question from kyle: "How many study sessions do you guys recommend per week, and for how long?"
bernard
Hmmm, a good rule of thumb my team always had is for study events, 2-3hrs/event, whether in or out of group study sessions. Builds are obviously going to take more time since you have to design them and build them and test them and such. We usually did once a week for normal, three times a week within 2-3 weeks of competition. We also had Saturday meetings for getting most stuff done.
pikachu4919
My team rarely has practice sessions due to the logistical difficulties, but I'd say keep adding them as long as people don't think of it as a chore - practices should be enjoyable. The most successful teams don't always accomplish all that much at regularly scheduled practices (e.g. Solon) but were motivated enough to want to study independently. Also, I'd recommend encouraging people to schedule some practices on their own, especially for events which require lots of working with partners.
Unome
I guess it depends on your team culture
pikachu4919
^if people like working hard, schedule lots of times, but be aware of your team's independent or lack thereof nature. If your team members like working alone perhaps a group meeting isn't the best idea
Lumosityfan
Last year I organized independent practices with my partners, usually at the local library.
Person
Agreed, team culture is a very important factor.
Unome
My team started off meeting at the public library in a reserved conference room. It was really nice for the first month or two, but after a while, it became more of a chore.
markuswso17
Study sessions are only useful if people are actually studying. If everyone around you is studying, you'll be more inclined to actually do work, but if even a couple people are goofing off, sooner or later everyone will be messing around.
a_boy
true
Lumosityfan
make sure to have accountability, like make sure people are actually working :|
Lumosityfan
It seems to be better to have study groups at members houses where members bond, study, and build/design.
markuswso17
We've done this too. It's worked well in the past, we typically get very high attendance rates (up to 90% sometimes).
Unome
Sometimes it can be better for Engineers and Study events to meet in different places since engineers are usually loud
markuswso17
For us, we had the advantage of using our coach's woodshop since he was the teacher there, and practices were very useful for build event competitors since they could use all the machines. Other than that, most of the studying was done on our own or together at people's houses.
Karp
Usually build/study get split up anyways since study events can work at the library, etc.
Person
It really depends on how you and your partner want to prep for the event. I have always done the majority of the work for my events together with my partner in the same room because I find it more enjoyable and my partners were truly some of my closest friends so it was a great way to hangout and be productive and build upon those relationships with gossip/jokes and stuff. I did 6 events so I usually met with my study event partners at least twice a week for 5-6 hours if not more. For build events, it depends on how ambitious you are. My and my robot arm partner this last season probably did 5 hours 5 days a week so 25hrs/week. Partners should meet and work together for a minimum of 10-15 hours a week if you are shooting for a top 6 nationals placement in my experience.
windu34
Or yeah, the school library is a good place for after school. For chemistry and lab events it's also good to practice a lot with the lab portion in a chem (or other science) teacher's room after school, as long as the teacher is cool with it
Karp
^^
pikachu4919
^^^^^get lots of practice with things that have steps basically, that way it gets ingrained in your mind and you won't have to fumble around at competition time.
Lumosityfan
^^^^get a ton of practice with lab events
Person
It sounds super cliche but it's most effective. As someone whose primary event was forensics, I cannot stress enough the importance of practicing.
pikachu4919
Kuromes_Snacks asks, roughly: If you're helping run a middle school team, how to get the middle schoolers to be productive during practices?
Unome
oooh, team motivation...this is a fun topic
pikachu4919
It's a good thing to make practicing events much less of a chore and more of a fun activity.
markuswso17
Quick interruption: if you have specific questions about heli, dynamic planet, building/earth science events in general, I'll be AFK for a while but shoot me an email at m.yu8088@gmail.com and I'll get back to you soon!
a_boy
I agree with Markus.
pikachu4919
I'd say for middle schoolers try to get as many coaches helping you out as possible. The best scenario is to have one person per 2-3 events if you can, as middle schoolers need a lot more coaching than high schoolers; they haven't had the necessary science and math training yet, and often they're still developing their studying skills and don't really know how to crack open a textbook.
Karp
I would say yeah make it fun if you can and don't focus on making things too complex, otherwise the middle schoolers won't get it and just be confused, complicating the experience and frustrating them in the process.
Lumosityfan
raxu asks: "How often would you recommend the officers check progress in events?"
Unome
Probably at least once or twice a month
pikachu4919
Every meeting for me
Raleway_
probably once a week, just so you still get the idea that you need to focus and you don't alienate the competitors
Lumosityfan
It's hard to manage a team that has so many things on its plate- keeping a schedule and making sure everyone stays on track is really important
Raleway_
cmon Raleway, you'd wanna give em some time (depending on how far apart consecutive meetings are)
pikachu4919
^
Lumosityfan
improvement doesn't happen overnight
pikachu4919
also they'll get annoyed - keep in mind that they're human
Lumosityfan
I think it's important that you check on members enough so they're getting stuff done, but also not checking on them so much that they don't feel like they're the ones doing the event.
bernard
I'd say most times when you don't check you realize 2 weeks before a competition that they haven't done anything :(
Raleway_
well that's why you check every week
Lumosityfan
I would definitely recommending tailoring how often you check depending on the individual
Unome
^^
Raleway_
that too
Lumosityfan
it's push and pull honestly I feel
Lumosityfan
For example, some people need reminders frequently and others are completely self-motivated.
Unome
I would try to talk to as many members as possible as much as possible. Not as much of a "I'M WATCHING YOU", but more of a "Hey bud, how's life?  Your events going well? Anything you need help with?"
markuswso17
It's also important how you go about checking in on events - asking if there's a way you can help may work better than pestering in a way that seems like micromanagement
bernard
markuswso17: we're thinking on the same wavelength
bernard
I would personally not recommend checking up on events as much as possible. I would privately ask each person in the event how they think the event is going and about progress. Half the time, one person might be doing all the work and is afraid to say it in front of the other person so I would refrain from that if possible.
windu34
^^Individualization takes lots of time from captains but it's really worth it in the end
Raleway_
^^^^
markuswso17
Kuromes_Snacks asks (paraphrased): "Does anyone have any good tips how to get good and fast in WIDI?"
Unome
OK, WIDI wasn't my primary event but my teammates won it at nationals in 2016 so I guess I could tell you about what I know from observing them. I know Kuromes_Snacks asked about advice beyond "practice" and "know your partner". Yes, those are cliche pieces of advice, but they're also most effective. My teammates who won WIDI: they were best friends, but at the same time, I don't think they practiced 24/7. One thing they did do was that for certain kinds of materials used in WIDI, they came up with codes that were effective, yet understandable. Like legos - they used numbers for dimensions, obviously colors, etc.
pikachu4919
So my team also medaled in WIDI at nats, and again I did not compete but I did observe. One interesting thing they did was ask people around to go into their box of building stuff and just build something random, and they would test it. They just did this many times. The writer was also extremely neat in her writing, that must have helped a lot, and obviously keep a good code like North-South-East-West and such.
Karp
ManishB17 asks: "does anyone know any good tips or starting points for Mat Sci and at least get proficient at it quickly?"
pikachu4919
You can't win a marathon by trying to sprint it all or taking shortcuts :( Matsci this year is a polymer focused event which helps focus down the *possible* topics but I anticipate it being like last year where the "limited" topic list was still impossible to contain. You could start out by reading some Klein Organic chemistry or by doing some online organic resources. For polymer specific topics, look at some introductory polymer textbooks to familiarize yourself with jargon and terms- especially those listed. Lastly, the physical part of Matsci is pretty much the same as last year. Wikipedia them up or check any materials science textbook to understand then qualitatively and quantitatively. Both are equally important as many tests will cover both aspects. Also: practice practice practice! You can never go wrong by doing random online nomenclature tests and you will probably never run out of those problems to do.
Raleway_
CrypticBuilder23 asks: "what do you recommend for team chemistry? should build and test teams be treated as separate entities (especially if members are exclusive to one or the other)?"
pikachu4919
so what I would recommend is a lot of team-bonding events - things like going out to dinner, getting to know everyone well. That way, you guys can feel really close together and trust each other, thus complementing each other well as you go ahead to compete. As for build and test teams I think they should be combined, 1) because some people might do both and 2) it would help the team chemistry just because then both teams would feel part of each other and can feed off each side. Hope that helps!
Lumosityfan
So I'd say the bus rides and the nights in the hotels before competition are the best for team bonding. Have several people who are connected through their events hang out and study together, that's all :)
Karp
Overall, it is better to have build and study events be in one team, but in practice and study, it is better for them to be seperated. Everyone on the team should be the best of friends so that Science Olympiad is the place they go to when they want to enjoy what they do.
markuswso17
ManishB17 asks: "any tips for making a forensics cheat sheet like what occurs frequently during the event testing?"
pikachu4919
so Forensics still has 5 page cheatsheets like last year, although not binders like the year before, but 10 pages total is A LOT of space still, plenty to cover every topic, so do the normal cheatsheet thing; size 6-8 font, color-coded, change the margins, etc Make sure you have ID charts for powders, plastic densities, fiber ID, lots of hair microscope images, fingerprint pictures, blood chart, and an outline for your essay at the end. If you still have space, just cram as many random facts about chromatography, DNA, fingerprinting techniques, etc as you can. Also, use sheet protectors as you don't want to spill water or powders on your cheatsheet during the event.
Karp
I found it best to study as much as possible and practice at least one hour a day.
markuswso17
I actually medaled in Forensics at nationals, so this is p much my territory haha
pikachu4919
Powder ID, polymer ID, some of Linda Wozniewski's (the forensics national supervisor) frequently tested facts (she's from Indiana, where I'm from, so I know her pretty well and she knows me pretty well lol) When the amount of notes I was allowed to have expanded to a binder, I just used that as an opportunity to have either versions of my previous notes in bigger fonts (easier to read and find in competition) or previous tests and their solutions (especially old nationals exams). But since the amount of allowed notes has gone down now, I'd go with isolating the most important information, and also the topics you may be weaker on (since if you know it really well, there's no point in putting it on your notes so it can free up room for other things you may not be as familiar with) Also, I'm not a big fan of small fonts, usually it's hard to read. I never go below 6.
pikachu4919
What I always did was try to master as much stuff outside of the cheatsheet. Try to get the cheat sheet as small as possible so that you never actually look at it. Every time you have to flip through your notes, you are wasting time. Also, memorize where everything is so in the chance you DO have to flip through your notes, you get to the thing you need right away.
markuswso17
bakahoe asks: "Our team is short on builders, so how do you recommend picking which studiers should be put on the build events?"
pikachu4919
Pick the people that are creative and have had some sort of experience with tools (played with hammers and screwdrivers when they were kids or something). Also they should be confident about their abilities and trying new things. A newer member who is less experienced and isn’t too committed to his events currently would also be a good choice.
windu34
Also, quick announcement! Raleway_ needs to sleep/work so please message any further questions to Karp!
pikachu4919
Hey everyone! I'll be picking up new questions, so if you want one answered just type "/msg Karp *question here*" without the quotes!
Karp
in regard to bakhoe's question; I agree with what windu said. I never started as an engineer, but I was placed on mission because nobody wanted to do it. It allowed me to realize my more creative side and love for engineering.
markuswso17
I started out as a studier and only started build events when a friend of mine asked me to help him fix his air trajectory the night before regionals. I had experience working with basic tools and good creativity and innovating skills so I quickly became a permanent member on the event and we did relatively well and I learned as I went. This is a really good way for builders to recruit new builders as well.
windu34
Combinatorial asks: "What are some good ways to keep yourself motivated long-term and not just slowly decay in study time?"
pikachu4919
I think you can just look at why you're doing it. The whole goal of science olympiad is to learn more about science and its wonders. I feel like that will motivate you to want to learn more constantly. Also, maybe not focusing so much on medals, but you can see the medals as a motivation goal almost.
Lumosityfan
So during my second year, my primary motivation that kept me going was a really close friendship with two older members. We would go to the library after school everyday and work on scioly and it was really easy to stay motivated because I always wanted to be with them and we were always working. My senior year, it became a little more difficult and they and left for college and I was a leader on the team. I don’t know how many people will be able to relate to this, but the way I stayed motivated was by watching the nationals award ceremony every few weeks or so. It made me reminisce about the amazing feeling of medaling at nationals and how badly I wanted it again. Then it would become easy to push myself harder and keep grinding because the goal was once again fresh in my mind. By the middle of the year, I had become much closer to my new partners and the nationals motivation became less and less necessary, but reliving the experience definitely helped boost motivation for me and even now thinking about it, I am definitely typing way faster than usual lol
windu34
The best way for me to stay motivated was to see where the competition was and where I was. If I was lacking in a certain event, I knew I was not doing well. It really pushed me to do better than I had ever done before. I would also try to do better than what I did the week before, always improving what I had so far.
markuswso17
It is also very good to message as many people as possible about your events and that will in a way keep you accountable for working hard and it is good support if you get stuck on something.
markuswso17
OK one last question for fun: jonboyage asks: "what is each of your favorite/most proud medals at any competition?"
pikachu4919
I'd say mine would be my 4th place at nationals in forensics XD
pikachu4919
ooh that's a great question. Strangely I'd have to go with my 2nd place Astro medal from regionals for my favorite. Long story short I had worked very hard coming from my 4th place finish in astro at 2014 NJ States, wanting to do even better, and so I did and felt really good coming into awards. The announcer announces the results, but then leaves out astro. I actually go to her and say "but wait you left out astro!" She notices that fact and states Astro...I scream in delight :) In terms of my most proud medal, probably 4th place Astro states junior year. That was awesome to know that I was so close to the top 3 especially compared to the top powers :) hopefully jp can continue in my path in astro :)
Lumosityfan
all my gold medals :) or now at invitationals the blue ribbon one
Raleway_
or my gold medal in forensics at IN states my senior year bc all the years I competed at state leading up to it. I had gotten third, fifth, and third, which I mean all of those still made the podium, but still, it was satisfying to finally win it my senior year.
pikachu4919
my proudest was when they at state instead of running hydrogeology they gave us the geologic mapping test from the year before, but despite the winning team from the year before being the same, we got gold, beating them at their own event.
Karp
I think my proudest was my 3rd in invasives back in 8th grade. I put a ton of time into that binder XD
Person
so there you have it! that concludes this first edition of the scioly roundtable!
Lumosityfan
Alright everyone, we'll end this roundtable session here! Thank you all for tuning in, and be on the lookout for the next one in the coming weeks!
pikachu4919