Overcoming imposter syndrome to engage in technology innovation workshops

Since I’m a Design student, there were definitely some imposter syndrome feelings that bubbled up when thinking about attending these virtual events with engineering students.

Since I’m a Design student, there were definitely some imposter syndrome feelings that bubbled up when thinking about attending these virtual events with engineering students. However, thinking thoughts like, “I’m here to learn something new, so it’s OK that I don’t know the same things as everyone else” and “Maybe I can offer a different perspective since I’m in design and not in engineering or CS” helped me overcome some of my initial nervousness. And I’m glad I did! I learned so much. Here are some takeaways:

1. Seriously! Do not let your imposter syndrome keep you from trying something new.

This is the most important takeaway of this experience. If I had listened to my initial thoughts about not being the “right kind” of person to attend Makerweek, I would never have gone. Those thoughts are definitely bullshit, and I’m learning to counteract them by leaning into thinking about what I could learn if I put myself out there and how I can provide a new perspective.

2. Despite being online and remote, Makerweek reminded me of being at a conference. Good job to the organizers!

The Discord Channel we used was organized and was updated frequently. Seeing the online attendees on the right side of the screen felt like seeing name tags at events. Clicking on the different channels on the left-hand panel was like stepping into a new room at a conference and being surrounded by conversation around a new and interesting topic. I could share images and videos I had made of my projects in their respective channels as if I was live and in person at a conference. We were also incentivized to share our projects on social media through a scavenger hunt. I thought it was such a great way to garner more engagement and buzz.

3. The DIY activities and workshops taught me about technology in a simplified and accessible way.

Instead of lecturing attendees on the intricacies of circuits and batteries, Kogan Makerweek organizers taught these concepts through DIY activities and workshops. I participated in the Coin Battery, Electric Play-doh, and Circuits Workshops. Learning by doing was far more engaging than passively hearing about the concepts.

Also for anyone interested and wants to practice, here’s an interesting design challenge from the organizers of the Arduino workshop:

Overall…

This event was very well executed! Going forward, I’m excited to see how events can be moved into an online space to share new ideas in a hands-on manner. In the future, I’ll also be slower to say I don’t belong at an event.

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