As my final year of high school comes to an end, I must complete Career 12 in order to graduate. In PLP, instead of taking the normal CLC 12, we get to take PGP, which stands for personal growth plan 12. Taking the course has helped prepare me and has given me ideas for my future endeavours after high school. As I plan to attend post-secondary school, this course has played a great role in educating me on what’s to come shortly in terms of different possible career paths.

Our final project in the course surrounded the popular genre of self-help books. The driving question for this project was ‘’What do I need to know to move forward with lifelong learning and active citizenship?’’ The general premise of this project was we got to choose a self-help book, and create an artifact that connected and displayed our learning from the book. We had the opportunity to present it to the other careers 12 class at an exhibition, with hopes that they could also take something out of the learning that we completed.

For my book, I chose to read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. It’s a book that explores the strengths and challenges of introversion in a world that often values extroversion. Through extensive research and personal anecdotes, Susan Cain shows how introversion is an important and valuable trait, and how introverts can thrive in a world that often misunderstands them. If you’d like to read the review that I constructed for this book, I’ll leave it below.

One part of the book quiet that especially stuck out to me was the section surrounding the importance of having a quiet workspace. My favourite example that Susan Cain uses in the book is the three groups of musicians. How it went is that the researchers divide the music students into three groups. The first group was “the best violinists” who had the potential for careers as soloists. The second group was the “good violinists”; and the third group was training to be violin teachers rather than performers. As the researchers analyzed the students, they found a difference among all three of the groups. All three groups spent the same hour participating in music-related activities. But the two best groups spent most of their music-related time practicing in solitude.

I believe that I connected to this because of my involvement in band and music and I understand the importance of practice. It opened my eyes to all the possibilities to grow in life just from having a quiet space. Overall, section inspired me to develop the artifact that I created and is a message that will stick with me throughout the rest of my life.

Whenever I get the opportunity and freedom to create some sort of artifact, I enjoy trying to go all out. I like to push myself and do something challenging, but also possible if I put in the time and effort to create. After completing my book, I chose to create my version of a lock box. My lockbox would be large and you would put something like your phone inside to help you remove things that disrupt your quiet space.  It fit with the message I connected with about having a quiet space, as it was a way to eliminate distractions. It also let me explore my love for technology, as I got to program my circuit board and construct a circuit for the lockbox. This project helped me answer the driving question, as I feel that to move forward with lifelong learning and active citizenship, it’s important to be able to focus on your studies and activities without being distracted or procrastinating.

For my artifact, the first part of the construction was creating the circuit. I used an Arduino, breadboard, relay, battery holder, solenoid lock, a liquid-crystal display (LCD), some buttons, and some jumper wires to create my circuit. How it worked was I created some code that displayed a timer on the screen that you’re then able to start, stop, and set the time using the buttons. When the code from the timer ends, there’s code that triggers the relay to turn on and off. What the relay does and open and close power from the battery holder to go to the solenoid lock. That leads the lock to either turn on or off. This circuit took hours to create, as I ran into many problems during the process of creating it. I learned a lot about building circuits and troubleshooting errors. I figured out that by knowing each part of the circuit that was working, I could slowly figure out what wasn’t working and fix it. Below is a photo I took of my circuit which was connected to the LCD to create a working countdown timer.

I then had to design the box that the circuit was connected to create the full lockbox. I found the process of creating the box almost as challenging as creating the circuit. I wanted this lock box to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. After much thought, I settled on a design that would fit the idea perfectly. I called it the quiet box. I used cardboard since it was easy to cut up and shape, so I could easily incorporate my lock into the box. I got a lot of useful feedback from my peers during the peer critique and it was all surrounding the look of my book. It looked pretty scuffed and worn, so I decided to give it a fresh coat of paint to make it look more polished. I spray-painted the whole box black, which resulted in a sleek, modern-looking lock box that not only functioned well but also looked great. It was a satisfying feeling to see the final product, knowing all the hard work and effort that went into creating it. This project helped me understand the importance of balancing functionality and aesthetics in design.

Overall, the exhibition was a great success. Everyone was super engaged and interested in learning more after taking a first glance at my artifact. Some people enjoyed hearing my connections and others thought that the artifact was something very useful that they could use in their own lives. What made the exhibition so successful though is that our class successfully presented all of our work over the past month to our audience. We all answered the driving question of the project in our way and showed that to the other grade 12 students. In the end, the exhibition was evidence of all the learning completed in class, and the knowledge obtained from reading our self-help books.