A User’s Experience of The College Decision

It’s been well over a month since I started working on The College Decisionator. Though it’s been challenging to rise to the tasks at hand, adapt to the internship’s workflow, and learn new skills quickly, I’m happy to say that the project is proceeding very well. Since we started on The College Decisionator, we’ve been focused on designing an app that guides students through the confusing, difficult, stressful process of transitioning from high school to college. There are many phases of that journey, so we’ve limited our scope to educating students about their college options, teaching them how to learn about colleges that may fit them, and structuring their decision to help them make the best choice they can.

Each member of The College Decisionator team had a hand in designing the app, but I feel that I have been particularly engaged with designing the app’s user interface. This forms the picture of the user’s experience when they use the app. It has been my job to ensure that the user can easily understand and navigate the app. In order to do this, I constructed wireframes to formalize my ideas and communicate them to the rest of the team. It’s striking to see how quickly the wireframes evolved! I’m currently working on building these same designs in actual code. The fun of this part is that everything is dynamic. I’m programming in a way that will allow us to make as many screens as we want, each populated by any number of items for the users to engage with. Eventually, we’ll combine my front-end code with the development team’s back-end code to put the app together.

I’ve learned a lot about how to work in an environment like The College Decisionator. On a small team where I must fulfill a unique role, and at the same time work in constant collaboration with my teammates, I must always be taking responsibility for my work. Not only must I produce my work without any oversight, I must also possess the confidence to determine what that work actually looks like in the first place. This has been a major adjustment from my everyday schoolwork. It was challenging, but I feel that I’ve learned a lot and I’m now more equipped to work in similar environments in the future. I am grateful for that.

Currently, as I program the app’s user interface, I’m in a constant struggle to learn the coding language as I use it. It’s very challenging to produce this work without any background in the language. At the same time, I think it’s an incredibly valuable skill to have, and one I’ve been proud to advertise myself as possessing in the past. I’m grateful that I have this opportunity to learn how to learn quickly. It has become a goal of mine to engage with this continuous learning process, so that in the end, I’m able to maximize the effectiveness with which I tackle unknown problems.

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