Chantel Wiese (2006)

Chantel Wiese

How well prepared did you feel entering into the project?

Because I was working together with a fellow practicum student, and with FNSP 310 and 320 under our belts, I felt like I was well prepared. Also, Amy and I were working with two organizations, and for some reason I felt more prepared and secure with the initial stages of our project knowing that there were four key players in the mix. However, looking back over our research now, I realize that I was not, and never could have been, fully prepared for the amount of work and effort that this large research project entailed.

Three things you learned from/about the organization:

1.There are a lot of behind the scenes politics involved within organizations and institutions; there are a lot of people investing something into the projects that are taken on by practicum students, and all of these people need to somehow feel that they are gaining something positive and productive from the work that practicum students do. In this way, there is a huge variety of goals and perspectives that need to be considered and met; not exactly an easy task to accomplish.
2.You need to be well prepared, well in advance, just in case someone else isn’t. There must be a back up plan and even some sort of improvisation strategy.
3. That communication is key. Discrepancies in communication can alter, confuse, or slow a project.

What was the highlight of your practicum experience?

After Amy and I spent so much time coming up with a way to give our work a future, namely via making our Teacher’s Guide interactive, it was definitely a highlight to see how surprised our partners were at our ideas for where this project could go next.

As far as actually working on the project, I keep thinking to myself that, despite the endless hours and effort that went into our project, I still had fun. I was fortunate to work with Amy. Having someone who knows exactly what you are going through, right there beside you, is valuable beyond words. It was awesome to work with Amy because we were able to constantly feed each other ideas, and bounce perspectives off of each other. It was nice to have someone fill in the gaps that I leave, in my physical and mental work, and vice versa.

What surprised you the most?

How much information is out there. It is amazing how much a person can sift through, and still have more. Also, it is tough to narrow down the amount of research and information into what, in your opinion, will make a productive and effective package that fits your research project.

One thing you would do differently next time:

I would have taken more notes; I would have written down my thoughts on a more frequent basis. I took for granted how important all of those little things, that I thought I would remember, are in the final stages of the project.

Advice for next year’s students:

Always be working. There should not be a stagnant stage of your project, because no matter how much time you think you will have later, it is just not there in the hustle and bustle of the final stages of the project. Every little bit helps.

What are you doing this summer?

I am working in a pulp mill in my hometown in Mackenzie, BC. Also, I will be taking some training and doing some volunteering to prepare for substitute teaching.