By: Mimi M. 

Hi! I'm Mimi, (in case you didn't read the by-line!) and I completed my Silver Award recently. My Silver was about getting more kids into STEAM but this advice is applicable to any project! 
  • My first piece of advice is to  start early. This is so important to do, even if you are just planning. Get your ideas down, write out your likes/dislikes, what you are interested in, and any ideas you have about your project. This really is the hardest part of your project, but it is super important to do this as early as possible so you have as much time as possible to work on your actual project. I actually didn't follow this advice as well as I should have, and so I ended up with about two months to do my project. I did manage to complete my project without too much stress, but it certainly wasn’t ideal. So definitely start planning early, but also start your actual project as soon as you have a good plan. Just keep on going, and don't worry if something doesn't work out. 

  • Keep trying! Don't give up, no matter what happens. It's OK to go through multiple projects, so don't feel bad if you have to start over and try again. I went through three different projects myself, and my partner for my final project did the same. Just keep on working until you find a project that works! 

  • Start paperwork early. The Silver Award requires an application to complete your award. The paperwork can be pretty time consuming, so it's best to start it as soon as you are about halfway through. This helps for a lot of reasons. One, this way there is less stress for you once you finish your project, as you can just copy paste your answers into the application without worry. Also, this way you have time think through your answers, and find records of anything you've forgotten. I know I had to look up what we did as our Take Action for a Journey! The final reason as to why you should do your paperwork early is that, this way, you can make sure your project meets all of the requirements. If you answer the questions early, even if it's just short sentences, you can make sure that you aren't missing anything in your plans. 

  • Send thank you cards. Once you have finished your project, be sure to thank anyone who helped you with your project. This includes mentors, anyone who gave major advice for your project, any contacts you had that allowed you to do your project with their organization, etc. The thank you cards don't have to be extremely ornate, just a small card thanking them for all they did. If the person you are thanking helped you more towards the beginning of your project, make sure to tell them how your project went! Also, if your project had a logo or something you used to advertise, put that on the card. Branding is key! 

These are just some quick tips based on things I learned when doing my Silver Award. Remember, keep trying, and don't give up! Your Silver Award might be frustrating to do, but it's worth it once you finish. 

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