Realise the Dream 2007
For a name that gives itself to such an easy pun that it becomes lame (“we’ll go on to realise our dreams”), this week-long programme was a truly fantastic time. It delayed my long-awaited exit from school, but that was a small price. I’ve noticed a theme with these sorts of events, that you meet heaps of great people and return home with lots of new friends. This programme, which was officially to “celebrate excellence in research and technological practice”, was no exception.
My project felt pitifully inferior to those around it. Given that it was designed to complement a technology that is shortly to be outdated, I had a hard time trying to make my project sound justifiably good. The country’s top science fair projects, though, had me amazed, as did those of historians. I’ve always kept as far away from science fairs as humanly possible (I made it to this through electronics technology), and now here I was, in a group with people who had come up with the most extraordinary (and applicable) projects, and seen them through. Whether I deserved to be there could have been another story, but hey, I’m not complaining.
Thankfully, after the presentations on the second day, our projects themselves became lost from our minds. What followed were trips to various research institutes and places and lots of free stuff (though I somehow managed to pick the options with less free stuff). There was a scavenger hunt around Wellington, and a pantomime of Jack and the Beanstalk. The pantomime deserves its own paragraph, it was so funny, with jokes for kids and jokes for adults, and lots of very clever political references (*smack*… “It’s not okay!”) and who could forget, “cleanse… cleanse… cleanse…”, but I’m tired, so a sentence will have to do. The “proper” parts included forensic entomology, intellectual property, and for me, Geological and Nuclear Sciences (a Crown Research Institute), and presentations on psychology and urban design. All were fascinating.
The week was punctuated with many rounds of Mafia. For some reason, Mafia cards seem to like me. I must have played seven or eight games there, and in all bar two I drew a Mafia card (and in the second of the exceptions, the Mafia decided to eliminate me first round). I’m not a very talented Mafia (though I won one game in that role). It’s a good name game, though.
On Monday, I’ll finally get to officially turn my back on my entire school life. The delay was due to this, but I would be churlish to complain about it. I have met many people this year from many events, from all over the world, but the thing about this group was their resourcefulness and ambitions—as well as just being fun people to be around, a common theme among the friends I’ve made this year. To now be friends with most of these Realise-the-Dreamers is undoubtedly the most valuable part of this experience.
I was really tired when I wrote this, if you were wondering why something feels missing from it.