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A Fourth-Year College Student's Weekend

A Fourth-Year College Student's Weekend - Project for "Insight Mapping 101"

I chose to try to the "Where Did My Weekend Go?" project based on my experiences during the past weekend (which, for a college student, starts on Friday and ends in the early hours of Monday morning). 

To start, I brainstormed and wrote down all the activities that happen during what I consider an average weekend. I naturally organized my brainstorm chronologically, which ended up having a significant imapct on my first map draft.

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For my first draft of my map, I broke out the main sections by day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), but this created a bit of a "spaghetti mess," with crossing lines. I quickly realized that this organization doesn't work well because I did several of the same things (reading, Internet browsing, etc.) on each day, but I didn't want to repeat the same bubbles. I enjoyed the process of adding thoughts/observations about my behavior, which is not something I would normally consider putting into a map.

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For my second (adding structure) and third (adding insights) drafts, I reorganized based on key headings (Work, Diversion, Food, Social), instead of by day of the weekend. It appeared to me that these four topics split easily into two major themes: 1) the work/diversion tension, and 2) the food/social connection. I formed a few insights about using my time more efficiently and giving myself set times for distracting, fun activities - these are the bubbles in red. 

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I think the greatest insight I gained from this process was based on finding repeated use of some words: annoyed, stressful, "takes away from." In each branch of my map, these same sentiments popped up, which indicates to me that I have a negative view or negative feelings associated with my weekend activities. Personally, I think this points to a larger habit of focusing on the negative, and it might be interesting to repeat this process with an overwhelmingly positive experience to see what insights I can gather from an experience that I associate strongly with positive feelings. 

Here is my final map, with little drawings added for fun. I will note that I really enjoyed doing these maps by hand. While it did make it harder to avoid "spaghetti mess," I found that creating the maps on paper made me think hard to organize the connections.

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Overall, I think this was a helpful reminder to try to find the positives in my experiences. Most of the insights I gathered are actually things I already know (don't get distracted by the Internet, and you'll get more work done), which could be a sign that my insights were not deep or meaningful enough. Getting to those deeper insights seems to be something I can work on with practice. On that note, if I use another more troublesome experience (i.e. my thesis), I might find some insights that could point to new solutions or considerations - and that sounds like my next project!

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