By Tristan Wade, Model Farm Student Project Manager
As a student-run organization, summer can feel like the time to take a break. School’s out, the weather is beautiful, and everyone is on vacation, right? At Model Farm, the summer is the perfect time for us to hit our stride. All our staff is in the office working full time each week, which is easily double the hours everyone can put in come the beginning of the semester. This is important because most of our design staff is new at the start of the summer, so the full work weeks allow us the teach them the skills they need to be successful at Model Farm.
Transitioning from the spring semester to the summer is made easier when there are a few people bridging that gap. I was one of two project managers at Model Farm since October 2018 and became the solo project manager as we transitioned to the summer. This was helpful in getting any projects we were in the middle of transitioned to new designers, because I had my hands in many of the projects already. However, it presented some challenges for me personally, as well as for the team, when it came to the projects that needed to continue after the school year which I wasn’t managing prior to summer. The key to making it as smooth as possible was clear communication with our client and working in tandem with the old project manager prior to the summer to make sure every moving part was in the right place.
Since the beginning of the summer, I have seen myself grow in my role more rapidly than I did in any similar span of time during the school year. Getting the opportunity to work as a project manager for 40 hours a week has allowed me to improve at client communication, feel more comfortable in pressure situations as we approach deadlines and be stronger at managing all the moving parts day-to-day. It has made me far more comfortable in the role than I was at the beginning of May and its due to the fact that I am able to fully commit to my role as project manager during the summer.