Our Division I Odyssey of the Mind team was in East Lansing, Michigan, USA representing Hong Kong at the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. This was the team’s first year of participating and several judges and seasoned veterans commented, in astonishment, that it was very rare to make it to the World Finals the first time around.


During the six days at the event, our team met other competitors from different parts of the world. Most importantly, we learned about problem solving, pulling together, and growing up. As we pack up to return to Hong Kong, here are some of their thoughts on teamwork, resilience and what it means to compete to the very end.


What are your Top 5 tips for someone new who joined OM?


Try not to panic. For instance when planning, testing, or the performance doesn’t work, stay focused. Don’t just give up! You never know when someone will have an idea that changes things. Also, compete to the end. Teamwork is important because arguing just makes things more difficult. Put the hours in. Give yourself plenty of time to rehearse. Don’t waste too much time planning. Watch a few YouTube videos before choosing a problem so you know what it entails.


What would you do differently?


Perhaps play around with different options. Maybe even try other problems and see which one clicks with the team. We spent too much time talking and not making progress. Next time, we will know how much needs to be done to do a good job. We should spend less time developing ideas that deep inside, we know would never work.
We would use our time wisely in order to have more time to build.


What has been the best part of OM?


The relief after the performance was also special. We could finally relax! The Spontaneous problem was great because of the building. Seeing the team come together after not doingso earlier. Realizing that Odyssey is a lot of fun. It was an awesome experience because it allowed some team members to get to know other kids from other grades. Without OM, there would not have been the opportunity to interact. Sometimes it was tough doing things when we didn’t cooperate, but when we pulled together it was great! Also, we really pulled together to solve our set up problems during the performance. The pin trading was also a great part because it is fun to meet other people from around the country.


What have you learned about yourself?


One of the team didn’t enjoy OM until the regionals because it was only then he realized how intense and fun a competition can be: meeting other people, putting in hard work, and seeing the results of what you have done. One of our team members enjoyed building things. Another figured out that he was good with verbal problems, but not so much hands on. A third team member realized that sometimes you just have to commit and power through difficulties—to be courageous—and you can succeed. One last team member recognized that he could work on a team, even if ultimately, he prefers to work by himself.


How will you apply what you learned to other parts your life?


One of the team members used to be very self-conscious, but now he realizes that no one is judging him. He feels open and free and it’s great. A second team member has never been so far away from home without a parent. This has made him feel more confident and he feels he is better able to tackle problems. A third team member believes this experience has helped her to be a more creative thinker. Lastly, everyone needs to come together and not let the team down.


Well done, Jacob, Aine, Griffin, Nico, Stefan, Alex and Kairo. Thank you to coaches Harriet, Agnes and sub coaches, Benjamin and Charlotte for all the hard work.

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