The Final Blog Post: Plans for the Future

Oh dear, my final blog post already. And I was here thinking I had plenty of time left for In-depth night. As the marked day slowly approaches, I realize one thing: never do anything last minute anymore. I have lost sleep and good working time because I chose to leave things to the last minute, which I strongly regret. But there is nothing I can do about it now, but plan my time wisely so I can get everything done while putting my best efforts. This is going to be a long week of filled stress and agony, but I am prepared.

So for my in-depth night, my ideas are not set and stone but I do have a rough idea of what I want to do. Earlier, I already said that it would be really cool if I managed to bring a real car to the school and show hand-on-hand maintenance on the car, but that seems really difficult. I would need to find a car that someone is okay with lending to me for the night and I would need  to find space that is easy to see by people and that is close enough to know that I’m part of the actual night.

So for my final idea, I’ve decided to a tutorial-like learning center where people can come and learn the same skills I learned in a more concise and faster way. At my learning center, there will be a screen that will constantly show videos of me doing car maintenance tutorials that can easily be watched in a few minutes. This will show that I know the skills well enough that I can teach others what I have been learning over the few months. Besides the video, I also was planning to set my learning center in a garage sort of layout. I would prefer a corner spot in the MPR to be able to bring tools and equipment that I need to actually do these maintenance. This will show that I am really in character and create an atmosphere of a low maintained guy who’s life consists of working on cars.

I am really excited for In-depth night, but I am also really nervous. I really hope that I’ll do well and make my first In-depth night an amazing experience.

Azaly Addam: Out.

In-depth Blog Post #5: Taking the Initiative

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged last; before spring break I believe.

Wow, the year is passing by so fast, and there are so many events and tasks I need to go to and do before my nest break. Oh man. April, May, and June will be something I’ll remember for quite a while (if it doesn’t kill me first).

So over the break, I was fortunate enough to meet with my mentor for an extra hour as he was busy during the second week of the break. The break gets really busy at his work, so having the opportunity to go while the workshop is closed is something I greatly appreciated from my mentor.

During this lesson, we took a step up as the next vehicle maintenance skill I learned was much more difficult than the previous mechanic skills I learned. And can not be done simply at home, as shop equipment is needed to lift the vehicle up and make sure it is safe to work on. My last session, we focused on the back of the truck (which is what we were working on) and had to fix the break pads. I can honestly say that this kind of maintenance needs higher level of experience and I could not work on the break pads without more knowledge. However, knowing how the break pads work will prove to be helpful in the future when I can hopefully diagnose the problem earlier and have more knowledge on car maintenance.  The break pads of a vehicle is quite fascinating, as I have come to a realization that the car holds itself up; every part is needed, as they overlap each other. Without a part, the vehicle would most likely have a problem. The break pads have two components: the primary pad and the secondary pad. The primary pad squeezes the disc of the break, with moves the wheel, while the secondary break acts as a wedge. The two pads work together constantly, and although made out of a solid material, ware down as they undergo constant stress of breaking. In the other hour, he taught me the different filters, parts I did not know about the car, and liquids the car uses. Every vehicle needs its own type of liquid, being different than the other. I thought that each car would tell the owner which item belonged to the car. However, mechanics have a computer which has records of a variety of vehicles, so they know which item goes with which car. To properly maintain a vehicle, owners need to study the cars they’re using to be able to maintain their vehicles properly.

Now to answer questions!

1. My mentor, like any other person, forgets. So my mentor likes to leave 10 minutes of every session to ask questions that Ii have or ask things I want to learn for next time. He gives me an opportunity to ask what I want to be taught,  and gives me suggestions of things I should look for on my free time to ask next time we meet.

2. I like to spend time to review things I recently learned. My mentor does not specifically gives me any sort of tests or anything, but before we start our sessions, he usually asks questions about what I learned at my last session. Mechanic skills can easily be forgotten, so reviewing daily is needed.

3. We can only meet so often, and my mentor knows that. So my mentor might have moments where he knows people who are giving workshops or lessons on these kind of things. Unfortunately, I have been too busy and crammed to attend any of these workshops and enhance my learning, but there are opportunities for me too meet other mechanics and learn different mechanic skills and learn in different ways.

4. When we’re together, my mentor and I have a lot of things to talk about. We usually find time to talk about the news, our days, what’s going on in our lives, but most commonly: movies. I cannot stress this enough. We both love movies. And it is quite ridiculous how many movies we both enjoy.

5. The fact that my mentor has time to show me things that he hasn’t planned to show me is probably one of the best things going on between us. He knows that there’s a lot of things I would like to know, and the fact that he’s that dedicated to me to spend extra time to show me these things makes me feel really good about my in-depth project.

6. We’re learning what kind of people we are. It is easier to have a conversation with my mentor at my sessions, and I feel comfortable talking to him now, as I am slowly finding out the person he is. He is so modest, never showing off the things he can do or the things he has accomplished. He’s very funny, which breaks the ice most of the time. I can see myself looking up to someone like this; with a great mind and a kind soul.

Until next time blog!

Blog Post #4: An Interesting Connection

Good day. It’s been almost a week since I have seen my mentor last, and I’m planning to meet him again tomorrow afternoon. At our last meeting, we had the opportunity to give an oil change to a car. You must change your oil and its filter every 4 months or about every 5000 km, and an oil change, which can be simply understood and done, would be quite costly if done by a professional mechanic. As my learning progresses, my mentor constantly repeats a phrase; 90% of a mechanic’s job is to diagnose the problem of a car. I totally agree with his comment. I can learn how to change everything inside a car, from the wheels to the engine, but if I do not know what’s wrong, I can’t change anything. I think the hardest obstacle I am going to face is being able to understand what solutions work with which problems. Skills like these take years of experiences; years I do not simply have. However, I am enjoying the new skills I am learning.

An oil change can be done quite easily. You must first empty out all the previous oil into a container. Then drain the oil filter, which collects all the gunk and materials that get stuck in the oil, before adding the new oil in. There are different types of oils, and cars need specific thicknesses of oil. This knowledge will help me perform oil changes to my future car and save a couple of bucks.

I have seen my mentor a couple of times by now, and there are a lot of things I like about him. He is wise, knowledgeable, and quite funny. However, the most challenging difficulty so far is being able to find a connection with him. Although we both enjoy movies and enjoy similar films, we do not have a lot of common ground, as he enjoys things that I do not. This makes it a bit more difficult to be comfortable around him as I constantly feel that he has better things to do and that I am just a student wasting his time. Although this is most likely not the case, I feel as it would be better for both of us if we had more similarities.

That being said, I think the fact that I am understanding the concepts and being able to work on these skills easily is working very well. When I can do the tasks he has asked me to do, I feel better about myself and not feel as if I’m just wasting his time. He has very useful skills and is teaching me the most useful engine works to more complex ones. As the weeks progresses, I feel as I can learn much more challenging skills.

As stated before, the bond between my mentor and myself can be established much better. We are still fairly new to each other, and finding common ground between us is important. When we take breaks and have free time, I want to try harder to find a topic we can both chat about such as last night’s hockey game or the new movie coming out.

In my next meeting, I will learn how to change a spare tire. So just in case my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, I can get right back!

In-Depth #3: The Relationship of a Mentor and an Apprentice

Well darn, a week before the new month. And it seems as if I haven’t aged a day.

My mentorship has been going very well as the month slowly comes to an end. I’ve unfortunately have met him only once since my last blog post, but I have had a very informative lesson. The last lesson I had, I was taught how to change the spark plugs of the engine. Although this may seem easy to some people, I found this like challenging as there were many things to follow as the lesson progressed. The main thing to keep in mind when changing the spark plugs-and anything in general when working with engines-is that keep track of where everything goes and attaches to. Each spark plug has a specific connector which distributes the sparks to each spark plug, where the engine receives it and starts. This piece of the engine is essential to starting the vehicle. It takes specific spark plug ratchets to remove and replace the plugs, and removing the actual spark plug connectors took a bit of broad force. He also took a few minutes to show what is the actual components of the inside of a car. Overall, although I found myself scrambling to find which connector connects to which spark plug, it was a good day.

It was a very good mentoring session, but I found the easy transition from one part of his lesson to another and the examples he used to relate to the engine to be something well that happened during the mentoring. The fact that he uses examples to find connections with what he’s talking about made it particularly easier to follow and comprehend. If he didn’t compare everyday things with vehicles, such as gears on a bike with gears on a car, it would be much harder to follow.

However, the lesson wasn’t the easiest thing I have ever experienced because I’m still at that stage where it’s a tad awkward between my mentor and myself. We felt that we were effectively communicating with each other as we both got answers we wanted and asked questions for reassurance or for curiosity.  Although my knowledge of engines are limited, I tried to be as honest as I can with what I knew and was open to anything he taught me, even though it might have been against what I already knew before. I feel that we were really paying attention to each other as the session progressed because it got a bit easier to talk to him, even though we haven’t known each other for too long. I can safely say that we both paid attention to each other, because I did what ever he asked me to do while he kept my strengths and weaknesses in learning in mind, as he knew I would learn better more from hands-on demonstrations than on paper.

A learning challenge I found while learning how to change spark plug and even when I first got introduced to the engine was that I had difficulties remembering all the parts and possibly steps of an engine. Engine work takes a lot of memorizing which I am not fully use to at the moment, so for the time being, I must constantly review and test myself to make sure I can remember the parts and their specific tasks of an engine. I possibly might purchase a few books or check a few websites on the parts of an engine just to constantly have the parts circling in my head.

Thank you very much for following along, and I am quite excited to see what I will learn yet. I want to learn how to build my own engine, but I probably won’t get to that point for a long time.


A spark plug


The spark plugs in an engine

In-Depth Post #2: The Source of Learning

Wow, the week have gone by so fast. New classes, new semesters, new challenges. And I’m up for the challenge.

It has been a few weeks since we have gotten our In-Depth assignment, and in that time period, I managed to meet with my mentor one time. He has been very busy with school at the moment so I haven’t seen him as much as I want to, but we have set up specific dates each week so we can meet and he can mentor me.

So I managed to find another worker in Coquitlam’s Kal-Tire that I had look for to be my mentor on car mechanics and maintenance. I must admit; meeting with my mentor for the first time was a bit awkward and I was little misguided as it was his first time ever mentoring someone. But from what I know from his passed experience, he definitely knows what he is doing. He is currently undergoing school to further his understanding of car mechanics, specializing the engine itself, which is a much more complex level of mechanics than what I’m learning. In high school however, he took automotive classes that helped him understand vehicles. And once he graduated, he took an apprenticeship at Kal-Tire, where his skills for mechanics really developed. And after a few years being in the business, he has gained enough skills to teach his first apprentice: me!

My mentor actually didn’t plan on becoming a mechanic for his career, and took automotive classes as a hobby. He originally went to school to become a lawyer, but thought it wouldn’t be the right profession for him. So as I asked my mentor, he experienced a lot of different emotions  while becoming a mechanic. He felt sad in the beginning as his career choice did not seem to work out for him. But as the opportunities for him to become a mechanic started to rise, his hope got higher, and he got through the obstacles he faced in the beginning. He told me before we started was that “never have concrete plans, because as life starts to age, so does your outline.” I understand his saying completely because I know that not everything works out as planned, so I need to be flexible with everything that is going to happen and be prepared for things to change.

Since we only had an hour for the first day, my mentor just showed me the engine of a car. He taught me all the components that a car needed to have to be able to function properly without breaking down. He showed me the battery, the air filter, windshield fluids, break fluids, power steering fluids, transition belts, and a few more. I know a basic understanding of what these parts do to a car, but I tend to forget and need a review daily. He also taught me the tools needed to work on a car’s engine, which is basically the  ratchet and wrench. He also told me screws’ specific names and what their shapes are. I know there isn’t a lot in the beginning, but I will soon get to it.

What I have learned so far from my mentor is that I like to be taught first by hands-on demonstrations before I get to the written part of learning, especially with mechanics. A skill like this must be taught first-hand, so I believe that my mentor is doing very well by showing me what I’m doing. Learners can see what their mentors are talking about, and actually learn by doing instead of listening. If there is a time where I would become a mentor, I believe that learning hands-on his very useful to specific types of skills such as mechanics. If you were being taught a skill like math, I believe it would be better to listen before you put it into action, instead of doing the work as you teach.

I know I haven’t posted any photos yet of me doing anything, but as soon as I see my mentor again, I will add the photos!


The engine of a car


In-Depth Post #1 A New Beginning

Wow, I honestly never thought I would make it this far.

But look at me now; sitting here, writing my first blog post. And shockingly, I’m quite excited.

I remembered coming to In-Depth night last year, with all the crazy projects that were being shown and the cool ideas everyone had for themselves. I had no idea what I was going to do for my grade 9 year. But fortunately, the idea smacked me right in the face.

In the beginning, I wanted to do magic for my In-Depth project. But I found it rather hard to find a mentor and the ones online were magic that I didn’t even believe myself. And how would I do magic if I don’t even believe in what I’m doing? So in the last second, I changed my idea and found something that I’m even more interested in now; working on cars. So for the next 5 months, I will be taking lessons on how to maintain and repair the basics of cars. My mentor will be coming to my house as I have a close connection with him, which made finding a mentor much easier on my part. So over the months, my mentor will be coming to my house, or if I’m lucky, I will be able to go to his workshop. My lessons still have to be determined but I my lessons will be 1-2 hours each week as there is a lot to learn about taking care of cars. I chose this skill not only because I find it interesting, but I find it very helpful. As I grow older, I will need a way to transport myself and others to and from places. And for me, the most practical way is a car. And making sure that the car can last for a long time if managed properly is very useful. And it’s also useful for emergencies. If a car broke down on the middle of the road, it’s good to know the basics of the engine so I can possibly fix the car until it gets to a professional mechanic. This is not a skill that I would use only once in a lifetime, so I find it to be a very useful skill to learn. As my lessons begin, my mentor will show me hand-on-hand demonstration on how to fix cars. He will teach me how to fix basic things, and I will learn to do them myself as I follow him. My mentor is Calvin Bucholc, and he is a mechanic and Coquitlam’s Kal Tire. He has demonstrated a great understanding of vehicles and engine-work and I believe he would be the best mentor for me on this subject.

But with a skill like this, there are also a lot of challenges to face. The possibility of me not getting this within 5 months are high as this is not an easy skill to learn. It requires a lot of concentration and focus, which may be a challenge for me. There might be days where he’s busy as well, so my lessons might have to be pushed back, which might cause me more stress with everything else going on. There is also the chance where I only understand a bit of mechanical work with cars and manage to show very little on In-Depth night.

But no matter the challenges, I am very excited for In-Depth. I can’t wait to not only learn my new skill and possibly find a new hobby, but to see my friends’ other projects and see what they’ve learned over the 5 months period. I’m especially excited to see In-Depth night and see how it plays out.

It is going to be a long 5 months for sure, but I’m excited for the long journey.