Obstacles and difficulties
One of the biggest problems encountered by the team was trying to organize our ThinkQuest work while keeping in mind the downtimes. Jen, Simon and Debangsu all had rather busy summers - all three team members were doing a lot of travelling, losing contact with each other, and Jen and Simon were both also preparing to go to college in the fall. But even before that, in May and the first half of June, the team found it hard to stay focussed on ThinkQuest due to the scheduling of important final exams for Simon, Jen and Debangsu, in that order.
During the summer, all three team members had to travel for various reasons. Debangsu had to travel to Asia from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa to visit his home country, India, from June 28 to July 27. During this time, he didn't have Internet access while he was in New Delhi, and lost contact with his teammates. In the latter part of July, he managed to obtain Internet access while he was in Calcutta, India and regained contact with the team. Moreover, Jen was unavailable for ThinkQuest from July 2nd-July 21st, as she was on a college tour and later on, camping in Maine, USA at the time. Even Simon had his own share of traveling. He had to travel to France (25th July - 12th August) and get involved with college introductory activities in Groningen, Holland (13-18th August and 25-27th August). Moreover, Simon's coach Vikas Sonak was also unavailable for some amount of time in July because of his travel to Italy from Holland. During this time, he had no contact with his team members. It was quite a challenge for the team to arrange ThinkQuest work to match traveling schedules.
Moreover, collaboration over the Internet proved to be quite challenging due to a number of reasons. The three team members were in 3 separate continents (4 including Debangsu's travel to India, Asia), which ruled out face-to-face meetings. As a result, all communication had to take place using the Internet as the sole medium. This wasn't easy, considering that each of the team members had been away for some of the time. Moreover, time zones also had to be dealt with. Jen, Debangsu and Simon were separated by multiple time zones - there was a 6 hour (7 while switching between summer and winter times) difference between Jen in New Hampshire in the west, and Simon in Holland at the farthest east. This made team meetings tricky to organize at times - more often than not, someone had to stay up really late in the night to communicate with their team mates. However, as we all agreed, keeping the communication clear was extremely important. This situation was compounded further when Debangsu traveled to India - there was a difference of 9:30 hours between Jen in the US and Debangsu in India at that time. This meant that someone had to stay up in the wee hours of the morning to communicate. When it came down to a choice between sleep and completing the ThinkQuest web site, sleep obviously had to take second place.
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