As I mentioned earlier this week, NSAC didn’t end for us on March 31st. We still had one major part of the project left to complete: the pitch. Usually, this is a big affair. There are weeks to prepare for the pitch, late-night rehearsals, practices in front of focus groups, the whole shebang. This year we have about 24 hours.

With the pandemic, the competition was moved online and the plans book, the first part of our work, was given an extra week to be finished. However, our presentation date was never moved. We suddenly went from having a whole week to practice and perfect our pitch to having around 24 hours after the deadline to submit our pitch.

Most of our initial challenges were logistical. How were we going to present virtually? Would it be a film or a voiced-over PowerPoint? Do we all need to be seen on the screen? There was no guide book. No previous experience. We were and did, travel blindly through it.

But the kinks quickly got worked out by our amazing presentation team. While we couldn’t meet in person due to being spread across the state, we stayed up late and met as much as we could to practice work on the presentation. While the plans book was in its final days of completion, we were also hammering away on the presentation. Then came our last 24 hours.

We spent the day filming and filming again until late in the evening when we finally decided it was as good as it was going to ever get in our new format. After some talented editing work, it was finished and submitted to be judged.

Usually, the competition is held in a hotel ballroom and after you give your 20-minute pitch the panel of judges has 10 minutes to ask you any questions they could think of. This year we had to wait a full day and a half before answering the judge’s questions. When we finally were all on the same Zoom call together, the questions they asked us were easy to answer.

We left the call elated, we felt on top of the world. It was a combination of knowing exactly how to answer the questions they asked to finally having some sort of closure on a project we had all poured our hearts and souls into. We quickly gathered with the whole class and had a midday happy hour.

While we usually find out who won the day of the competition, due to the change in the format we had to wait almost a week to find out the results. We finished 3rd behind the University of Virginia and the University of South Carolina. While I’m sad we didn’t win, I’m still extremely proud of the work we produced and all the lessons I learned along the way. This class has taught me so much more than I could have imagined.

You can see all of the work we produced here.

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