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A Week in Wonderland: My Experience at Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

A month ago our team was on top of the world.

We had worked through months of adversity, ranging from a broken propulsion system to a lack of spray paint, to get to World Finals. At every step there was doubt if we could actually make it to the next round of competition, let alone Worlds.

But on April 7, 2018, our dreams came true when we secured a second place finish and a trip to Iowa State University to showcase our talents in the competition's biggest stage.

For that next month, we worked our tails off trying to improve our scores. Our change of appearance... changed appearance. Costumes changed, lights were added, and many more changes were incorporated into our long-term. Furthermore, we stepped up our spontaneous preparations in order to be able to go toe to toe with some of the best teams in the world. Then, the week of World Finals finally rolled around. We loaded our equipment up and headed our various ways to Iowa, unprepared for the spectacle that lay ahead. 

Day One began with the final preparations for our long-term performance. After touch-ups to our car and props, we headed down to the campus for the final performance of our skit. As the hours passed, we traded pins and made new friendships with OMERs from across the world. 

Our performance went off without a hitch. In front of an audience including our fellow Pennsylvanian teams as well as the founder of Odyssey of the Mind, Dr. C. Samuel Micklus, we gave a performance that wowed those in attendance. After packing our equipment up, we were finally able to relax knowing that our long-term was over.

Day Two started early thanks to unfortunate scheduling. The tension built as we awaited being called for Spontaneous, and our wait brought more and more questions: What type of problem would we get? What would be the scoring system used? Who would have to sit out?

In the end, we were able to solve our problem with flourish, and afterwards, got to experience the "silly-string tradition": getting sprayed with silly-string while leaving the building. We breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the competition was over; now, we could have as much fun as we wanted.

Over the next two days, our team experienced some of the many joys that OM has to offer at Worlds. While continuing to trade pins, we participated in the Creativity Festival (setting a new record at the Minnesota booth), met contestants from foreign countries at the International Festival, and partied hard by playing Jenga with Koreans and Arkansans.

Unfortunately, we did not win; however, we earned Pennsbury's first top ten finish in nearly a decade and did so while creating new friendships and unforgettable. Plans have already begun for next year; hopefully we can make a return to Worlds!

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