Student Perspective on Rookie Year – Max
My name is Max and this past year I was a rookie for the Stryke Force robotics team. I was first introduced to it by a friend, who was also joining this past year, and after just a couple meetings I was hooked. I chose to be on the build team and we had smaller projects of repairing past robots to be used for sponsor demonstrations and community events. When I signed up we were only meeting once a week. I had no idea that once this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) was announced, you have to put in lots of time after school devoted to the team; just like sports.
One of the things I like most about Stryke Force and FIRST is that it gives geeks like me the chance to be on a team with a kind of sport mentality. You give your all for the sake of the team and you rely on each other for help when you need it. Our mentors are also really good at explaining why things need to be done or how something works. It’s better to learn those things in the off-season because once the game is released you have a very limited time to build your robot. This can create a stressful scenario for the mentors and they can be edgy but they can still help if you can recognize when it’s the right time for a question. Once the robot’s built and at competition it is similar to a sport with our team with or against your team and getting excited when things are going well even though all their doing (this year) is stacking totes! Also, you have to be able to act quickly to fix the robot and adjust strategy when something goes wrong.
We made it to the World Championship back in the end of April in St. Louis, Missouri. There was upwards of 600 teams from around the world crowned the best of the best based on points earned earlier in the season. In order to fit all the battles into a few days, the floor was split into eight divisions (we were in Carver). There are so many things to take in that it is impossible to do it all. I made it my mission to collect as many buttons and pencils and things teams were giving out as possible. To keep a long story short, being part of this team allowed me to go see a new place, stay in a hotel without my parents, ride a train to the venue, bond as a team, see some new gadgets, and meet a whole lot of people who are genuinely excited about science!
I advise any teenager interested in a science based team to join. There is a little something for anyone. If you are interested in public speaking and getting sponsors to fund our team, join marketing. If you’re interested in programming and computers then we need people for that too. If construction is your thing, wood, metal or wires, join the build team. If you like RC cars, learn how to drive the robot. If you’re schedule allows for your commitment for more, do more than one! No matter what part of the team you’re on, be yourself, be ready to help, and you will make plenty of friends both with the kids and the cool mentors. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you soon!