View Full Version : FAHA: Feeling excluded on a team
02-14-2005, 11:14 AM
Ever feel like you don't belong to a team? Ever feel that what you care about in FIRST is totally different from the rest of your teammate, and you have to choose between getting along with your team or what you care about? If so, maybe you have some advices for this following FIRST-a-holic:
How do you deal with a feeling that your team does not seem to like you or that your soo different from your team that you sometimes feel excluded, Sometimes I feel that because I have such a different personality that everyone else kind of pushes away from me what should i do to change it
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02-14-2005, 11:37 AM
i think that FIRST is a great way to learn about life, and in life people have different personalities and work habits, so the fact that you have identified this now is a really good thing. i would say that a good recommendation for you to improve your work environment is to try and make some compromises. ask others how they are doing, spark conversations (even if you are not particularly interested in the conversation) by doing this most people will see that you are making an effort and reaching out. i think that this will help your situation a bit, in addition if you are very strong minded about ideas or opinions make some compromises.
if you make the effort and take the initiative things will defiantly get better
02-14-2005, 11:41 AM
Unfortunately I've seen quite a few kids come and go from our team this year. I think our retention rate is somewhere in the 50%. Now our makeup is probably 60% seniors. When the freshman came in they felt over compensated by some very capable and seasoned seniors. This is going to hurt next year. Yes it's partly my fault for not spending more time on the relationships. Our other mentors tried but the chemistry needs to happen more at the student level. Next year I think we'll be starting slow and new because of this. It's a lot of work to put a competitive robot together, and this can detract from inclusive focuses. When you have students who won't stand by and force there way into the activities. The hesitant ones are naturally left in the cold. From what I've seen, you can't have thin skin. You need to keep trying and pushing no matter what. You'll get in. It's as simple as that. Our personalities couldn't be more different on our team. But somehow it works. Those who've lasted never gave up - didn't care how they were received and made a way for themselves.
On another note: over the years I've worked in quite a few different engineering businesses. Some places I felt like a total alien. Others felt like a big family. Granted it's not fun to be an outsider. But work is work, and you'll have to adapt if you want to make a living. It's very important to stretch yourself and try to get along with folks you naturally don't. It's usually because they're not like you in some way or another. Your most important experiences in life will come from human interaction and the difficulties within. Don't avoid growing opportunities, they make life exciting.
02-14-2005, 12:26 PM
We find that the nature of the FIRST program draws strong introverts, who are happy focusing their talents individually (I'm one of them). We don't mean to be exclusionary, it is just our nature to NOT to incvlude everyone in what we're doing. Sometimes I think it's a lot harder building a team than it is to build a robot! Teambuilding exercises can go a long way towards helping teammates learn about each other. Examine your team and see what area might be missing that you could try and fill - perhaps they need someone to do public relations, someone to work on team spirit, computer animation, etc. As mentors we have had to tell our students to be more inclusionary and often this works out very well.
02-14-2005, 02:58 PM
See if you can find something that you can make your own. Something that you can take part in, which may not have to be a group effort. Perhaps you can work on making the decorations for the robot, or build up the control system, or make the team posters, or something like that.
I think all the suggestions above are good ones, except I dont agree that in this case "work is work". FIRST should be fun, it should be something we enjoy doing. All of us have our days (I definitely have this season!) where we just wish the day would be over or the task would end, or the robot would disappear. But inevitably we come back the next day and something good comes along, a reason to finish this very daunting task.
I would say dont give up yet. Try and see if you can get in touch with someone on your team. Maybe not everyone will accept you, but if you are a student, find a mentor you can relate to, ask them if you can give them a hand. Try to find something that you have in common with someone on your team.
FIRST is a huge lesson in learning to work with other people. At your job, you get paid to learn to work with people. They even give seminars on "dealing with difficult people". There are a lot of engineers who just hole themselves up a cube and work on their little project, and are often very brilliant, but just dont work well with others.
In FIRST, we are all volunteers, even students. No one HAS to be there. So the hardest job for the team leaders is to make everyone feel useful, and included. With your team, if it is an older one, they may be set in their ways, and you may be new, so perhaps are being overlooked. Or maybe your team is big, and its hard to get everyone involved. But there is always somewhere you can be useful, and something that you could do for the team. See if you can figure out what that is. Talk to your team leader when there arent many people around. Even if you dont want to talk about feeling excluded, just ask them what you can do. Or try and come up with an idea, and ask them if you can work on it.
Once you find something that you can do for the team, they will see you as useful, and it will help you get over that not being liked feeling. If you are a high schooler, high school is rough. FIRST is not always different. Groups of friends join, and if you arent part of a group, it may be difficult to join them.
Good luck, and stick it through, at least for this season. You will likely have a good chance to bond with your teammates on travel, or within the next week, when everyone is going crazy trying to get everything done. FIRST team members and even members of other teams have been some the best friends I have ever made.
02-14-2005, 03:50 PM
That's about what I felt like when I joined the team. I knew only one person, my best friend. We decided to join the team together. It was a little unpleasant being left out, but I figured I should get myself involved with some work. I was assigned to the Pit Crew, but when I was only 1 person working on programming so I decided to joined him(Note that I had some previous knowledge in C). Since then, I haven't felt too left out. Also note that it had been just one year since I came from India and I could not blend into the team at all. It was awkward, I was made a little fun of, but those are things you just have to overcome.
I think what you really need to do is get yourself involved in the team. The more you get yourself involved, more work is thrust upon you, and the more you are valued. Therefore, you are also liked and start to make friends. (Of course, unless you have a nasty attitude, but that's another story). Even talking to other team mates and expressing interest in things going on help. It's the build season coming to an end, which means there is a possibility that everyone is very dedicated to their work and trying to get things squared away. If that is why you are feeling left out, then just wait for a few days till the Build Season is over and things will be fine.
02-20-2005, 07:15 PM
I have a few recommendations for getting out into your team.
1) If you are able to drive a car and drive people home, reach out to the kids on your team that need a ride sometimes. Some of my best experiences in many of the activities I am involved in occurred before I hit 16 and started driving. It just felt cool to get a ride from the seniors and talk to them one on one. People your age may also not have cars, so getting a ride with a friend is cooler than parents sometimes :P.
2) Maybe spend some time listneing into people talking and see what they're interested in. You'll find that they're not as imposing as you think. Making fun of yourself if you make a mistake (to a certain degree) shows that you have a good attitude and you take things as they come. People will be more willing to hang around you if they see you have a laidback attitude.
3) I'm not a member of the technical subteam, so my first year I felt really left out becasue I just didn't spend those 7 days a week in the lab. Yah, you can't do much about that.
04-17-2006, 10:46 AM
Everyone on your team has probably felt the same way at one point in time. If your personality is that different from theirs, they probably just need time to get used to you. For example, there was one new student on our team last year that was very much a loner. He was completely different from the rest of the team. After awhile, we all got used to him and now he is one of my best friends. If you stick with it, prove that you have good ideas and are dedicated to FIRST, people will come to accept you.
10-03-2006, 07:25 PM
I believe that every team will have differing students and this is what FIRST is about.
However, it is not only up to the team to get everyone involved, it is also up the students. Its hard to get new students involved when they simply do not want to learn and get involved. Some people are there for the experience and others are there to learn and there needs to be a distinction made.
The overall concept of FIRST and the team atmosphere is to introduce you to new and differing views and attitudes. If there were no problems than you are not truly experiencing the way things will be when you step in to the real world.
02-20-2007, 11:18 AM
I find most of the team problems I've experienced in the last three build seasons were due to mentors purposefully excluding students - or worse giving them responsibility for some facet of the robot only to take it away at the last moment during the build.
It came down to a culture issue.
My view is that the goal of FIRST is to buddy students with mentors where building a robot to play a game is the method to frame that interaction. The view of other mentors is that the goal of FIRST is to build a robot using a method of mentors buddying with students. The important difference is that *if* the goal is to build a robot, especially one that can win the game, then how a mentor interacts or doesn't with all interested students becomes a secondary concern.
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