View Full Version : FAHA: Too much FIRST
09-13-2007, 03:53 PM
FIRST is a very unique experience and offers a lot to students. Balancing your life between FIRST, schoolwork, and life can be a challenge sometimes. Time management is a key issue. What can you offer to this FIRST-a-holic? Bear in mind that this thread was created a while ago but I think any advice might still be useful.
Recently I got into trouble with my grades. I have parents who are very strict and would love to see me out of robotics because they do not realize the positive impact it has made upon me. I have this summer to prove to them that robotics has helped me. I am seeking advice because I think my parents are right. FIRST to me is a very strong addiction. I need more and more and can never realize when enough is enough. I have recently realized myself how addicted to robotics I am when I saw myself doing complex mathematics to figure out some variables in a project, and than even more, when I realized that out of the twenty four hours in a day, I spend on average ten to twelve hours on Chief Delphi, or a related robotics research activity or even prototyping for parts for the next season for some advancement in modular design. Can somebody please help me? I need advice as to how to tackle this problem because I have a bad feeling about next year. If I do not get my act together in the next few weeks, I might be in high school who before FIRST, made straight A's and B's. If you have tips on study advice, how to study, or how you manage all of this with your addiction to robotics it would help me so I can possibly relate and work out similar strategies to breaking this crack like robotics addiction.
Thank you very much for your help.
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09-13-2007, 04:49 PM
I always tell the students on our team, that NOTHING is more important than keeping up in school and NOT letting your grades falter - because of the FIRST activities.
If ever they must choose between, getting something done for robotics vs. school assignments, the later MUST always win.
It is way too easy to get caught up in all the robotics stuff, so much so that it could have a negative impact - Only the student can prevent that from occuring.
The best advice I can give you is to prioritize your activities, as I stated above.
School first, FIRST - second or even third!
How - Planning and dicipline are the only way to get this beast under control.
Keep a log or calendar.
Set aside specific time periods that you MUST spend on school related stuff.
Set aside specific time periods for family, friends, chores, anything and everything - except robotics.
What ever is left - portion out time you can commit to robotics.
Stick to the plan - do NOT allow yourself to drift back into your old habits. This is tougher than it sounds, it will take all the dicipline that you can muster.
Good Luck -
Remember that all the good that you can see coming from FIRST involvement will not be as valuable, if you are not able to find a balance and gain the support from your parents, family, teachers, & friends.
Engineer and Coach - Team 47
09-14-2007, 09:53 AM
It took me until my third year of college to finally put school before everything (almost) everything else -rugby, FIRST, frisbee, pancake club. There will never be enough time for me to do everything I want to do, so balances and compromisises must be made. If you got straight A's and B's before FIRST, then you already know how to study and do your work. While FIRST is good and all, to much of a good thing can be bad.
The hard part of this is to have the distance vision to balance the now with the rest of your life. I wish you luck.
09-14-2007, 12:50 PM
Value your health above all else.
Stress wrecks havoc on the mind and body - it might disturb your sleep, make you sick, leave you too tired to commit any time to all these things you want to accomplish. Never be afraid to say no (I know that's easier said than done), because sometimes going home and getting a night's sleep is what you need to do well on that test, quiz or project. I can only imagine how overwhelmed you must feel - good luck.
09-14-2007, 01:57 PM
I'm not a highschool student anymore. But I will give you my take on things from the college student side.
The balance between school and FIRST can be a difficult one. I know for me I tend to go all the way or don't do it. It led me to a lot of great friends, the starting of a new award winning first team, and even recieved the WFA in St. Louis this past year. To everyone around me it looked like I have a great handle on time but ask the kids on 1747 they get email from me at 4:30am cause I was just finishing my homework and need to go something for FIRST before class the next day. This led me to be a very over stressed person who was making mistakes. When I noticed this was starting to happen I changed my way of doing things, on the night before an exam I would not attend robotics meeting or if I was the only one with a car for the night I would open the meeting then retreat to a corner to do homework. On our team it was a frequent sight to see 5 or 6 kids with textbooks out and would split the meeting in two working for a while on the robot then going to homework. I personally see no issue with doing homework at a meeting and hey there are 8 college kids to help with your math if you get stuck.
I made the hard decision after IRI this year that atleast for now school and my health must come first. Both of these thing suffered greatly because I over did it with FIRST. So for this year I am no longer working with a team, I may help out at a regional in my schedule allows next semester. I still help out 1747 but if I get an email and something else is going on I finish that instead of making FIRST priority number one. That is the key FIRST, I didn't remove FIRST completely but moved it to position number 3 or 4 in my life.
I guess my biggest piece of advice is yes FIRST is awesome but finding ways to back off cause even too much of a good thing is bad. Make a schedule and block out time for homework and time for FIRST. This was the biggest thing that helped me was I made rules...i.e. no robots the night before an exam.
In the end your education is key if you love engineering or whatever you want to do someday. a night away from the robot to get an A on an exam to get into the college of your dreams is worth it.
09-15-2007, 12:23 PM
I understand your problem. First of all, last year was my first year on the team. I was a freshman. As build season started, I realized that I would spend less "quality" time on my homework and projects. I suffered the consequences too. By rushing, and not putting all of my effort into my work, I got lower grades, especially in English. Somehow, I was able to keep it at an A-. That isn't the point; the point is that if had taken half of the time I put into robotics, and focused a few nights on important school projects instead, I could have turned in work that really reflected my potential.
This year, I told myself that I was going to be more committed to my school work, and I was going to stop procrastinating. I didn't start off too well. The first two weeks of school I fell back into the same habits as before. Then finally, something hit me, and I realized that I can't get by with simply completing things for school. I need to actually put effort into it to get the grade I want. I have to earn it. Similarly, you earn your spot on a team. How they see you is normally based off of your actions: what you do, and how you go about doing it. One thing to realize is that your team members/mentors will look up to you and appreciate and respect you even more, if you are not only in love with engineering, but are working hard in school, so you can become what it is you want to be.
FIRST is actually teaching you something very essential in your predicament. This is basically how life is; you have to learn to balanced every aspect of it. If you want to become an engineer, or whatever you want to be, you have to get into a good school. To get into that school, you have to have good grades and have an impressive academic history. In order to have good grades, you have to work for it. You have to dedicate yourself to working for it, even if that means neglecting some other things for a while. FIRST will always be there, but the opportunity to get into a certain college and go into your field of choice, will not.
Establishing a good regime now, will help you when build season actually gets here. I know it's hard; believe me, I know, but if you use your time to its full potential, you shouldn't have too many problems. Work on your homework right after school, or as soon as possible. Take the time to complete projects you would be proud of. Treat your schoolwork like robotics. You wouldn't want a robot that looks like you had a week to build, you didn't plan, and falls apart, would you? In the same way, you shouldn't want your schoolwork to be presented that way.
Basically, learn to prioritize and cut back on FIRST a little, especially right now, while you can. Our team always tells us that school is first, and our mentors understand if and when we need to miss a meeting or two to catch up on work, or even work on it at the meeting. They didn't get to be who they are by neglecting their work.
I wish luck to you, and hope you can find the intricate balance needed to accomplish your best on your schoolwork, and still contribute to your content in FIRST.
09-15-2007, 10:59 PM
If you have tips on study advice, how to study, or how you manage all of this with your addiction to robotics it would help me so I can possibly relate and work out similar strategies to breaking this crack like robotics addiction.
I think I can say that I am very involved in FIRST. But NO matter what happens, your schoolwork comes before robotics. I, myself browse Chiedelphi 24/7 and involve robotics in my everyday life in everything I do.
Give yourself at least 4 to 5 hours out of your day to study. I am assuming that you are a high school student. If I were in your place, I would do my schedule as such (just a suggestion). Wake up, go to school, get home by 3 in the afternoon, give myself 1 hour to catch up with homework, give yourself a break to do something fun, get back to studying around 7 and study until 10 at night, give yourself another break, after everyone falls sleep, give yourself another hour to look over things that you have done all day to refresh your memory before falling sleep.
There have been times when my parents were convinced that I should quit robotics, but after seeing what I do, they don't question it that much anymore. Involve your parents into everything you do, you shouldn't have anything to hide in first place. Show them that you are trying your best, they will help you through the process before they ask you to quit.
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