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  #61   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 09-13-2006, 07:19 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

That's definitely true, but to really get anywhere in some instances, you probably need to scrape up the money to get your Master's or your Ph.D. (I don't know what the situation for Bioengineering majors will be.)

I have not posted anything recently, but I will post about this. My alma mater team has offered me a mentorship position. The advisor is probably asking me the same thing. But I have to tell him and those who want me to mentor--I'm in college right now. I don't know when or if I'll come back because my academics take full priority. I don't know my current transcript, but based on my assignments so far, I think I'm doing pretty well.

I'm ironically on an engineering project with another FIRST alum (from Team 007) and we both are taking our experiences to the project. But it seems like everyone else is on our page (which means either other FIRST alumni or people who are just that way). Apparently all the squabbling and disorganization that typified my team's activities seem to be gone (but we aren't at the storming phase yet.)

I am at a college that has been supportive of FIRST for a number of years. It once sponsored Team 53 before it collapsed (for any oldtimers, 53 was once a dominant team from nearby Greenbelt that suddenly seemed to fold last year.) I think the team was eventually switched from UM's MechE to a Gemstone team with not a lot of money to deal with.

I am not about to drive that hour drive right now to the team. I would see the regional on webcast and keep touch on the boards and give some advice, but Engineering takes so much time.

If you do mentor in college, do it somehow discreetly so that you can still do well and have a social life. If not, you should still stay in touch to pull the team through.

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Unread 09-13-2006, 10:43 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I'll try to keep this short & sweet:
(on my fifth and final year of undergraduate engineering now )

-Before doing FIRST during college; ask yourself "how will FIRST help me accomplish my career/life goals?"
-Pick the ONE aspect of FIRST that will MOST help you gain a competitive edge in your career/life goals (mentoring, design, machining, writing, project management, procurement, fund raising, leadership, etc...)
-Make sure that ONE aspect is a lot less involved than what you think you could handle.
-Do that one aspect well.

You may change that one aspect from year to year, according to how your career/life goals change, but what I found out in college is:

FIRST can help you advance your skills & knowledge base.
FIRST can help you discover your own interests & expertise.
FIRST can lead you to job offers.
FIRST can make you stressed out beyond belief and distract you from classes!

So basically, if you must do FIRST (and I do recommend staying involved), do one small thing, do it WELL (people will notice that), and spend the rest of your time concentrating on classes.


The ONLY reason I did so much with FIRST during my undergraduate career is because I was working at internships between the months of January-June for 2004, 2005, & 2006. Had I been involved with classes during the winter months I would have accomplished far less.

All in all... if you're obsessed with FIRST, do an internship during build season .
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Unread 10-10-2006, 08:24 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=37819

This may also help you!
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Unread 05-11-2007, 07:35 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

Well, it is now May 2007 and we have a whole new group of college students who made the decision to mentor or not mentor a team, and a whole new group of high school seniors who are contemplating what they should do.

I am curious to hear the stories.

Personally, I would recommend taking at least one year off from a team committment between high school and college. Why?

It will help you re-gain perspective of FIRST. Being a student on a team is way different from being a mentor. Let the memories of your senior year continue. It is really tough to not fall into the high schooler mode.

There is so much college has to offer. Clubs, activities, new friends, professors, plays, concerts, and on and on. These next four (or maybe five) years will be the most unique experience you will have. You can't go back later - it can't be the same. FIRST will be here in a few years - ready for your return.

You need to focus on your academics. That is why you are there.
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Unread 05-11-2007, 09:40 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

Personally, at this stage of my career, I would not mentor a team if I was attending college, even if it was 2 classes a week. I would offer support on the weekend during build season ( probably manning the grill ) but would be very conservative of my time during the week. Granted, I work full-time and classes would be on a part-time basis.

Colleges and professors only care about academic performance. Thats what they are paid to do and that is also what you or your parents are paying for. Volunteering is a noble deed, but don't lose sight of the goal in front of you. FIRST doesn't offer scholarships for 'Best Mentor'.

If you are in college, keep your eye on the prize, help when you can, and look forward to the day when you can mentor yourself through the eyes of a prodigy. You will be rewarded in due time, and enjoy the experience better when you have better monetary resources available to you to make an impact.
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Unread 05-12-2007, 02:05 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I have found that mentoring in the fall is much more effective for me than mentoring during build season.

1) Fall mentoring has no 6 week deadline, so you don't feel so bad missing a session or two to ensure you pass classes.

2) It is much easier to ask an uninitiated fellow college student to teach a single session in a topic in their major than it is to ask them to join during build season. It is actually a rather effective mentor recruiting tool.

3) I firmly believe that many mentors are counter productive during build season. I refuse to do much beyond ensuring the HS student's safety and wellbeing during the build season. From my own HS experience, I know that an overzealous mentor can quickly ruin a student's self esteem with a momentary "I'll do it for you" attitude.

Also, recruit as many low-commitment people as you can. Everyone who graduated high school is qualified to be a low-commitment mentor. Try and get the people who claim to know nothing of anything: they are best at supporting students without squashing them. Ask them to come "once or twice" during build season, and space them out. This has two primary benefits. The first is that each low-commitment mentor allows a core mentor to focus on school better. The second is that each low-commitment mentor will ask a student to explain what is going on, and this explanatory process is where the students usually learn the most about their robot. Olin only has engineering students, so I usually try to grab the Bio-Es for this.

Remember, it is not your job to build a robot. It is your job to act as a glorifeied hybrid safety monitor / white board.
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Unread 08-21-2007, 03:08 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I too am a college mentor, and I won't lie. I got distracted from my schooling when Robotics season rolled around. I didn't take a break between my Senior Year's season and my Freshman in college's season, and to be honest, I'm not too regretful. Luckily, I was able to keep up well enough in school to not let it get to me too much. ^_^

I love mentoring and it keeps me busy during the winter when all school does is stress me out. I find mentoring to hep me relax and keep my mind off of things. Now, I just need to work on no letting it keep my mind off of such things for too long. Then it can be dangerous ^^;;
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Unread 08-21-2007, 08:29 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I am among the college students who chose not to mentor this year. I knew going in that my class load would be tremendous, and that I would want to participate in other clubs and try new things. I did not lose touch with FIRST friends because of my year off - rather, I had more time to dedicate to phone conversations, to talking, to getting to know great friends even more. I attended no events between IRI 2006 & IRI 2007 - even though BMR is in my home town - I spent spring break on a backpacking trip with my school outing club instead.

I spoke to fellow college student Joey Gannon about this at IRI - but I will say it again - going back to FIRST after a year of vacation made me remember everything I loved, everything I cherished, and inspired me to maintain robotics as a potential priority in the future. I missed it, I won't lie. However, I have a great GPA, awesome friends, a rewarding research job, and many opportunities for the years to come.

To all of you new college students, good luck. Whatever decision you make, I hope all goes well for you, and that you enjoy and grow from this new found independence you will have. If you do mentor FIRST, be an asset to your team, but know that your students will admire you all the more if you set an example and finish your own homework. If you don't mentor, and find a void there, fill it with lovely memories with splendid new friends. You owe it to yourself to enjoy college.
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Unread 04-04-2008, 02:07 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I did not get involved in FIRST officially until my Junior year of College. I am the Public Relations Coordinator for Purdue FIRST Programs and it is a very rewarding experience. I encourage anyone else to contiue mentoring while in college.
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Unread 04-06-2008, 06:05 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weis View Post
I did not get involved in FIRST officially until my Junior year of College. I am the Public Relations Coordinator for Purdue FIRST Programs and it is a very rewarding experience. I encourage anyone else to continue mentoring while in college.
More on my last post, there is way more to do with FIRST in college than just mentor FRC teams. There are also mentors for FLL, FTC (or VEX). Just because FRC was a major time commitment in high school, doesn't mean that you have to spend all day and night working with an FRC team. Many of us work with fundraising, public relations, and planning for the Regionals we put on. There is a lot of different stuff to do and it all helps kids interested in FIRST.
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Unread 04-20-2008, 06:30 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

Yeah I myself have thought about mentoring a team when i go out to Ferris State University next year, but I am not so sure if i will have time and i dont think there are any teams close to big rapids.
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Unread 08-21-2008, 10:11 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

This deserves a bump, and frankly, I think no freshman in college should mentor a team at all. Do something different, try new things, get away from FIRST. There aren't many things I believe in, but this is one of them I do 100%.
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Unread 08-21-2008, 10:35 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

This is a pretty heavy topic.

In one of the first posts, someone made a comment on advice they received from Ken Patton. I received similar advice from 148 mentor JVN (who, for those of you who aren't aware, is famous for his college mentoring experience) - "College is a great time. I would recommend it as 3 priorities: schoolwork (keeping up, etc), the 'college experience' (friends, social clubs, dorm life, etc), and then maybe FIRST. It's extremely easy to let FIRST overcome the first two, and it's important to keep things in line." It's a motif I plan to keep central in my coming years; I know the schoolwork is no cakewalk, but I would love to lend my abilities to an up and coming FRC team.

Now on Voshol's point about volunteering, I wholeheartedly agree. I volunteered at MARC over the summer and it was a ton of fun, working with the coordinators and such almost made it feel like we were our own team (as corny as this sounds), overcoming problems and trying to make everything run smoothly. With the new "district" system in Michigan I'm hoping there will be an event closer to MTU, but if not I may try and volunteer at one of the other events or even the State Final. I 100% recommend it to any graduated senior looking to stay involved and up-to-date with FIRST but without the time commitment of a team.
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Unread 08-21-2008, 11:07 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

As many of my mentors (not just from my current of past team) have told me, School>Robots, FIRST will be there in four years for you to come back to. Sure, it might be hard to deal with, but I know if my grades dip at all, I will "yoink" myself off the team.

Like Weis said, it is very rewarding. I would not take back being on 1646 last year for anything, it was awesome. In the end just do what is right to get through school with a good degree.
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Unread 08-21-2008, 12:27 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Matt View Post
This deserves a bump, and frankly, I think no freshman in college should mentor a team at all. Do something different, try new things, get away from FIRST. There aren't many things I believe in, but this is one of them I do 100%.
So here is a question: What about college freshmen that have never heard of FIRST before; should they also be given the same advice?

As with everything there are two sides to this argument, but I think that they have more to gain from their early college involvement and less at risk of being over involved than a just graduated FIRSTer.

Speaking from firsthand experience college freshman also have less to contribute to the mentoring efforts (in the short term) and being so close in age to the HS students can create other difficulties. However college seniors with no FIRST experience also seem to pose the exact same issues and they won't be around to be grow into helpful mentors for the next season.
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