Advice to Rookies and Veterans
First of all, congratulations on becoming a member of a FIRST Robotics team. This program is one of hard work, dedication, fun, and seeing something that you've created with your own two hands come to life and function.
Obviously, being a rookie, you may not really know whether to dive in head first or to sit back and watch for awhile. It all kind of depends on your personality and the type of people on your team. If you feel more comfortable just jumping in, try it. But please, try to jump in where you know what you're doing. Sometimes, especially towards the beginning of the season, veterans can be very easily set off and stressed out from planning. If you're more comfortable watching for a little bit, do some shadowing. Find out what the team is all about, talk to people, ask questions, but do not interrupt the work process. That also tends to tick some people off.
If you don't have anything to do, by all means, try to find something productive. Even if it's just tidying up after some of the members, trust me, the janitors in the facility you're using will love you! They will absolutely love you to death! You could also bring in a camera and take pictures. Teams have websites, and your Chairman's team could use some of your pictures in a powerpoint or as entries. Who knows? Maybe your local newspaper is looking for photos of your team members working to use in a story. You never know when things like that can come in handy.
Also, never be afraid to admit when you don't know what someone's talking about or what they're asking you to do. It is better to ask when you don't understand and possibly look foolish, then to try to figure it out on your own and possibly make a mistake that could hit hard in the long run. I'm not saying don't make mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable, and forgivable. But if it's possible to get clarification, take full advantage of that opportunity. You can never be too sure about what you're doing.
First of all, obviously if you've come back to your team, you love this activity enough to do it again. I'd like to thank you for coming back. You have a larger leadership role on your team than you may think. Now, you've got the rookies looking up to you. No pressure though.
I'd like to start off with a very simple piece of advice, BE PATIENT WITH YOUR ROOKIES! I love you all, but your attitude and how you treat your rookies determines the future of your team. When you're gone, they will remain. Do you want your team to fall apart because you scared away all of your rookies? I don't think so.
Please, if they aren't in the way, and they're observing, realize that they only want to see what's going on so that they can be more productive and helpful. They have good intentions, I promise. They just want to learn.
Keep your team together. Invite the rookies in and let them feel inclued. If you exclude someone, chances are they won't want to come back. No one wants to be left out, especially those that are walking into a new situation for the first time.
Finally, be in their shoes. You were a rookie once too.
Veterans and Rookies:
Keep your team together. I cannot stress enough the importance of a bond in your team. You have to be able to work together inside the lab and outside of the lab, inside the pits and outside of the pits. You have to be able to trust each other. If you can trust each other outside of the competition, you will work together that much better in the competition.
A team that learns and grows together, wins together.
There's my two cents. Yes, I know I'm not a mentor, and I'm certainly no engineer. But I'm just coming off of my rookie season, and frankly Team 393 was great to me. I just figured I'd point out strong, positive things that they did, and things that I was encouraged to do as a rookie, to further help out the generations of rookies yet to come.
Later days. See you all at IRI.
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