View Full Version : Rookie Realization

02-08-2007, 07:54 PM
Although this is my 4th year, my team are rookies. I've spent every day since Kick-off trying to impress upon the students a sense of urgency, but every day at 5 o'clock the shop is packed up and swept clean and everyone goes home. Today, however, one of the students was looking around and quietly made the comment "Six weeks isn't very long, is it?" We may have a tough time completing everything we want this year, but I think they are finally starting to realize how hard, and yet how rewarding, all of this really is.

02-08-2007, 07:59 PM
That is the same here even though we really are rookies. I am part of the team not a mentor or anything and we got little done the firs 2 or 3 weeks except for planning and about a week ago we really got a sense of urgency and kicked it into high gear for some of us. Lately i have been staying to 6:45 (not much time left for homework or studying) but i still love every minute of it even though it gets frustrating.

02-08-2007, 07:59 PM
Congratulations. As a mentor we hope they "get it" before to long into the build. Just wait until they get to the arena and the awe in there faces is inspiring. It is also great when you have new parents come up to you and state "Wow my kid did this!!!"

02-08-2007, 08:13 PM
yeah I am trying to stress this with the majority of my team because they all are rookies as well. The few of us that aren't rookies (the 3 Leaders) have pretty much been the only ones to stay after school on weekends etc. Us three learned from our mistakes the very first year this was put together at our school, yet for some reason our team doesn't want to follow suit. Go figure, our robot is pretty much built by us three :( I wish the rest of the team would understand... oh well its still WICKED FUN!!!

02-08-2007, 08:33 PM
yeah my time is half rookies and it ends up at six everyday there are five people left in the shop and all the rookies have gone home. I wonder how many will leave early tomorrow, we are staying until 11 then a few of us may have to work on it at a mentor's house until even later. Thankfully saturday morning is programmers only, so the build team gets to sleep until the afternoon. All this is because my team finally realized that we want to finish well before the ship date not 2 hours before.

02-08-2007, 08:59 PM
yeah no kidding, its always nice to be done before the shipper comes ( we were building some of our bot in the shipping crate lol) it will definatly give more time for debugging, but most of the time rookies on my team at least have the attitude of "Well it's 6 weeks, we can get it done in that time no problem" and we end up building most of our bot in the pit area during practice rounds lol. Thankfully there is a couple of us this time to get the job done beforehand lol

02-08-2007, 09:17 PM
we end up building most of our bot in the pit area during practice rounds lol.

last year we had to cut five pounds and put a new shooter on. needless to say we only made two practice matches. lets hope that doesn't happen again. it also doesn't help that things take a few days to ship so something ordered on Thursday might not come in until tuesday

Justin M.
02-08-2007, 10:24 PM
It's nuts how differently you think from the kickoff, then you do at the beginning of the 6th week. Right after the kickoff you think "we've got 6 weeks or 2 months to build a robot - no biggie.". Then when you are staring at an assembled, but non moving robot monday of the 6th week, you think the complete opposite. Then you realize you need to build a crate.

02-08-2007, 11:12 PM
If it wasn't for the veteran team that is working with my team we would not be able to get a bot built for this year's regional. I have only one student so far who has totally bought in to the project but his availability is very limited.:ahh:

02-08-2007, 11:58 PM
We are in the stage when everything comes together in a couple of days. All subteams are close to being done, then we let the programmers have a field day with our two camera setup.

Every year we stress about deadlines, and every year we make them. It's simple a matter of making a list at the beginning, and working as hard as you can (5 days a week until 9, the other days until 6) to make things happen. FIRST is great to teach deadlines, because it takes them to an extreme which impresses the importance onto teams.

Good luck finishing up your bots, and I look forward to seeing you all at the competitions!

Matt Gardner
02-09-2007, 12:29 AM
Lol, my whole team is rookies, literally. None of us have worked on a FIRST team before, I don't know if our mentor has even been to any past events, lol. We are also a small team of about 10 students, so needless to say the work is sometimes slow. We are lucky that we have one veteren team in the area who can send us replacement parts and give us some guidance (or lend a mentor every so often:)) We have realized that a deciding factor in this competition is time management, and have worked through most weekends and stay past 5 or 6 every night. If we can't get into the school, we work outside (building the rack in -20C was an experience, thank goodness for hot drinks), and lately we've been pulling 9pm work sessions. Our typical day now is 7-8:20am robot work, period one class, work on the robot through our second period and lunch, period 3 and 4 classes, and then robot until 9. Actually, today I picked up a pizza and then went to the grocery store to buy drinks, and both cashiers knew who the food was for...is that a good or bad thing? And whoever mentioned the mark drop, it's very true. We can all eventually say with a straight face that a robot once took over our lives...

Anyway, we're hoping to get done on time, I figured out how to do autonomous today (I think) and we just need to, umm,
- finish/mount the arm and manipulator
- cover our ramps
- Put on all the parts that need putting on for autonomous
- Program autonomous (fun!)
- build our operator console
- build the shipping crate
- drive 2 hours to drop off the crate
- party until the competition
- (and by party I mean get our tshirts and banners made, then try to find money for a hotel...)

Well then, good luck to you all, we're going to need it, lol (or lots of energy drinks, hmmmm energy drink...) But I think we'll be ready, I just hope Waterloo is ready for Rambotics...

02-09-2007, 01:07 AM
I like to say we are in our 7th rookie year. Sigh.

02-09-2007, 01:15 AM
lol, that's awesome. Rookies, in honesty, just don't get it, so it's up to the veterans to help guide and push. Our rookies made the realization today I think, some of them anyway. This made me think of one rookie in particular though, on one of our first build days, he was the only rookie who stayed, he said out loudly "Six weeks is pleanty of time, they've given us so much time". We just said he was very optimistic.(Right now he's seen the ship date).

02-09-2007, 06:35 AM
..... but every day at 5 o'clock the shop is packed up and swept clean and everyone goes home. .....

At least they clean up before they leave....

02-09-2007, 06:54 AM
I like to say we are in our 7th rookie year. Sigh.

That statement sounds familiar. Every year the same mistakes are made again, and we have the same trouble pressing the importance of working more early on to the new members. Some are coming around now, but others...

02-09-2007, 07:42 AM
Ah, project planning... something that many teams forget to do.

There are a number of resources for FIRST teams that can help with this, but one that comes to mind quickly is MOEmentum (http://www.moe365.org/moementum.php) - it breaks down those 6 weeks for you so you can keep to some kind of plan and finish on time. Check it out and remember it for next year!

02-09-2007, 11:44 AM
Our team is still a rookie team but a couple of nights ago we finally realized how much work we put into our bot and how close we are to the competition date....it finally struck us that the past few weeks have gone by so fast...It seems like yesteray that we had just gone to the shop from the kickoff to brainstorm ideas for our bot...

02-09-2007, 02:50 PM
I'm a senior at the Illinois Math and Science Academy (a boarding school), and I got our team involved in FIRST this year. Unfortunately, there are only 9 of us here to make the whole robot, crate, controller, program, etc, and no one really knows what they're doing. We have no mentor, and our closest team is Wildstang, which is located an hour away. To make matters worse, we are not allowed cars on campus, so anything we need from places like Home Depot have to be acquired when we can find an adult to drive us there (which never seems to happen when we need it to). Plus, we don't have access to a lab except for 3 days/week for a couple of hours, so we have been using hand drills and a saws all for all of our parts.

We work every school day from 4:30-10pm and weekends and Wednesdays (we don't have school on Wednesdays) from 10am-10pm, but our progress hasn't been great. All we have is a chassis, electronics board, part of the ramps, and the arm (which is not yet mounted to the base).

When we got into this thing, we didn't think it'd take so much work, but I have no complaints because we've had so much fun and learned more than any class could have taught us. Making it to the Championship will just be icing on the cake because the way I see it, we've already won.

Good luck to you other rookies and veterans alike!

02-09-2007, 02:53 PM
Rachel, you are to be congratulated for even attempting this daunting task! As you rookies are discovering, and as any veteran team will tell you, IT'S NOT EASY! But the rewards are outstanding. Many teams are mentored long-distance. I have some suggestions for recruiting mentors for next year that I will send you.

Danielle H
02-09-2007, 04:40 PM
Here at 393 we meet everyday, Monday-Friday from 5:30pm - 8:30pm. We've split up into sub-teams, and we're all working on a different aspect of the team and the competition. We had a goal of being done, I think, by the beginning of Week 5 so that we could test for 2 weeks before we shipped.

But, here we sit, at the end of Week 5... still not done. It's not really a rookie problem, but it's more a problem that our team took their sweet time (the first three weeks) coming up with a design, and then still had to order materials.

Advice to teams: Have as much of your materials donated as you can, as get as many materials donated to you during the off-season as you can. This way, you don't lose money if you don't use the material, and you also have a pluthera of materials to choose from when it's time to start building. And... you don't have to wait for materials...

02-09-2007, 06:29 PM
It really is amazing what one season and one regional can do to a new kid on a team. It really lets them know what it's all about and gives them a chance to see just how big the FIRST world really is.

We try to instill this feeling from day one by showing some videos of old competitions and by keeping "spirit" high. We encourage kids to contact other teams and try to bring them along if we ever have to stop by another team to ask for help or see if they need any.