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  #91   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2009, 08:55 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapolavery View Post
AMEN
yea im a graduating senior.. and the juniors and other advisors are asking whos gonna come back..

its pressuring to come back bc you wanna instill that enthusiasm you had into those underclassmen who are gonna take over the team.
You have already instilled enthusiasm in the underclassmen who will take over the leadership and direction of the team. The team will find a way and adjust to change. You have done your job as a student leader.

The students who graduate and move on into life after high school, take on a new role and that is as a role model of possibilities, opportunities, and facing new challenges. It is a shift away from the role as a senior on the team, sometimes very subtle but very powerful.
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Unread 04-03-2009, 09:56 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I also am coming from a different place than a lot of you. I am attending community college, to save money by living at home. This particular community college has very little to do Extra extracurricular.

I have started helping my old first team but because i have a job that works almost weeknight i cannot help much but on the weekends or occasionally if i get out early i will go help. Instead i have found a different role on the team that many of the mentors who work a regular first shift day cannot do. I have been picking up materials and parts, and also occasionally dropping them off to get machining. This has brought me back and helping my team in a new and in some cases more important way.

The fact is I have very little actual designing and building experience that cannot be provided to the team by another mentor. (although i would take extensive time absorbing other teams designs at competition, so i can bring back ideas from other teams from previous years, that other mentors cannot recall) But instead i took the one difference that i had over the other mentors, and am using it to provide for the team in a completely different way than our team has ever had.
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Unread 04-03-2009, 10:49 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

While in the army and college I'll do my best to find a nearby team and drop by a couple of times to help. I'm thinking that I will be more of a programming/team&project mangment mentor, because I believe those are the areas I touched most in FIRST and will probablly continue in college.
Oh, and training the drive-team too.

First year in the army I probablly won't have a lot of free time so I'll do volunteering work for the competition (tech support, field reset, or if given, referee).
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Unread 04-03-2009, 10:50 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

As a freshman in college now, I know I don't have much to support whether or not it is a good choice to mentor but I can give my 2 cents on how I made my decision and where I stand today.

I, am still a part of FIRST, I'm not a head mentor nor just a volunteer. I chose to join the FIRST program provided by my university.There is no doubt that everyone who has posted on this thread like D.J., Genia, and Joe have very very important things to consider when deciding whether or not to mentor, and quite honestly I read this thread more than twice and even started a thread with questions regarding FIRST after high school. It depends on what is right for you, but don't forget that college is a whole different ballpark coming out of high school. Even after reading threads, talking to friends who are alumni, and convincing myself that college is going to be a lot harder (more so as a first year engineering student), I was still shocked at how stressed I was getting in my first semester.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurenlacy View Post
college FIRST programs, when well organized, can actually help you in many ways.
Like Lauren said, there are colleges that have FIRST programs. In fact some may also offer classes that count as college credit just as the Purdue FIRST program does. My first thoughts when I found out that there was a class offered for FIRST; I thought, "Cool, I can stay involved in FIRST and it'll be a class that counts for a couple credits." Which to me was a wonderful thing. If a college does have a FIRST program take Lauren's post and realize that it will be just as fulfilling if not more as it was in HS and can help you out in the future through connections made on a larger scale.

If however there is no program and you're looking for a local team to put under your wing, please please please weigh out your pros and cons and don't go easy on yourself on the cons section just because you love FIRST. We all love FIRST and every senior who leaves the shop for the last time feels like they're leaving a bit of their lives behind. But but just as many said, you dont have to mentor to stay involved. When you need your fill, go and volunteer when it lands on your break, go to kickoff with your old team when you're home for the winter, go on chiefdelphi, and use gameday.
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Unread 04-03-2009, 02:28 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

One thing I do find interesting is the number of Purdue FIRST mentors that have posted here, I believe this speaks well for their program. While I will agree that joining an established program such as PFP is easier than going out on your own, there is still plenty of stress and work involved. One of the largest benefits of an established program, as stated by others is ME 297F, a class offered to FIRST members at Purdue which as an MET major I was able to use for credit toward my degree. I joined PFP when I was a sophomore in college after taking my freshman year to enjoy and adjust to college. I have made some lifelong friends as a college mentor. Here is my hindsight of 2 years mentoring while trying to balance college.

In 2006, one of the Purdue teams was just starting out, even with super stars like Flo that season to help us out, a group of 8 college mentors burned themselves completely out on FIRST only I returned the following year, since then only one other mentor has returned. After a lot of soul searching, I decided to return for that second year with none of my fellow mentors though some great new mentors joined the team that year. I took on a very large role due to lack of a teacher sponsor and everything suffered, while I had found the balance and was able to maintain my GPA that was about it. I was so incredibly stressed out that year and slept so little my body was a wreck by the end of that season. One of the wisest decisions I ever made in both my college and FIRST career was to take my senior year of college off from FIRST and only volunteer at a regional over spring break. I donít regret my decision to be a college mentor especially when I watched my college team this year win EI at BMR, just the look on their faces and hearing about their best season ever makes me proud.

The kids I mentored as a college student are now seniors in high school and have to make their own decisions this year. Some I believe are up to the challenge of mentoring while others are not, I believe in each of them that they will make the right choice for them.

To all high school seniors and college students looking at mentoring; it is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears but remember you and your future comes first. If you do decided to mentor make sure that you have support and never be afraid to ask for help; that was my biggest mistake trying to do too much myself. Keep in mind that a night off from build season to study for an exam probably wonít mean that the robot doesnít get done but it could very well be that key night that gets you an A on that test that opens the gateway to your future.
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Unread 04-03-2009, 03:12 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I'm going to college next year after two years in FIRST. I currently plan on mentoring the team, since I played a large part in this season and I don't know who we'll have on the team next year. I hope I can train some people over the summer to do the jobs I performed this year, and I'm confident in the resiliency of the team, which is why I'm going to mentor over the summer and over my Christmas break, then go to the Saturday portion of the Buckeye regional -- mentoring won't interfere with my class work, as much as I want it to.
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Unread 05-14-2009, 03:10 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I'm back.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by miscall View Post
As a Junior, I'm just starting to really worry about college, but I know one thing for sure: There is no way I am going to give up FIRST. One of the main criteria I have while looking for a school is if they have a connection to FIRST or not.
FIRST is a program, an ok program with it's own problems and rewards. And it sounds like your in a relationship with it like a girl. Ever heard of the saying "Everything changes in college" or the concept you NEVER want to go to the same school as your girlfriend? Same thing applies.

Plus, do you love FIRST unconditionally, or do you love your team, the friendships, or other things you can get from other college appropriate programs?

And to throw this in, I know quite a bit about the Purdue FIRST program, and while well laid out, it isn't full of faults and it's own problems. This thread starter was part of Purdue FIRST when he got into problems. And others have done the same. It's more like sun screen, it's protective, but not preventative. Don't sit in the sun too long and ignore your school work or social life.

As for me? Well I'm at my co-op again and resting some and got caught up in the FIRST History thread and decided to pop my head in here....
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Unread 03-22-2010, 07:41 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

As a high school student, I served as my team's captain-manager, pit captain, and lead mechanical and design student (among other roles). I'm currently a freshman mechanical engineering major at Penn State's Schreyer Honors College, and I made the choice to mentor for FIRST in the 2010 season. Not just any team either, but my high school team, which is just over a 7 hour round-trip bus ride every weekend.

I read this thread as a high school senior, and at the time thought 'you know, I should probably take freshman year off from FIRST'. When push came to shove though, I came back. I haven't decided whether it was the best choice, but I certainly don't regret it. By our second and last regional, I'll have logged something like 330 hours and 4,000 miles (not to mention more money than I'd like to calculate on bus tickets). I admit it's certainly limited my extracurricular college experience this term--I've spent a grand total of 1 weekend on campus since mid-December. It also hasn't made studying any easier, especially with 1.5xs the minimum credit load this term (19 semester hours, 13 of them honors; minimum 12). I'm managing to maintain about a 3.9 though, and still take off Fridays for regionals. It's not easy and it might even be a mistake, but--for now, to me--it's worth it.

I don't recommend this course. Not because I don't enjoy or value it (obviously), but because I think the people who truly want and can handle it will do it themselves without any recommendation (I know I did). In my experience, this is something everyone needs to decide for themselves, but realize that academics have to come first. FIRST mentoring won't pay the bills.
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Unread 05-31-2010, 10:40 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I'm reviving this to remind 2010 graduates that they should think twice and recognize the change from high school to college.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 11:04 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I'm only an a lower class student, but it's OK that you don't have to come every weekend. 1529 had a college student, but he was rarely here, due to homework, etc.

It doesn't matter whenever you're here all the time, you're still contributing to the team anyway.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 01:38 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

Quote:
Originally Posted by bam-bam View Post
I'm only an a lower class student, but it's OK that you don't have to come every weekend. 1529 had a college student, but he was rarely here, due to homework, etc.

It doesn't matter whenever you're here all the time, you're still contributing to the team anyway.
For all of the college students who do choose to help out on occasion: Although coming to meetings whenever you are most free is easiest, it may make things difficult for those in charge.

If you are still getting acclimated to the college environment and/or you are especially busy, pick only one or two days that work for you during each week of build season. Let the leaders know that they can expect you to be there on those one or two days. It will add consistency to the team, and make it a LOT easier for the leaders to plan for both mentor and student tasks from day to day.
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Unread 02-20-2011, 04:13 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I Started my first year of college and am also mentoring a team its a huge balence but I think it all mostly come to who you are and how much you can handle. For me I was able to still continue my studies and mentor with a full load in college pretty well. Although im very glad I came back Ive had alot of fun so far. You really have to know yourself and how much you can handle.
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Unread 04-15-2011, 01:05 AM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

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I can't spend my life listening to professors babble through equations full of Greek letters then go home and struggle through books full of stuff that the professor was too lazy to mention. I can take it but I can't drown myself in it. There's got to be more for me. I've got to just go out and build something every once in a while.
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Unread 05-28-2011, 06:53 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I agree with this. My major is TV and Vidoe Perduction and studying for it in Milwaukee, WI. Haveing a job, plus school work and then also doing stuff like
FLL and FRC stuff it. It can be stressfull at time but also is a good thing to be working with people that you know, but sometimes its a good to have fall back on just to and have fun or just go talk to people that have the same intrest as you do. I mentor the team that i been on for 3 years now. This was the first year that I couldn't really help out the team as much as I could in years past, due to project that I have done. Over all I try my hard to stay in contact with the team.
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Unread 05-28-2011, 09:12 PM
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Re: Attn: Present & Future College Students, Think carefully before you mentor

I found this thread a year or two ago and really appreciate the advice contained within. I'll be majoring in comp. sci. at a college halfway across the country [LeTourneau U] starting in August and am considering what steps I should take to stay involved with FIRST. FIRST will be in my life no matter what, I just have to decide how and how much.

I'm planning to lay low my first year but am still hoping to keep in touch with my team back in Oregon, help out where I can with organization and so on, mostly in the off-season. You know, the occasional email: 'How's the NASA grant application going? Is recruitment up? Time to book hotels for regionals!' and so on.

I know this could change when I actually get to college and am floundering in coursework, but I have a dream. Longview is a town of ~70 k people, with several public and private high schools, yet there are no FIRST teams in the area. I envision students from LeTourneau [an engineering and aviation college] working as junior mentors to a team based at Longview High School, funded by one of the several manufacturing and technology corporations in Longview, and under the wing of LeTourneau faculty.

I know this is a far-fetched dream, but I have seen so many amazing things happen with FIRST that I think it's possible. Last night I contacted all the STEM teachers at the high school, mentioning the idea and asking what their input it. So far one has responded with interest, and said [to my excitement] that the school had done VEX in the past.
I'm concerned that the team be well planned, starting at least a year in advance [guess I should head over to the new-team forum to ask if this is long enough], and that the team not be so dependent on any group of LeTourneau students that it folds when a class graduates.

I particularly appreciated Eric's comment about mentoring in the off-season being a better plan than doing so in build season.

People who know me say that if anyone can mentor a team in college, I can.
This year I started seven FLL teams in my town and mentored two of them. Coaching those FLL kids was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, if stressful at times. I think this bodes well for my future as an FRC mentor, although I know the difference between starting an FLL and and FRC team is exponential.

My biggest asset to my FRC team has not been technical, even though I was lead programmer this year and loved it; it's leadership, organization and ENTHUSIASM. I'm so far from being burned out on FIRST, it's not even funny, but I think a year off to regroup and plan further schemes to conquer the world through FIRST is a good idea.

Thank you all for your advice.
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Virtual Team Forum JVN General Forum 56 06-15-2003 01:17 PM


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