Advice for Rookie You?

If you could go back in time, and tell yourself the most important thing you learned in all your time (or lack thereof) doing FRC / FIRST events.

What would you tell yourself?

(side note, I only ask because this is technically my first year doing FRC…)

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Ask questions; don’t be afraid to talk to “powerhouse” teams.

Get as active as possible, as soon as possible. One of my biggest regrets (only my second year of FRC) is me NOT going to champs last year. One of the other teams in my school district (1777) went to champs and was asking for other people to go with them. I didn’t realize how awesome of an experience champs was then, and I really regretting it now, especially with #2champs. Get out and just do stuff. That’s part of the reason I’m not on Chief Delphi and F4, it’s because I want to be part of the greater FRC community as a whole, and to help all of that as well.

Network more.

Follow the FIRST season that you don’t take part in.(watch other events, watch Champs)

Work hard on the team all year.

Teach new people your skills during and outside the season, practice your existing skills an learn new ones.

Every team is your ally, help them like you help your own team.

As a mentor: Find lots of mentors to help… with everything!

no, you don’t want to work in the pits. go scout.

Even though you may start off filing/sweeping/vacuuming/not doing anything with the bot, just keep going and be the best you can at whatever task you are given. If you don’t know ask your mentor or look it up. Just keep working hard. Eventually you will find what you like and become a leader in it if you work hard enough at it.

Sit down, try to focus and stop spazzing ouuuuuut but still always have fun, enjoy the time. The next two years will be the best ones you’ve had. You’ll gain a group of friends and… just wow get ready to have the best time of your life bro! Also an andretti racecar will win the 100th running of the indy 500 via strategy so stop railing on them

For your sneezon 2.woah. Keep reciets of all the parts you buy, yelling at people isnt a way to lead you’ll figure that out fast. The group youre with are the coolest group of friends and you’ll grow with them. Keep pushing for the triwheels, they will make the bot the one you want to be. AND FOR GOD SAKES DO NOT, NOT, waste a week of build sneezon researching where to make gears custom. Spend 2 seconds of research and go to vex moron.

Start learning cad now.

Don’t apologize for everything.

learn cad and labview early.
dont hesitate to ask a billion questions
go all in
give up trying to sleep before midnight during build season

I have three pieces of advice that would have really helped me my freshman year:

  • Don’t be afraid to try new things on the team, especially if you have yet to find something you’re truly passionate about.
  • You will get out of FRC what you put in to it.
  • Be the change you wish to see on your team.
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Although I am still technically a rookie, I’ll answer anyways. My answers are more geared towards advice for new rookies, but I hope not just rookies can learn from some of the things I experienced. Here goes it!

Hard work and long nights pay off.
-After weeks and weeks of long nights, delays, and problems, you might start asking why you are even still involved. Just keep doing the best work you can. When you see the robot that you poured 6+ weeks of your life in to at your event, on the field, it is one of the best feelings in FIRST!

Try your best, no matter what.
-While times may be tough, especially your rookie season, stay strong and try your best. The knowledge and experience you will gain from FRC is worth it.

"Powerhouse" teams are some of the kindest and gracious people you will ever meet.
-While they may seem scary with their large looming pits and many students and mentors, don’t be frightened! Much of what I know is gathered from conversations with members of 254, 1678, 971, etc. Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people and talk to them at competitions. I guarantee that you will learn something new.

Don’t be afraid to meet new people and build relationships.
-Similar to the above, always meet new people and talk with them. You will gain so much knowledge and wisdom from other people. Just from talking with people, I now can contact some of the most esteemed minds in FRC when I need help or have questions.

Take advantage of any opportunities you are given.
-Always take advantage of opportunities that are presented to you. For example, I got to experience so much and learn so many things my rookie year from taking advantage of opportunities like visiting other team’s shops, going to Champs, and just talking to people at events.

Clean up as you go, don’t leave a huge mess at the end of a build session.
-Many times this build season we would leave tools out after finishing a task and put off cleaning up scraps, putting away tools, etc. This then left a major cleanup at the end of a session, which no one wants to do at 9:30pm after a long school day. Something we learned was to have an ongoing clean up. This allowed us to leave faster after sessions and everyone was in a better mood!

Get a printer and make mechanical drawings.
-As one of my colleagues said in another thread, without a printer our robot probably wouldn’t have gotten finished. Using mechanical drawings allowed us to speed up fabrication of parts ten fold.

Help other teams!
-There is nothing better than helping to improve another team’s bot! We sent a team of students and a technical mentor to 253 at SVR to work on their robot so they could play their last qualification match. The feeling when our fix to keep their battery in worked was like nothing else.

Two things, both of which apply whether a student, mentor, or otherwise:

  1. No one comes to FIRST knowing very much about robotics. (OK, there are a FEW exceptions to this rule, but the point is that this is NOT an impediment.)
  2. Everyone who comes to FIRST has to learn something in order to achieve his/her potential. And **keep **
    learning. (There are NO exceptions here.)

"Powerhouse" teams are some of the kindest and gracious people you will ever meet.
Yes, but even if you aren’t a powerhouse, you can still exemplify gracious professionalism. Start helping other teams NOW, even as a rookie [team], wherever your strengths are.

Edit2 (hopefully obvious as I’m quoting forward):

As the old song says, “You can learn a lot from Lydia.” Even if you don’t get that, just pay attention to that’s going on. I’m sure you can still google this and find an old audio if you’re really curious about it. [Yes, it’s still all over the top of the links, with video.]

There’s more truth than poetry in that sentence.

Try CAD. it’s not so bad, and we could use some help.

Get involved with the community. There’s over 6000 teams from all over the world, and you’re one of the lucky 600 that get to go to a world championship where you can meet many of them. Talk to people.

There’s plenty of places to talk to FRC people online if you just look for them. Do it. You know you want to.

Talk to [Jared]. He’s really smart and he can help you a lot if you just grow a pair and talk to him. Ask questions.

Through robotics, you’ll meet some of the most caring, helpful, and skilled people you’ve ever met. Every moment is a chance to make a new friend and learn something new, so take the opportunity.

With all that free time you have, try walking around the pits and talking to other teams. Don’t know how to start a conversation? Try just asking about their robot. We’re very passionate people, and we love to talk about what our fancy totemachines do and why and how. You don’t know much about ours, but there is a lot to learn.

Pay attention to what Karthik says. The man has been doing FIRST for longer than you’ve been alive.

Dude, just stop worrying about…that thing. FRC people are very accepting, and they will be supportive. If you don’t tell them, you give up on that support. Don’t do that. They can definitely help you through whatever you’re going through, and it’s what you need, even if you refuse to admit it to yourself.

Don’t just resign yourself to being safety captain so you can sit down in the pit all day. The world is going on around you, and you came here for a reason.

Treasure your sleep. You won’t get any next season.

Start making friends with the Uberbots now. They’re great people and really friendly. You’ll take a liking to them very soon.

Trade for some shirts.

A lot of people are saying to “go all in.” I’d like to counter with my own experience:

Don’t get too involved. It’s your freshman year and there’s very few expectations of you. Help the team, yes. But since you may not always have a job at events, treasure your free time. By next year, you’ll be the only person on your subteam and you’ll have to keep the robot alive all on your own. Remember how events are fun and exciting, and a great time to hang out with your friends? Well, next year, you’ll be having fun in a very different way, and it’ll be far more stressful. You’ll be at worlds, running on a few hours of sleep, trying to make the robot work by the next match so the team can cheer for something. You’ll be the only person who can do this. At least five people will be looking over your shoulder and yelling at you like they know what you’re doing. Now is the time to enjoy FRC so that you don’t forget why you love it next year.

That got extremely specific and a bit ranty…

Welcome to FRC!

THIS INCLUDES MENTORS AND SENIOR STUDENTS. Some of the greatest opportunities to make connections and learn skills will come from your more seasoned peers or adult mentors. Every adult volunteer has an amazing background and resume, with countless things to explain/teach. Listen to them and take advantage of their knowledge.

Senior students will benefit from teaching you just as much as you will benefit from being taught. Listening to older students, asking questions, and working together not only helps you gain new passions and skills, but it helps them become better at what they already know how to do, and improve when it comes to sharing their knowledge with others. You’re doing both parties a favor when working with other team members, specifically the experienced ones that have been on the team for a while.

I actually just finished my rookie season! I would tell myself to try more things in the other subteams. Also, talk to other teams some more.

6237 team numbers, 3134 actual teams…

Sorry to be nitpicky, but I figured I don’t want the rookie collective us to be misinformed.

avoid chief delphi

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Too true.

You must spread some reputation before giving it to PayneTrain again.