[LEFT]I am considering leaving my robotics team that I’ve been on for two years but im on the fence about it.There is a veteran team of 7 years in my area that im thinking of going to. I’m thinking of going to for a few reasons.
I dont enjoy the only adult team leader on my team,(he’s the type that yells and blames people in the heat of competition).We are a two year team with no mentor support and because of the weak mentor support we have been in the bottom 5 teams of a regional in both years we competed.Also I dont seem to enjoy FIRST as many others seem to do.
My reasons to say were that im the only Vet the team will have next year. I have a student leadership role in the electronics area. And I will be a senior next year so it will be my last year of first.
I came to CD to get an unbiased opinion so tell me. What would you do?[/LEFT]
If you believe the root of your team’s problems is the lack of mentor support, the solution should be to get some mentor support. Instead of abandoning a team that isn’t thriving, try to find a way to help it thrive. See if the nearby veteran team can help you with that.
FIRST is a pretty enormous program to take on for any one person/mentor.
Being that your only going to be a senior in high school, it must be pretty tough deciding what to do.
I cant imagine any senior being put in this predicament and trying to fix things. That’s what the adults/mentors/volunteers are for as you try to get the best positive learning experience (which I presume is the reason you joined). Ask your current leader to solicit support from either a neighboring team or try and find additional mentorship support.
I think we all have things we could share about life’s challenges and hardships. I hope you decide to stick with it and help your current team be better, no matter how you place in a competition.
You say your the only veteran on the team. To me that makes you a captain. And a captain should always stay with his ship. Whether it is floating or sinking, stick with it and keep bailing water.
I understand the allure of switching to a “more successful” team. However, I don’t think it is what you think it is. There is less to do on a huge team. As a newb to the team, you would probably be at the bottom of the list.
Besides, what makes a team successful? I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with ranking. It has to do with how much you learn and I don’t just mean about robotics. I mean about life. Right now, you have a hostile coach and a lack of people to refer to. Dealing with an annoying boss is part of life. I’ve kept a few coaches in line in my day, and I’ve had students keep me in line before. We all need that. Some coaches appreciate it while others don’t, all of them need it from time to time. If you don’t have enough mentors…employ more.
Also, think of it from a resume stand point. Being the team leader looks great on a resume. And the experience you gain is great for interviews.
Now, about the amount you enjoy FIRST. If you are not getting the enjoyment you should, change it. If you enjoy being busy(like me) keep yourself busy. If you feel your too busy, delegate more tasks. The experience you get out of FIRST is up to you to choose.
I honestly don’t see any reason you would switch teams. I’m the kind of guy that never runs from a challenge though. Maybe that is just me. But if 1766 is ever in need, I find a way to help.
Take a look at why you’re on FIRST. If you’re only doing it as a commitment and not for personal enjoyment/gain; then take another look at if you want to continue in FIRST.
Posting this thread on CD is a pretty good indicator that you want to stick with FIRST. Being at the bottom 5 in a regional doesn’t seem to be a reason for leaving your team, you should look at it as a reason for putting more into the team and getting results. No one is going to hand you an incredible robot and regional wins, you’re going to have to work hard at it.
From personal experience, I quit my team during my senior year because of disagreements with the teacher. Instead, I stuck with FIRST, started a FTC team and won 2 regionals with a world finalist. Even with that much sucess, I still look back at leaving the FRC team and wonder if it was the best choice.
As for joining the verteran of 7 years; go for it if you think you’ll get more from it. From my person opinion, regional wins and awards mean very little in the long run. I think you would gain much more from sticking to your own team (and playing the leadership role) then to assist a team that probably doesn’t need a whole lot of help.
You know your position better than anyone else, but I hope I gave you a bit to think about.
You need to use your own counsel. The mentors are supposed to mentor, not blame and they above all should support the team through anything.
It should be a positive experience and it sounds like the mentor has made that a challenge… from what you’ve said.
I’ve mentored three teams now and I know it’s hard to check your ego at the door. Still, I have memos from each team and I really treasure them.
This year will be your last “hurrah” so you have to chose for yourself. There is no formula for what is right or proper. Consider this though… how will you fit in with a 7 year vet team? You suddenly become a local “rookie” again. ( I considered working with a vet team this year, but my decision was, luckily , made for me. My old high school participated, so there was no doubt what I should do.) I have some experience to share, as do you. I have been part of FIRST since 1997 and was a regional director. As a vet you do bring something valuable to the party so that’s good.
Anyway, the point of FIRST is you. Winning doesn’t matter although it’s nice. Losing doesn’t matter although it stinks. Building a robot is not what it’s all about.
So how do you decide? You probably already know what to do. Just do it and have no regrets. At 56 I can finally say, life is too short to waste it being unhappy.
That all being said, if my team came in last at a regional I’ll still thank them for letting me be a part of it and we’ll still have a party to celebrate.
Anyway… good luck!
I have to disagree because I’ve been through a similar situation. There is absolutely no reason that you should keep yourself in an abusive situation.
Maybe I could understand if this was a job or if there were more at stake. However, this is a high school robotics team. It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things. It’s not going to affect what college you get in to, what job you get, etc.
In FIRST, you’re supposed to learn* and have fun. If either of these things isn’t occurring, leaving is a perfectly valid option.
*(Please no one start the debate between “learn” and “inspire”, I’m tired, this is a rough draft)
Shoot me a PM. I have some ideas for things in SE Michigan that may help you with you decision one way or another.
To all saying go down with the ship, remember this is meant to inspire and to be a learning opportunity. If a student recognizes that they are not getting what FIRST is about from their team, and they don’t know a way to get it, it can be Okay to switch horses. Please understand that the example you set by leaving is important too. I can think of three outcomes. 1 (Good) Loosing you could be a kick in the pants that tells the team leadership they need to ship up. 2 (neutral) That team may not care and may continue on as is. 3 (bad) It could also fold as you may be the glue holding it together. You have to be okay with any of those outcomes because once you leave, it is out of your control.
Another important thing to consider, especially since it is your senior year, is that you may go from being a captain to another person. Each year we take new Seniors in, but they will likely not make comp team and usually don’t make the cut for Pit Crew. This is usually because the fresh start is more difficult to gauge the students commitment. While you do have experience, the other team does not have experience with you. You could possibly discuss this with the other teams leadership.
Personally I think the best option would be to talk with the more experienced team and see if they are interested in an alliance of sort. Have them assist with mentoring activities in the fall. This is good for their team and your team. This will also help bond your team into a stronger unit when build season starts up. I think more winners will come out of this strategy, but it will take a lot of work on your effort.
Mentors can always use mentoring. If the mentor is aware of the negative impact that he is having and refuses to change, that is one thing. If the mentor is unaware of the negative impact he is having, that is another thing. He should be given the opportunity to learn about that impact and how it is affecting you.
Also, you can contact FIRST directly and ask for advice and suggestions. That brings FIRST into the loop, where they should be.