Anonymous Testimony

This is a testimony from a friend of mine on how FIRST has changed his/her life. He/she asked me to post it so his/her identity would not be revealed. Who is not the important thing, this is just one case on how FIRST can permanently alter one’s life and change the way they think for years to come.

Disclaimer: poster’s opinions may or may not be reflected by the opinions of my own. Content is suitable for all ages. As always, No animals were harmed in the making of this post

In my three years of FIRST, I have grown as a person and as a student.
I’ve been taught so many various things, and gained so much more
throughout. FIRST has brought me so much more understanding to life,
and I’m so thankful.

When I was in my freshman year, I was a wreck. I had no goals in life,
and no desire to decide. I didn’t care much for school since I didn’t
do well in my classes, and in half of them the material was Greek to
me. I never really got any of it. My school is a magnet school, so I
was having trouble in the tough classes. I lost control of my life,
the reins were pulled out from my hands and I was dragged off every
which way. I had smoked briefly and only socially, but I had
endangered myself. FIRST and its values pulled me from that and made
me realize how stupid I had been. It kept me busy as well, and the
people I met that year changed me in more ways than I could imagine.

A mentor I had met the same year in FIRST had taken me under her wing
and shown me what I could do on the team, since I had no clue about
mechanics, electrical work, etc. Nothing was familiar to me in my
mind. She showed me that I could do so much more on the sidelines. I
had so much fun, she was amazing. The woman never gave up on me, and I
was and am still grateful to her. She’s wonderful, absolutely
wonderful. I could not have asked for a better teacher, robo mother,
and above all, a better friend. I send my eternal thanks to her for
her strength and love for FIRST. She has been an inspiration to all of

My team and I did not get along well. They had their own world, and I
never fit inside it. I was an outsider to them, and it hurt. I loved
FIRST, and I didn’t want to leave. Many a time I wanted to just scream
and run out, never come back to the trauma I felt there. I was an
annoying little freshman that was never accepted in their clique. The
guys were the guys. I was the chick that knew nothing of technology.
Most of the time my work was done to impress, not from the heart. It
didn’t come from my heart and soul until I was in my junior year.

When I was a sophomore, things hadn’t changed so much with my team. I
was still the outsider. I was still in pain from what I always had
coming at me. Snide comments, bickering, tantrums. It never stopped.
All I wanted to do was run. But FIRST kept me in my place. I kept
working, kept learning. I kept growing in robotics, and never felt
happier. When I was brought back to reality by my team, I would take
the words to heart, but keep going. I never backed down, even when
they wanted me to.

My team is so much better now. I get along so well now with them, and
life has not been better. I feel so happy in FIRST, like I always
have, but even better. I feel accepted and loved for who I am and what
I can do. Business work is so important, and without it, your team is
useless. It is not a team without it.

Nothing’s perfect, I realize that now. I realize that you do not
always get what you want in a group like this, and that will happen.
It’s guaranteed. All you need to do is take it as it is and go with
it. Strive for the best, all of you. Do not ever back down, even if
someone tries to keep you from doing your greatest. Push forward, and
do not let anyone stop you. I regret not having the strength I do now
to push myself.

I want to thank each and every one of you for giving me the best
learning experience I have ever had. I’ve loved being involved, and I
will never forget this experience, even after I graduate, ten years
from now, twenty, thirty, fourty years…I’ll still be remembering the
joy and lessons I learned from the most wonderful program I’ve ever
waltzed into…FIRST Robotics.

Barry, your friend learnt some of the very few sweet lessons of life. I guess by the time you graduate from a FIRST team, you are a totally different person, most of the time for the better.

To the anonymous person:

We all have stories just like you do. By reading your testimony I realize that there are a lot of us out there with stories like this. If there wasn’t FIRST, I don’t think I would be where I am now. I am thankful for what FIRST has offered to me and specially thinkful to those friends who have been there for me all the time. :slight_smile:

And students are not the only ones whose lives are changed by the FIRST program. I would never have chosen to become involved with teenagers except for joining my son’s team. WOW! I have learned so much and been so inspired by my interactions with the students on the team. I’ve loved watching the students grow into their roles on the team.

I think that had this program been around during my high school years (and had someone thought to invite me to join it) I would have been so much happier. Think about someone in your classes who might benefit by joining FIRST and invite them to a meeting. Maybe it’s the guy who doesn’t stop drawing in his notebook in class, or the girl who writes the best essays in English. What team can’t use their skills?