Anybody else burned out?

After 4 years of intense robot building, I am finally burned out. Don’t even want to think about another robot for quite some time. We spent a lot of hours building the Competition model then a whole bunch more hours on the Practice model this year. I think I had a Mechanical and Technical “surge” this year. I guess a lot of it has to do with the small number of talented folks we have that can design and build the robot each year. We only have 4 or 5 Adults who are capable machinists/fabricators, 2 skilled welders, 2 skilled Electronics folks, and no Adult programers. The students really stepped up to the plate this year, but the Adults that we do have sacrificed alot of personally to make the robot happen.

You don’t think about the things you are supposed to be doing in Jan & Feb because you are so wrapped up in this intoxicating project. But when the 'Bot is shipped and the season is finished in the blink of an eye, all the projects and chores you put off, come screaming forward demanding immeadiate attention. Then comes the guilt for putting stuff off or frustration because you have a race car that needs a lot of attention, more than any robot could ever dream of, and its the middle of the drag racing season.

FIRST is a worthwhile program to be involved in as an Adult mentor. But for me, it does bring its share of personal conflict. I really enjoy working with the Students, and have really grown quite fond of the other Adult members. I will always probably struggle with finding a balance between Racecars and Robots.
Do any of you other Mentors struggle with finding this balance? Maybe for us (Team 27), recruiting a few more technically skilled Adults and Students may ease the load.

Ok, just got back from a ride with my Dad in his 65’ GTO Convertable! That car is so sweet! I just finished making brackets for his Tach and his ignition box. Nothing like banging through the gears, foot mashed to the floor, 389 Poncho screaming… Man I love fast cars! I wish robots made the same roar my Race motor dos in my Camaro.

Anyway, man this post is geting long, sorry, I love FRIST. I love Drag Racing. How I’ll find a way to mangae both, I have no idea. Maybe I just need to spend some quality time in the garage and race track and forget about robots for a little while. Cuz’ you know when Jan 4/5 comes round’ I’ll be itchin to go gang busters again. I’ll never learn:rolleyes: :cool:

Yesterday I started flying my RC airplane again - something I hadn’t done since I knew what FIRST was. I’ve still got to fix all my RC cars and clean my room. Also, I have to get back to work in Inventor on that dang robot transmission for next year. It will be hella cool though.

Well this was my third year, and i am not burned out at all i eat sleep drink robot. My room is a mess and i get to use the excuse robotics. All i read ont eh interent is aobut robotics. its AwesomeI dont think it would be something i get sick of cuase i love doing it

Burnt out from Robotics?? No way not for me atleast…

IF I am burnt out from anything it would be from attending school for 12 years:), luckily I have one more year to go!!!

In my opinion Robotics comes first then school. Even my teachers probably think this of me…

I believe that I have gotten more out of robotics than any other class can offer…

I agree with brad. i can’t get enough of robotics. so many good times have been spent with my team building, at competitions, or doing whatever crazy things we come up with. FIRST has been the best thing that has happened to me so far. i have met so many new people and i have learned so much. i personally cannot wait for next year!!

*Originally posted by team222badbrad *
**I believe that I have gotten more out of robotics than any other class can offer… **

I don’t think I can describe it any better.

After 4 (four) years in robotics, let me say what a rush. I have been through the good times, the bad, and the weird. It’s not so much FIRST, but the people that can carry out it’s meaning. My mentors - Bob, Dave, Gary (to name a few)- have brought me so much joy in my life. They allowed me to go on to college. They have showed me what it feel like to truly be on a team. I have made great friendships on my team - not to mention the others among other teams. My mentors have been through hell and back. My first few years we had everything under control. Kids would fund raise, engineers would build robot, and than kids that had the $$ would go to regionals. About my 3rd year into it - the teacher left, the program was almost demolished, and we also lost our huge room. My mentors stuck through it - thick and thin - to make sure kids had something to do. In my 'hood, people here are all blue collar. They think they have to dislike their jobs and work long hours just to make ends meat. These mentors have given them, as well as me, a future.

I am no where near burnt out. I still have at least 5+ years in me. I realize that I have never been on the mentor side, but it feels so good when you over come that problem that some people think you can’t. It feels good when you have people looking up to you and when you help others. I don’t think that I can ever get over that feeling that I have had over the past 4 years. I’ll never forget - in 2001 - we went to VCU. We had a new code that we wanted to upload, but our head programmer was going to meet us a day late in VCU. Well, we uploaded it, and nothing happened. Our arm moved - but that was it. Well, I looked over the code, did a few cut and pasts - and viola. I had a program that allowed us to compete. I will want more kids to experience that feeling - that rush - of showing leadership even from a student side.

What I am basically saying is that I think it all depends on your reactions with FIRST. Mine have been as smooth as velvet - even at times it seemed like the road was yanked from underneath us. I have and always will be involved with FIRST. Even if it is just through these forums - or actually starting a team my self - I will hold up the Honor of being a FIRST precipitant. It’s just too important for me to just ignore it after the best 4 (four) years of my life

Thank you FIRST, my mentors, the volunteers, and students. I shall never forget any of you. You are what make FIRST this awesome organism that will continue to interest kids in science and technology! THANK YOU!!

*Originally posted by team222badbrad *
**In my opinion Robotics comes first then school. Even my teachers probably think this of me…

I believe that I have gotten more out of robotics than any other class can offer… **
You said it Brad. Some people will say you won’t succeed with an attitude like that, but in my opinion that is HOW you succeed. School is not about learning in classes, it is about pursuing your interests and beliefs. Time management also plays a big role in that as well. You should not be afraid to spend a lot of time doing what really makes you happy and what you might see as a future for yourself.

Robotics promotes independent thought a great deal more than school does.

Without robotics, it’d be impossibly hard to remain sane.

*Originally posted by Ryan_team710 *
**Well this was my third year, and i am not burned out at all i eat sleep drink robot. **

Wow… that sounds exactly how I was one year ago. I had no life, I gave up soccer… gave up Girl Scouts, and almost gave up dancing school after 12 years being involved. All I did was Robotics… even when I went anywhere with friends… it would only be robot friends… and we would only discuss upcoming events/competition.

However, now with graduation rapidly approaching… I sit in a very weird spot. I love FIRST, I love Robots, and I love everything that the program has provided me. I know have to make decisions… make fast money, and get through college. I really look forward to working with 222, and hopefully helping them greatly with competition intelligence… but then on the other side… it has killed me to see my driver position go… :frowning:

Don’t get me wrong here folks, FIRST is a great and inspirational program for both Students and Adults. I have shared many cool experiences and learned a lot about myself. I am very appreciative of the oppurtunity I was given 4 yrs ago to join this team. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. However, as an active and creative adult, I have other interests besides robotics that need just as much attention.

I donot have a wife or children of my own yet. Family adds a whole different set of responsibilities that I don’t have to deal with. But having a Race car and a house to take care of is a lot of responsibility. It is hard to devote so much of my life to just one thing.

As young adults, it may be easier for most of you to juggle school and FIRST. However, if you also play a sport besides doing robotics, you will also understand the tuff chioices you have to make. In fact one of the students this year had to miss going to Texas because she had a soccer tournement at the same time. Unfortunately, we only have 24 hrs in any given day, and can only accomplish so much in that time. Ideally we should make the most of the time we are given here on Earth, but sometimes you can only do so much before you have to stop and take a break for a little bit. Besides as some old Greeks used to say about 2500 yrs ago, “Know thyself; and Moderation in all things” (little maxium I learned in Philosophy many moons ago).

Robotics is cool. Racecars are cool. Houses are cool and a necessity. Sports are cool. I could go on and on. There is so much to do in life, don’t be afraid to try as many things as you can. And try not to over do it in one area. You don’t want to ruin the pleasure you derive from it… :cool:

I am definitely not tired of robotics and I don’t think I ever will be. I’m just kind of bored because there isn’t anything happening right now. The CD boards are dead, my team doesn’t meat anymore, we have no more events till Oct, no one e-mails me, no one calls me. FIRST really needs to have more year round activities; off to Tigerbolt I guess - but even that has become boring. If it wasn’t so costly I would suggest the competition be twice a year; but it’s not.

So, here I am with all the post comp boredom. At least I’m not alone.

Yea, I guess I’ve been deemed a FIRST-a-holic college student. And at the rate I’m going… I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to burn out eventually (like others have before me). But it’s an addiction, lately, every evening I’m posting on these forums, doing something Blitzy, or talking to people online… it just happens. I don’t mind it at all, and it’s an addiction because they are all friends and interesting people… but at times it gets a little tiring and repetative.

I have recognized the symptoms, there are just some days when I have to talk about Robotics at some meeting and the words don’t seem to want to leave my lips, it gets too time consuming, takes away some free time and whatnot… but I have developed a few preventative measures because I never want to be “too sick of FIRST.” I enjoy it too much.

What do I do?

  • Remove myself from all civilization. Computers, go somewhere with no cell phone service… just GET AWAY for a few days and rejuvinate myself (usually done by backpacking and winter camping)
  • During build I designate a time or day of the week to keep to myself (usually fridays) when I get housekeeping things done and blast some classical music
  • I do other little things. Sometimes just ignoring AIM and sitting in a park helps keep my mind refreshed and new.

So what am I saying?

I guess variety is the best way to go, a little of both keeps you active with both. Never forget your other interests and activities. People on your team will recognize that your burned out and help you out as best as they can. But keep in mind… if you are the person who’s soley responsible for a team’s success, and you’re worried that if you step down, that they won’t have such a good machine… that you might be missing the point;

It’s healthy for a team to have it’s good and bad years, as long as the vast majority of people are improving themselves along the way. For a strong leader to give up a little power because they feel burned out is fine. Accept help from others, but remain involved… no team would want to loose a strong leader completely. Because although you are not in charge, you’d still be there to offer guidance, AND you’d have your own life back… and life would be roses :smiley:



I suppose I can be the first one to answer with an affirmative. I’ve been burning out every spring since around 2001. This just was my sixth year in FIRST on four different teams. I did three years as a high school student and three years as a mentor.

Hands down, being a mentor is much more stressful than being a high school student. Why? The mentors tend to carry much more responsibility than the high school students (I’m sure I’m going to get several dozen replies from high school students saying they carried a lot of responsibility and I’m sure they do; this is from my meandering experience only). This added responsibility has driven me to burn out ever since I started as a mentor.

Now, it’s important to notice that while I do get burned out, I’m always involved next season (and being involved usually means I’m helping to direct RIT’s involvement in FIRST). How do i do this? I generally spend the spring completely ignoring FIRST. Most of the summer is spent in a similiar fashion. This gives me enough time to recover from the season in order to be in a position to participate next year. This obviously works for me as I’m still involved with FIRST and plan to be next year (for the past three seasons I think I’ve claimed that that would be the last season for me but it hasn’t happened; I finally gave up on claiming that this past year).

So there are ways of working through burn out. The best is to simply not worry about it for a good part of the year. FIRST consumes enough of my life for part of the year that I really need a break from it for a significant part of the year.


*Originally posted by weedie *
**it has killed me to see my driver position go… :frowning: **

Coaching is more fun anyways! :smiley:

Not quite yet, But I’m pretty sure I’m getting close, I’ll have to wait till college to see what happens


I see what you mean about burnout, but it has not hit me yet. I see many people go through this.

From my experience as an adult mentor, I think that FIRST is more manageable to do if you are “settled down”. In my case, my life was pretty chaotic until I got married and started having kids. This marriage forced me to give up the things that made my life chaotic (playing football, being in a band, golfing, travelling around the midwest every weekend to see friends).

While FIRST is a difficult job to do, it is very predictable. I can tell my wife and my boss that I will be elbow deep in a robot in February and I will have some weekends away in March and April. They both know that this is coming and they support me in this effort.

If I were single and did FIRST, I would probably not have the wisdom to give up the other things that would make my life more chaotic. I really respect all of the college students who are FIRST mentors, for I probably would not have the discipline to stick with it if I were in their shoes.

Just my opinion…

Andy B.

After two years, I"m not burned out, but that"s due to a mix of A)Not having time for emotions like motivation and B) A resposibility to the others on my team. After one year on a rookie team, I started another rookie team and me teamates and I put out quite a bit of effort to make something that would move (it actually only moved about 30feet in the entire regional, but it launched crates in practice). We had one student with a year experience, one engineer who used to program graphics cards, a devoted frosh and soph, and about 10 other people who showed up once a week. After about a week, the core group learned tat school is secondary, but this took a bit of a toll on our grades. The others knew to stop when one of their grades dropped a letter grade (10 %age points) but I couldn"t because other people needed me, so each of my classes dropped at least this much.
Do I have the initiative to go play with the EduRobotics kit up in my rom? Not in the least.
If a future-frosh called and wanted to play with it? I would drive it over to their house and teach them everything I knew so they"d be more prepared for next year(note:To put this in perspective, I"m too young to legally drive).

So the fire in me may have been blown out, but the fuel in there is still ready, waiting for the fire of another robot nerd.

*Originally posted by Andy Baker *

WOW! You are the first husband that I know that gave up golfing!! Wow! Good stuff (that sport isn’t a sport - try hockey! :smiley: )

I’ve felt burnout. I’ve been there and I never want to go back.

Andy’s very correct - get the rest of your life in order, and FIRST will follow suit. I’m taking a year off from being completely dedicated to a team to do just that- but we all know that my heart belongs to team 1020, and I’m sure I’ll be saying all this ‘taking a year off’ stuff, and then get sucked right back into it for next year.

Well, this is something that I never thought I’d see myself saying, but I really do feel burned out by FIRST. Not so much the program, and the robot building, but the organizational and team aspects. I love building robots, and I’d keep doing it forever if I could, but the experience I had with my team this year really put a damper on my enthusiasm. After all the drama of organizational meetings and power struggles with a few underclassmen, I feel totally drained. One of my best friends found herself fighting half the team all season, and it just really drains the fun out of things. I hope to be able to return amicably some day, but for now, I’m just too tired of it all to keep going.