so… i had to write this essay for college writing. it’s a college application essay and i intend to actually use it. i would be happy to have any and all comments (good or bad) since this will most likely make or break my chances at a prestigious college (vanderbilt/drexel). i did use some quotes from this site. thanks.
Imagine living life on the edge and having a constant adrenaline rush. Well, that is what FIRST does to high school students like me. For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, is a competition that puts man and machine on the same team. My team and I recently competed at the Motorola Midwest Regional. That experience drastically changed my life. Six weeks of sleepless nights and long weekends paid off with a second place finish. Stepping onto that playing field may have been the single most exciting time of my life.
My team and I spent six long, difficult weeks designing, building, and perfecting our robot. Our robot was about 98 percent student built which accounts for everything but the manufacturing of critical parts and the CAD drawings. That forced many of us students to arrive at home late, sometimes well after our bedtimes. Four meetings a week leaves very little time for actual sleep. Three days in mid-March were dedicated to this “national championship preview.” This year the Midwest regional had many great teams to offer. They included a team that has won three previous national championships and would eventually win this year’s championship. The energy in the arena was awesome. High school students were dancing, screaming, and chanting. Of course, I was one of those students that were always energetic. After every win I screamed and danced like it was the last chance I had to do this. Even after our losses I smiled, knowing that we could always learn from our mistakes. FIRST strongly promotes gracious professionalism. Gracious professionalism, in my own words, is helping others in a professional manner and to show willingness to work hard for what you want. I live by this expression and so do many others. I help others whenever I have the chance and I try not to judge. As one great FIRST’er once said, “Remember those two words people: Gracious Professionalism.” I am relentless in what I do. I never accept failure. If I do not get accepted to my preferred college or university, I will try my hardest to get accepted to the next best college or university. Well our hard work did pay off.
When I stepped onto the playing field in Chicago, I knew this was it, make or break, we had our best robot ever. As back-up operator I had the chance to drive in three matches. One of which we won and the other two were ever so close loses. Every mistake that was made we learned from. Each loss brought on a new strategy that led us to success. Making mistakes is a normal and essential part of life and FIRST. The mistakes may have helped us win silver more than the actual wins did. When our team ran down the stadium stairs we all felt rushes of adrenaline. The stadium erupted in chants of “648” and it made me so happy. As the judge placed that silver medal around my neck I felt as though I was going to burst. My heart was racing a million miles per hour and I still could not believe we had won silver. Just as I had done for other teams in the past, others were chanting our names for a change. That really opened my eyes and now I know that there are others like me. As Heidi Foster of team 116 greatly put it, “Winning a competition is great, but seeing kids who never thought they had a chance before suddenly discover a brand new future would be the most amazing experience.”
Our success could have gone further. We were so close, but in reality we were farther than we had thought. As driver and co-captain I felt responsible for some of our success and failures. While driving I damaged a main component of our robot. Although it was fixed, it was a major mistake I learned from. I learned that I need to be more careful and watch what I do. While competing we defeated the best of the best. Those three time national champions that I mentioned were defeated in the semi-finals by us; they were also part of the number one seeded alliance entering the elimination rounds. In the final round, our alliance was defeated in two matches. Those three opposing teams made a great alliance that was able to play the game using every aspect. Our largest mistake may have been not being aggressive enough in that one match we played in. Although this was not a failure, I still feel like it leaves a void in my FIRST career that I will be aiming for next year: Gold.
FIRST is one of the greatest organizations and has changed nearly one hundred thousand students in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Spain, and Puerto Rico. I am one of those students. I have learned teamwork, dedication, and most importantly, gracious professionalism. This experience also inspired me to change my career choice. Instead of being an orthopedic surgeon, I want to combine medicine and engineering to become a biomedical engineer. That way I can combine the best of both worlds and find a way to teach others that compete in FIRST, whether with my current team or a new one. FIRST has inspired me to be a better person and I hope it will continue to inspire many more students.