If You Could Start Over With Your FIRST Experience...

What would you do differently, the same, modify, or - change?

I’ve been thinking about this question for a little while and, as I do, the layers peel back a little at a time. One answer that I’ve come up with for my personal experience is that I wouldn’t have waited so long to find people who are storehouses of knowledge, experience, and an understanding/empathy that has practical applications.

What would you do if you could start over? :slight_smile:


I would have started earlier. Not joining as a freshman was the worst mistake I have ever made.

Absolutely nothing, seriously though. I’ll keep this one short and sweet compared to my normal contributions to posts like these - I’ve simply learned so much about everything from relationships to building a robot to finalizing what I want to pursue for my career to finding out what REALLY allows me to have complete fun from my first few years of FIRST since my freshman year. I would never trade the mistakes I’ve made with the physical robot or with people for anything else because those are the times where I’ve learned the most! I can’t wait for my senior year this year to sort of be able to share those same experiences ‘one last time’ with the little freshmen :]. So, to answer your question truthfully, I wouldn’t change a thing!

This is a tough question because it’s hard to figure out a situation in robotics that both had an important outcome later in my experience, and didn’t end up having a net positive effect on me when all was said and done. For example, when I competed in FTC my junior year, I could have built a better robot or spent more time in the design phase, gotten mentors, etc., but then I likely wouldn’t have been picked by the alliance I did. I wouldn’t have won the event, wouldn’t have been offered help by 1714, and wouldn’t have jumped into FRC.

So really, I can think of a lot of things I wish I did differently, but I wouldn’t change any of them if I could.

This year I learned to CAD…in April…of my senior year…so you can say that it was a bit late. I wish I would’ve learned it in my first or second year.

  • Sunny

I would have started a year or two before I did. I would have loved to learn CAD sooner rather than later. I wished I had spent less time in FRC during my junior and sophmore years. My grades dropped a little, I didn’t get as much out of my studies as possible, senior year was the only year that I stayed on top of my school 100%.

Other than that, it was great!

The only thing I could think of is that I should have been more involved as a freshman. All else was satisfactory in my view.

Be more involved in my freshman year and maybe started programing my freshman year. Not really that much.

I would have made much more of an effort to join the team in its rookie year when I was in 8th grade (2007). I had heard about the team from my FLL mentor (the founder, actually) and knew I wanted to be involved, however, the faculty member coordinating the program at the time was (and still is, although he no longer coordinate FRC at our school) pretty stringent on the 9th grade lower limit. Now our team has several 8th grade members, and I have encountered many other teams with younger members.

I think another thing is that I maybe would have tried to pulled some more of my peers into the program with me when I started, because now approaching senior year they have become more involved in other things or missed the opportunity entirely. Get 'em young, I guess…

I would say almost all of the things I would change are related to strategy or design decisions of various years and robots.

As others here have said, I don’t think I would change much in terms of the mistakes and learning experiences because they have produced positive results thus far.

As a mentor, there are certainly some things I would have done differently over the past 5+ years or so, but for the most part, I believe they have produced positive results as well, so its tough to pinpoint exactly what to change.


Sorry Jane, I can’t remember that far back.

I would have chosen a different haircut, because I’m not sure what the heck I was thinking in 2001.

Generally I have no regrets, but perhaps I would assist in running the team more rather than focusing solely on the technical aspects.

Over the past few years, there have been several emails that I did not send and should have, several tasks that I probably should have done earlier than I did, and several opinions that I didn’t voice. If I were to start over, I would listen to my gut feeling a lot more. I would send those emails, not procrastinate, and voice my opinions a lot more.

I would have also gotten involved earlier in my freshman year. I was really not into the whole robotics deal until the November and December before Kickoff, and I wish I would have jumped on the bandwagon sooner. I still had an incredibly productive, enjoyable, and rewarding season that year, but I always wonder what it would have been like if I had began going to work sessions in the beginning of the pre-season.

Overall, I would have put more of my ideas and opinions on the table and stuck with them. There were several times, especially this year, where I let myself get trampled on by the opinions of others, and I wish I had stuck with my points.

i definitely would have started freshman year rather than sophomore. robotics was definitely the best club Ive ever joined… honestly, its more like a family than a club. and i wish i could have found it sooner (: plus, it would have given me more time to learn java and discover my role on the team sooner :stuck_out_tongue:

i wish i was a bit more experienced now, and if i had joined earlier i feel like i would be… but besides being more involved… i dont think i would change anything about my experience (: so many great memories, and im sure many many more to come

I think if there was anything I could have changed, it would be my involvement in my freshman year. I did a lot of sitting around, and a lot of watching. I did end up on pit crew that year, just because I lurked around the pits so much. It did teach me a lot, but I think I could have learned even more, had I really dove into it and tried to explore, rather than just carefully observing.

As for the time past freshman year, I wouldn’t change much at all, except for a few small things. I would have liked to have a larger impact on the way my team is run. For the past season and a half, I’ve been seeing such great examples of genius ideas from other teams on CD, and then bringing those ideas to my own team and asking why we couldn’t do something similar. At this point, I’m now ready to take it one step further, and motivate my team to be the best we can be, and not follow and copy a team that I wish we were more like.

Finally, in going along with my previous point, I’ve almost made a habit out of saying more than doing. At the shop, or at competitions, I’ve been the one to push others along with words, rather than pushing forward with them in my actions, and physically doing the work with them. The old adage of “leading by example” is perfect here. I need to do much more of that in this coming season.

I agree with a lot of what was stated by AcesJames-I’d definitely try to be more involved in freshman year, because I ended sitting behind the at-the-time software members and watching them. (I got revenge by pointing out errors before they compiled.) That even kinda happened sophomore year, although I was actually given tasks.

I would definitely take the opportunity to do it again, though, simply because FIRST has been such a huge part of my life and it’s definitely changed me.

Just a thought here - never underestimate the power of observation or quiet learning. It takes all sorts of skills and talents to run an efficient and successful team and what you pick up/observe/learn may not be used (to your knowledge) during the current season but can be applied at a later time. (There are some excellent threads in CD regarding what the meaning of success is if anyone is interested in searching and reading, btw.)

Great posts, people - well, except for the old one, Al. :slight_smile:


This is a big one for me too. I joined in 10th grade and joined the team’s management the next year.

The extra year of experience would have definitely helped me while I was on management (in charge of the mechanical team) as I was still learning about mechanics this year while trying to lead the group.

Another one is not keeping up with my CAD modeling :stuck_out_tongue: More practice is better!

If i could do it again, I would have pushed to start a Team when i was a Freshman instead of a Junior. Ohhh, the missed opportunities.