I am working on a paper for english class and am wondering what things the FIRST community has brought you whether that is communication skills, teamwork, friendships, etc. I know that the FIRST community has brought me many things but I want to hear from everyone else.
I think a lot of us on CD, at least those of us with a few seasons under the belt resonate with many of Karthik’s talks.
Two threads to check out:
This year was my FIRST (pun intended) year, and it’s been an amazing experience for me. I had wanted to build robots since I started watching BattleBots at like 8 years old, and this competition has made this dream come true. Not only that, but it taught me what true sportsmanship looks like, and has taught me valuable lessons in being an overall good person. I would recommend this to pretty much anyone.
Are you looking for specifically the social community around FIRST or the experience of participating in FIRST?
I have gained a family of people where I find it very easy to communicate. I am far less afraid of opening a conversation with new people in FIRST than I am with new people outside of FIRST. I have also gained my best friends mostly through FIRST, wonderful people who work hard to make the world a better place.
It also taught me how to be a decent person, the value of giving back and volunteering, and that giving my own time to help others can be fun as well. I would say I was considerably more selfish before joining my FRC team, and I learned how to be a better member of society overall.
It also gave me the opportunity to move across the world and try out living in İstanbul, which was a childhood dream of mine, and it turns out was a really really good decision for me overall. I am a city kid, and there aren’t many cities as city as İstanbul on this planet (I don’t have a better idea of how to explain it than “city”). My supposition is that for me Tokyo is the only other city that would come close.
I also gained skills in public speaking. When on the team I struggled to talk in front of ten people at a time, and now I can get up and speak in front of 2000 (and do a few times a year). I got a lot of practice on the team, leading team meetings, and that slowly helped me get used to speaking in front of people.
When on the team I did a year in Design/Mechanical, a year in animation, and two years as the general manager of the team. I learned some things that are not things I want to do from FIRST - for instance due to being on the team I was curious so I took programming and electronics classes, and those were interesting, but are definitely not things I want to do. Before joining I wanted to be an architect, and after graduating I went and earned a degree in Architecture, so it didn’t change that part of my course, but after graduating college I walked away from architecture to do my current job (FRC PDP/Foundation President). I’m happy with life in general and very grateful for the skills I gained in FRC, which is why I am so adamant in expanding the program to give the same opportunities to as many students as possible.
The best opportunity I can imagine to help influence the next generation for the better.
More of your years in First but experience around the FIRST community would be great as well
Lots of technical knowledge. Also, experience with designing and building collaboratively.
More programming, teamwork, and organization skills than I’ve learned in 8 years of programming
I didn’t get to start in FIRST til my senior year, but I had been in robotics since Lego summer camps with the yellow RCX bricks in 2nd grade. I still have my original book! So I can’t thank FIRST for my love of robotics and STEM, but it helped me channel it into a passion, hobby and eventually a career.
Prior to doing FIRST I was torn between automotive, game design, film/radio broadcasting and web design. Our school district has a CTE center (I’d eventually teach here for 5 years) but those classes all gave me a great taste. The programming instructors pushed us to FIRST, Business Professionals of America and Skills USA. I fell in love with the first two and got to practice the stuff I had been doing at home and find a peer group that was the same as me.
Finding that was key. I could grow my social, leadership and communication skills because unlike in a regular classroom we all had a common topic and we were there by choice. I stayed on as a mentor after graduation because I loved it as a student just in that little taste I got that one year and haven’t left since.
I worked for a company called the Robot Garage for several years with Dan K. and many other people who are FRC alums, volunteers, etc. We would teach STEM skills with Lego, Minecraft, Arduino, etc. Being part of FIRST got me that job and got me into teaching semi-professionally. I also would do consulting work and take on jobs for robotics companies doing service work.
I stayed coaching the team and eventually landed a teaching job doing Mechatronics and eventually Java programming at the school. I did that for 5 years and through the worst of COVID. During that period I began work with a startup mobile robotics company and eventually left teaching to go do that full time. That company sponsors our FRC team and I’m still coaching the team despite being out of the district.
My whole career path and most of my work life has been directly guided and caused by my 1 year in 2013 with frisbees, pyramid climbing and the rest was history.
I gained everything from FIRST.
(This is part of an essay for school)
Even though I just finished my rookie season, FIRST has been a life changing experience for me and has given me many things that I would not have gotten otherwise. I am excited to stay in the program for the next three years and give back to the team that has benefited my life so much.
When people say that FIRST is more than robots they are telling the truth. This past season my team (and others) has not just been a group of people that I work with everyday, but a new family that supports me when I’m winning and lifts me up when I’m losing. There have been so many days where I wake up and go to sleep only thinking about how thankful I have to have these people in my life. My teammates are generous, talented, driven, smart, funny, and amazing friends that have given me experiences that I would thought I would never have. Together we are pushing the boundaries of STEM in our community and learning the true meaning of FIRST, which is making a positive impact on the world however we can. I know that whatever comes our way in the future we will be able to stick together and get through it as one team. I couldn’t be more proud of all we have done.
Beyond my new friends, FIRST has given me a purpose. I never knew what kind of person I was before I joined the team, but I know now. I am a good friend, who is always there for the people I care about and is always thinking of ways to make things better. I am an important member of my community, who makes an impact on my city by giving back and furthering STEM education for as many people as I can. I am a capable leader, who’s ideas and outside of the box thinking took my team to new heights this past season and paves a way forward for us into the future. And finally, I am a believer. Almost a year ago to this day I looked at my team and told myself: “I’m not good enough to join them”. Nowadays when I look in a mirror, I say: “don’t be afraid of failing. Be afraid of not trying”.
FIRST has made me realize that anyone can really make a difference, even when you think you can’t. I know now that I am good enough, even when I think I’m not. I have a sense of direction forward in life. I have a purpose to keep living for. I have something that has taught me it’s not being the best that matters, but being my best. Giving back to the community that has given me the power to realize my own dreams and potential. Working to advance my team’s mission of helping teens grow and learn as people. Being a teenager is not easy. But growing and changing as a person is the real gift of growing up. What is life if we end it being the same way we started? I wouldn’t want to live in that world. And we’re not doing robotics to just change the present. We are all creating the future together. I can’t think of anything that matters to me more than that.
People look at me now and they say: “that’s Asha and she loves robotics”.
ability to drink a water bottle in 10 seconds flat.
I could go on and on about everything, but the single most important one of my acquirement is an actual sense of community.
this and a scar on my elbow
this and scars on 3 fingers
Not to be a downer but PTSD