What would you do?

You are halfway through your senior year of college. What stands before you are three classes, your major project (an autonomous robot), and FIRST. For the first time in your life you find that you are lost on what to do as the half way point of the year approaches.

You are an 8 year veteran of FIRST. You spent your first 4 years in highschool on a small team with tons of pride. You’ve gone through the hardships of inexperience, but you learn. You were the main driver all four years, and team president for 2 years. You’ve been ranked number one at one point during nationals your senior year, and are picked as alliance partners for the elimination rounds by the number two ranked team. You watch your alliance go down in defeat from the sidelines.

You become the head strategist for you team for a year. You become a mentor for high school students. You become a coach, and head of robot operations for your new college team for two years. You’ve gone to every elimination round since you’ve joined the team. You’ve won a regional, design awards, off-season tournaments. You’ve been respected by your peers.

Now you are trying to figure out what to do next. You want to take a step back to focus on the final half year of college, but are torn on what has become a major portion of life. You’ve dedicated to putting back as much as you have taken/experienced from this great program. You still want the chance to get that elusive national championship ( a daunting task). You want to continue to inspire.

What do you do?

Do collage. Keep tabs on FIRST, but if you screw up in collage, there’s no turrning back. Your done. But you can always come back to FIRST.

Collage. Do it. FIRST isn’t as important as doing you school work and getting a good job. Dean would want you to do that.

Finish what you started. FIRST will be there next year and you will likely be able to better contribute based on your experiences during your senior project.

finish your education at all costs.

I dropped out during my second year of college when I went into early labor with my first child in the middle of a concert I was singing at (I was a music major).
While I do not regret saving the life of my unborn child by giving up my singing career and a possible internship at the Met, I do regret that I never had time to go back and finish up a degree of any kind so that I had a backup.
I had no idea that my marriage would fall apart eight years later and that I would be facing a grim future in which I lost my kids and just about everything I had in a divorce (I couldn’t afford a lawyer). If only I had been able to finish my education!
Don’t end up with regrets and could have’s and should have’s like me.
Get your degree so that you will have a future! Please!

FIRST will be there when you are done.

*Originally posted by Miss Tree *
**finish your education at all costs.
Get your degree so that you will have a future! Please!
FIRST will be there when you are done. **

For instance, the job I got after divorce I juggled 3 people’s job cuz of their being sick or other reasons for long term. I got a $500 bonus. The new person, only doing one of the jobs, got paid much better than I right off the bat cuz of years at that kind of job.

I always did 3 times the quota as records analyst at Vegas Yucca Mtn Project.

Over and over others made @$10,000 more a year than I because they had a degree, even if it was a degree in Japanese history.

I tell my kids get a degree - forever after no matter what the degree is in, it will help you get a step up.

Life will always offer crossroads. Many things I did, arresting shoplifters, analyzing indexing records for Nuclear Waste, Catholic High School Youth Minister…all gave me skills I use today in life and robotics.

Much like FIRST has probably given you valuable skills for life and work.

Sounds like you need to take the time to concentrate on college. You can always return to FIRST, having been enriched by your time away.

Spending years at something doesn’t mean you must do that forever, or that if something you’ve done for a long time ends means the years spent doing it was a waste. Life is about change.

I agree with everyone else finish college. But I don’t think you have to give up FIRST altogether. Instead tell your team you still want to help but don’t have that much time this year. If your schedule is anything like my college’s you will have kickoff off. So you can help them design. I’m sure they would still want to take you to nats to see them win. So don’t worry, do as much as you can and I’m sure it will still mean the world to your kids. It might even make them feel better. I know when I was building and we got an engineer who we knew was busy but still showed up, even for 5 min., we still wanted there company. Good luck:)


Hey Deej!

For what it’s worht I’d go with your MQP over the FIRST experience for this year. What the others are saying is very true. You can always come back to FIRST and the experience you are going to get with your MQP can be brought back to FIRST and your newly found knowledge can be imparted on all those FIRST folks.

Also remember that once May rolls around you will have a whole new set of choices as to where to work/live and which FIRST team to work with or whether to start a new one!

FIRST is a cool thing…But doing the college thing is the RIGHT thing.

It will pay off better for you in the long run.

Good luck and hope to see you soon


Make sure you do your best in college. Put in your time, FIRST will always be there. FIRST is meant to inspire, obviously it’s done it’s job for you. Go on and show the world what FIRST has given you in in the real world. Show the World the meaning of FIRST. You deserve it. Treat your everyday job like FIRST. Enjoy it, dive into it, get it right. Good luck! I’m sure your example will live on with your team.

I think what you really wanted to ask, and what most people have answered is “What should I do?”. As I think back to college days, I suspect that what I would do is not the best choice for you or anyone. :slight_smile:

As everyone else says, you should concentrate on School. Of course, dropping FIRST will not really be easy for you. Whether you’re able to go or not, don’t plan on doing anything else on championship weekend except watching. It’s never easy to leave the things we care about. Balancing FIRST, work/school, and family time is a challenge for every participant I’ve known.

I’d recommend taking this year as an oppurtunity to volunteer at a regional, provide occassional advice to new teams in your area, or other non-team but vital service to FIRST at a level that your academics can afford. Lots of us have found that helping out on those years we’re without a team can be a lot of fun.

Your team may actually grow stronger by letting a developing leader fill your shoes while you are still relatively accessible for questions and advice.