Making this website was so that we could learn and practice designing a website, while compiling what we have made in our conceptual unit. I had to complete an essay, 3 poems, and a haiku in English class; a conceptual photograph and artist statement in Design; and a piece of music, and this website, in Digital Media. This first unit, the conceptual unit, has really set me up for freestyle. Before this I have not really done anything artistic so I had to really think differently about these assignments to complete them well. Also, learning how to use all the tools that we will use on every other project was important and interesting.
My expository essay was made to explain how I feel about the FIRST Robotics Competition and how it is more than robots.
Long hours every night, doing intense equations to maximize efficiency, staying in the dark with nothing but the computer screen to light the room, while the “click clack” sound of typing echoes around as you code a robot, A room filled with guys with broken glasses and tucked in spotless white shirts jabbering about different equations and physics laws. This is how many people seem think members of a high school robotics team would be, however anyone who knows a FRC team knows differently.
Many people don’t know what kind of program FIRST Robotics Competition is and assume the aforementioned traits of the members, and yes sometimes long nights are pulled, and some members might not be the most socially fluid, however most members would not necessarily be someone you could single out in a crowd for being a “nerd” or “geek”. The only difference they have from “normal” people is a slight interest in mechanics, or code, or being a part of a non-sports team; and a little bit of spare time. The people who stay and come back to meetings time and time again are not jerks who always want to show that they are better, but people who want to be around friends and build a robot with them.
Making something you are proud of is something many people get hooked on, and because of the scope of the project there is always more to do. People who put time in get knowledge and experience out. Having mentors there to help you step by step and in some cases figure it out with you, is a great way to learn practical skills for any STEM field.
Once your team has built a robot you go to tournaments and learn why so many people do FRC. Being there and watching something that you labored over for six weeks compete is great, you see what you and your team did right and wrong, and you also get to see what other teams did totally differently to complete the same task. Talking of other teams, interacting with other teams is half of the tournaments. Walking around and seeing how other people dealt with the same challenge differently is really cool. Also just talking to the people on other teams and making friends with people who you might never have had the chance to meat is really cool.
Overall I think when people who look at a FRC robotics team and think “Oh that is a club where all the nerds go, I don’t belong there,” should really think again and try it out. They might just find something great.