There are many things to learn from doing FTC, especially if you have never done robotics before. It ranges all the way from knowing how to build a simple robot and programming, to learning many life skills such as teamwork and problem solving. Many of the lessons you learn are often just by making mistakes and then realizing how it should have been done. Especially if you don't know much about this area of engineering, you learn A LOT of important assets that can start you off on an engineering career pathway.
I expected FTC to be a lot like FLL, just no presentation. I didn't know we had to do the engineering notebook. In the beginning, when we started learning about FTC, I figured out it was a lot more than just a robot competition. I started questioning if I should do it or not, since I had a lot more extracurricular activities, but I still decided to do it because it would be a fun experience for me and I would learn a lot of fundamentals that I could use for other purposes. Now, after 5 months, of FTC, I realized it wasn't as confusing as I thought it would be in the beginning. After experience, I think overall FTC is fun to do, but I also learned a lot in the process.
In the beginning, when I first joined the team, it was intriguing because I didn't have any past experience with FIRST. I wanted to learn how to cooperate with the team, and how we could make a robot out of screws and channels. And even though we had to work long hours sometimes, I think in the end the final outcome was worth it. I learned about the value of teamwork, and how one person can't do it alone. Overall, FTC had a positive impact on my life because it taught me how to manage my time and responsibilities.
I had experience from FLL, but it was still a big change because we were less focused on project and core values, which I had more experience in than actual building. Right off the bat, I knew I wanted to do programming, since I've always had an interest in it. I learned about the balance between teaching others and doing my own work. I also learned a lot about time management, which is a very important skill in FTC. One of the biggest things I struggle with, which I think is important to remember, is that even if something goes wrong, you shouldn't lose hope. There's always a plan B.
I expected FTC to be exactly like FLL. I realized it was even better-it was more focused on robotics, and even more fun. It was really nice, because we got to incorporate everybody's designs and ideas. I was not very experienced with building, but I went to meetings everyday and worked on improving my skills. To future FTC participants-listen to instructions, cooperate with your team, get your own laptop, and everything will be fine. Doing FTC made me smarter in the field of physics and electrical engineering, and inspired me to want to go to M.I.T. when I'm older.
I joined the team later than everybody else, so at first I was a bit confused about where my place was in the team. Then we decided to formally create different groups, and I chose to be on the programming team. I didn't have much past Java experience, but that wasn't a problem, because we were all learning, and soon I was able to write code thanks to an online course, our mentors, and my teammates. Once I got the hang of it, FTC became a lot more fun, and I enjoyed working on the website and programming the robot. Even if it might seems daunting at first, FTC can be really fun, along with teaching you engineering, programming, and teamwork skills.
I was very curious since this was my first time doing robotics, so I was starting from scratch. I was pretty confused, but I started asking a lot questions, I started getting the hang of it, and I was able to start helping out more. I didn't feel like I was helping enough, since I was slowly learning, but I realized that wasn't true because I made a lot of progress, and in the end I also helped in writing programs. Despite the small ups and downs I had, I think FTC is quite amazing, not just because of all the stuff we learned, but also because I got closer to my team and friends.
At first it was a bit overwhelming, since there was so much to learn, but as I slowly got into it I learned more and it got more exciting and fun when I knew what I was doing. I now know more how to build a robot that works, and the different parts and functions, but also how to get things done more efficiently by working well in a group. One of my favorite parts was making new friends in my team. My advice to rookie teams would be start off with an open and eager-to-learn mindset, which will make it much easier to learn everything, and after you learn the fundamentals FTC is a lot more interesting and fun to do.
At first I thought FTC was gonna be really hard. There was so much stuff to learn and we didn't have much time to do it. But slowly I started working and working and working and by the end of it I got into the rhythm of doing it. I was able to keep on track with what I needed to do. I was so used to it I was having a lot of fun. FTC is probably what I look forward to most during the week now. My advice to rookie teams would be just start working and by the end you will never remember why it might have been hard for you.
My favorite part about FTC was building the robot, and driving it. I learned how to build a basic chassis, and a robot using real aluminum parts. It was very enjoyable because the team was very productive, and very innovative. Building a hanging mechanism was difficult, since we had to find a way to lift our entire robot off the floor with a small hook. Me and the rest of the build team came up with many designs, and then we made prototypes of them. This method worked really well, and in FTC you learn many problem solving skills like this. Doing FTC has inspired me to become an aspiring engineer.