Author: Su-Ji C (Soph)
This school year, 4188 has implemented many different changes to its program for the benefit of its students. One such change can be seen from the training program we have gone through in the beginning of the school year.
Although many people on the team have different thoughts and views on the training program we used this year, I personally enjoyed it. I started training during the summer, because I was part of the team from 2015 to 2016, but it didn’t significantly change or help my abilities until the start of the school year.
As I entered Marshall Middle School this fall, I remember hoping that training would be a little different than last year, where if I missed one session, there was no time for me to make it up except through experience and trial and error (causing me to be of little help to the team, except for the field build, which I enjoyed). I soon found out that it was structured a lot differently, with much more organization and flexibility needed to please the trainees. As I went through the first Build 1 training, I got caught up on all of the things I had no knowledge of how to do during build season last year, such as how to use a dremel and a manual saw (which is kind of sad if you think about it). I learned how to design and create a to-scale drawing in order to make a project, and how to use simple tools to take apart materials – all skills I needed to have a big part of team 4188 which I had missed the year before, I learned in 2016.
Because of training, I was able to learn new skills as well, one being electronics. From the guidance of the amazing Hallie, a junior which was and currently is the electronics lead for the past two years. I could figure out how to learn the basics of soldering (which I had been wanting to learn for a long, long time) and power poles, wire management and the many different electronic parts in the robot. I was able to take part of the media team, which is now one of my favorite aspects about robotics, because of its family-like aspect. With the mini-checkpoints made by the leads, also a first, I could easily trace where I needed help and where I had the needed experience to be successful. Within me, something that originally felt wrong clicked into place. Suddenly, I felt like I could actually be useful to the team in some way just because of some simple training.
4188 has changed in many aspects, but I believe that many of these changes are for the better – to make the rookies and inexperienced feel like they are part of one big robotics family. Our new training program is exceptional in getting new and old members caught up in what robotics is all about. I’ve seen throughout the months how small, clueless freshmen changed to innovative, knowledge-filled engineers, all because they were able to receive the basic training needed to succeed in the future. Add to that a certification program that revolutionized work assignment, and we have the strongest team to start a season we’ve ever had.