by Guest Blogger, Emme Van Doorn, class of 2019, College Mentor
CSP is a unique environment where every student is encouraged to be proactive and self-confident. I was never told no, always: ‘go for it’, ‘try it out’. Failure was always an opportunity for learning and growing: an important lesson, especially in college. After going remote in the spring, I basically had to relearn how I learned, and how I stayed motivated (thanks Netflix), and initially the switch to remote learning felt like the sensation described by Hannah Montana in the ballad of her eponymous movie. Eventually that mountain plateaued because of plenteous opportunities for growth :), but mostly because of the values I learned at CSP. At CSP, I was allowed to join any part of the team that I wanted and invest time in projects that really interested me. That ‘reach for the stars’ mentality is unique to CSP and FIRST, empowering students to take charge of their futures and our generation’s future. The instilled proactivity and confidence enabled me to become a leader in my college organizations, to self-start STEM and outreach projects, and get jobs; to go for it.
Though long hours sometimes stretched into the night at HQ, lengthening with the rise of the moon, and exhaustion peaked day 3 at competition – it was worth it. The late-night card games, Walmart snack trips, coffee runs, dancing, and laughs: all reflect the joy of robotics. Not only did I gain skills, I also made life-long friends that continue to spread that joy to this day.