Being FIRST (literally)
Although called the ultimate sport of the mind, FIRST is much more than just that. It changes you. It changes how you act, react and approach problems. You may not notice it when you are still part of the team because you are surrounded by people who are going through the same process but step outside of your usual company among non-FIRST members given similar challenges and only then will you realize how you have been changed. Only then will you get to see your edge.
Attending college studying Mechanical Engineering during my first semester, I got to see that difference. Just for perspective FIRST (pun intended), I only knew one other kid who was a FIRST alum and even he spent only a year doing robotics. So when we got our first engineering project to reverse engineer a product and create a CAD model and suggest improvements, I saw many kids struggling at first. They bought different products without taking into consideration how much time and effort they would have to spend CADing. And when the time did come for making the 3D models they struggled. On the other hand, my experience in FIRST allowed me to not only finish my project before everyone but also go around and help others finish theirs.
This may be a small example of how FIRST impacted me, but there are thousands of more stories similar to mine or better than mine. Regardless what’s important is to truly appreciate the opportunity we have been given and take full advantage of the chance to get ahead and then help others get ahead as well.
-From a FIRST ALUM.