Build Season, and Robots, and Competitions, Oh My!

Build Season. For any boy or girl who’s ever participated on a FIRST First Robotics Competition Team, it’s a phrase that immediately inspires and terrifies.

This “build season” is rapidly approaching. Six weeks of nothing but science, technology, engineering, math, and food. Six weeks to design a unique robot, under specific guidelines, to complete amazing tasks, such as Frisbee shooting, or climbing towers. Six weeks for high schoolers to organize many elements like bumpers, scouting, and (duh) the robot itself.

I personally love this time of year. It’s exciting, especially for me with no siblings, to have a make-shift family thrown together that interacts on a daily basis. This time of year is also very similar to, “Here, have a backpack full of extra stress, starting within the first week of January. I’ll take the backpack back after April.”

Our FRC Team, Biohazard, doesn’t know what the challenge is this year. In fact, none of the FRC teams around the world have any idea of what’s going on. Mark your calendars, folks: January 3rd marks the beginning of some people’s insanity.

The moment we hear the challenge, the ideas start flowing. We read the rule books, we scribble with markers onto whiteboards and pencils onto paper. Constant interruption, and then reminders not to interrupt. A melting pot of ideas and strategies and creativity. That’s week one.

By week six, we’re exhausted. We’ve poured our hearts and souls into our robot. Programmers are frustrated with their programs, the electrics are tired of soldering (and re-soldering), and the mechanicals are pitching in however they can. Plus, the build rooms are a mess–I mean, a complete and utter mess. No one puts away tools, and others are constantly following after them, trying to pick up the clutter themselves.

All-in-all, Build Season is a mish-mash of family, fun, food, and insanity.

I can’t wait.


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