Hello, my name is Cole. I’m a sophomore at a high school in which I compete with in VEX. I would like to know if any other people have been in this situation and would like any advice at all whether it be how you got around it or if it’s just telling me to stop complaining and be grateful for what I have. So this year I was a one man team, it was my first year building and I was very uninspired throughout the year till the end. I completely scrapped my robot in the last days of January and completely restarted and rebuilt in 3 days to prepare for a competition on February 2nd my second last chance to qualify for State. (which I didn’t qualify at, got BO1’d cause teammate alliance plugged in a completely dead battery and it was too much for my untested robot to 1v2 in knockouts. I just barely missed World qualifying at State because of bad choices of mine regarding skills and stuff almost completely out of my control with a robot I worked on for a little over a month.
I mention all this to provide context for my situation at my school. Just barely missing Worlds I realize what I can create and be with enough effort and time so when I lost at State I made my goal to spend as much time as possible to make a good, competitive bot. I want to bring my school and robotics organization recognition and prestige to improve our club and if possible put my state Alabama on the map for VEX. Ambitious I know but if I try my hardest maybe I can achieve it.
I want to start designing my new robot immediately after the reveal of the game for this season and work as much as possible over the summer building it then use the school and competition time to perfect the robot. I believe that method would grant me the best chance to make a competitive robot potentially in the world scene. I’m sick of being mediocre.
I brought the idea to my teacher/sponsor and I thought we were on the same page. She says we are done for the year and can’t start working till the next school year starts. Her explanation was that we need an offseason and a time to rest. I can understand her wanting to rest after her staying after school with us till up to 7pm each night. This ruins my plan for next year, while I understand I can still be competitive with the allotted time of the school year and many teams are less privileged and get less time then that. However many teams spend as much time as possible, the teams that are seen as the top and known throughout the community so why can’t I spend my own time to attempt to build a legendary robot? I understand I’m asking of much and using resources that I don’t own but the time I rebuilt my robot I brought motors and metals to my house to work on it, it’s not much different besides it being over the summer. I’d be willing to get my parents to sign a contract or something with the school stating I’d pay for any lost or damaged parts over the timespan of summer break (I would sign it myself but contracts with minors aren’t legally binding).
So I thought of several solutions to the problem at hand because that’s what engineering is isn’t it?
Find another teacher that would come up to the school over the summer and supervise
Bring the parts home to work. (I’d really like if this was a possibility again because I’m gonna be living across the state for a period over the summer and if I could still work on my robot there that would be great.
Go over our sponsor’s head and bring a presentation to the school’s principal requesting permission to use parts.
Make an independent team.
So I asked my teacher about number 1 and she said that wasn’t the issue so I don’t know what “the issue” is.
I asked about number 2 and she said the parts are the school’s and her responsibility so we can’t take them home over the summer. Which I understand but we’ve done it so many times.
The whole point of number 3 is to go to the principal for permission but that could potentially ruin my relationship with the teacher and could ruin future opportunities which is not desired.
I’ve done a lot of research about number 4 and it is completely unrealistic. If I could even get the funding to go independent, the time it would take to order V5s would basically be all of summer and maybe even longer basically being the same issue as staying with the school.
My main point against her reasoning of we need an offseason is that sports leagues like the NFL or such who exhaust not only their minds but their bodies in the season don’t just take a break in the offseason. They are back on the field practicing and getting ready for next season. If that example is invalid because they are professionals then how about an example at my own school. My school’s Girl’s Basketball team has won the State championship twice in a row now and absolutely dominated it. My school’s Boy’s Baseball team won state last year. Neither of those teams take breaks in the offseason they go straight back to preparing. Why are we any different if we want to be in the top of our sport? Teacher had no response.
I dumped a lot of thoughts that were in my brain. I apologize if I come across as ungrateful and selfish but I’d love to maximize my chance in the higher aspects of robotics which could improve the organization and school itself. Again, if anyone has any advice for any topic of this rant or even have words to help me see straight, it’s greatly appreciated. Thank you.