*WOOSH* Ya hear that? That’s the past six weeks flying by! As the end of build season approaches, everyone is wondering how it passed so quickly. It feels like only yesterday we started prototyping an intake for hatch panels, and now we are ready to mount the final iteration of the scoop intake onto the robot. I vividly remember adding that hundredth of an inch to the intake’s CAD assembly. But enough nostalgia. We have until the 19th to finish building our mean machine, and then we blast off into competition season. With this looming deadline, the Build/Design subteam is kicking their productivity into high gear. The time for construction is now, and we need all hands on deck. Electrical wires for the robot will be crimped faster than you can say ‘Planet Primus!’. Someone will certainly have a boatload of fun riveting with our handy-dandy pneumatic riveter. The programming subteam will be typing robot code on their laptops so quickly that somebody’s keyboard will surely catch fire. But before build season ends, I am going to take you on a tour of Team 341. Sure, you’ve read blog posts about the daily happenings, but it’s time to get into the nitty gritty.
You thought all we do is build, build, build no matter what. In the wise words of Dwight Schrute, FALSE. We need people to record Miss Daisy XVIII in action for killer videos. We need people to write essays for the competition judges to look over so that we can have sick trophies on display. We need people to write quality blog posts to help the world better understand what Team 341 is all about. This is where Media and Public Relations (PR) comes in. This small but dedicated squad doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the work they do. They essentially convert all the gibberish the build/design subteam says into a language anyone can understand. When I say that the HAB mechanism has “an extremely low profile and uses a power takeoff to create linear motion”, Media translates my nonsense into “the HAB mechanism is compact and very powerful.” Without Media and their high-caliber videos, we wouldn’t be able to reach such a wide audience. As for PR, it is a bit too reminiscent of an essay-writing class for my tastes, but that just goes to show how dedicated the subteam is. They are tasked with writing the submissions for Dean’s List and Woodie Flowers Awards, creating a lengthy business plan for competition judges to look over, and maintaining the team’s website. A decent amount of trial and error goes into all three of these tasks, so resilience is a key characteristic of members in PR.
Still with me? Great! Just making sure you’re still paying attention. As a senior on Team 341, I entered build Season hoping to make Miss Daisy XVIII the most successful robot in our team’s history. However, I didn’t realize that I would accomplish so much more than just building a great robot. I have, for better or worse, fallen in love with music, and I point towards robotics as the primary reason why. There are four rooms the team uses during work sessions, and there is a ninety-percent chance someone will be playing and singing to music in all four rooms. Music is a staple here on Team 341, and some classics are “Sweet Caroline”, “Mr. Brightside”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and as of this year, “Rasputin.” I can confidently say my musical knowledge and singing abilities have improved this build season.
Upon seeing last year’s seniors leave the team, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to not see their faces in the workshop. However, this year has reminded me of the beauty of making new friends and strengthening relationships. It has been exciting to work with a variety of new students on the team and pass down my knowledge to them. Equally as important though, I have gotten to better know the veterans on the team and seen them grow as problem-solvers.
With all this being said, the 2018-2019 season isn’t over yet. Miss Daisy XVIII is participating in four (maybe five) competitions this year. If you think I am always excited during build season, just wait until you see me in competition mode.