Season of Stress
During the robotics build season, it is common to walk into the ECEE building and find a senior, with noise cancelling ear muffs on, sprawled across an empty table, catching up on sleep.
Most of these seniors will pull an “all-nighter” at least once during this six week time period which started January 4th, when the First Robotics Challenge was released, and ended February 18th, when the team had to stop working and ship the robot to the competition. Build season is notoriously known to be a season of stress. “Everyone is stressed out to some extent, not only with the robot, but with school and managing their time,” says Nicolas Jones, member of the systems team. Emma, a machinist, adds, “Its only stressful if you stay here late or put things off. But once you know how to do your job, you get into the groove, and its fine.” Both agree that their specific duties on the team are not stressful, but that the atmosphere and outside worries are what pile up and make the season hard. When asked how they were feeling, Emma replied, “So tired. And I’m a little bit sick.” She hasn’t stopped feeling tired since the first day of build season.
The seniors had a lot of tips for how to cope with stress: “Be honest about how you feel,” says Emma. “It’s okay if you are stressed, just don’t hide how stressed you are.” Noah Goodman, a programmer on the team says to “listen to music and talk to your teammates. Everyone is going through the same experience, so it’s good to talk about it. Also, find some time to relax a little”. Davis Tisdale, a member of the systems team remarks, “Its all about how your manage your workload. Keep on top of homework, and you will be fine.” The seniors also had advice for the underclassmen about how to prepare for the season of stress: “During build season, there’s always something you can do in the building,” says Davis. “It’s better to just be here, even if you think you have nothing to do, because there are situations that come up where we need people from a certain team but they aren’t here. It’s best to be here and ‘on-call’”. Nicolas says, “Don’t waste time at the beginning of the season. You are going to want those minutes back later, trust me”. Noah says, “try to make it so you have as few classes as possible by second semester of senior year. Don’t sign up for unnecessary night classes or additional AP classes. Try and limit yourself. T.A. a period, or get a free period.” “Free periods are your best friend! They have helped me catch up on so many assignments,” Emma adds. When asked if they felt that the robot would be ready by ship-date, they had mixed feelings. “More so than we did last year,” says Emma. “We are in better standing than last year,” Davis adds. Noah, however is not too sure. “We will be shipping some sort of robot, but I’m 100% sure that it will not be our final robot, completed and ready for the competition”. Either way, these seniors have experienced a lot over the past six weeks, so be sure to wish them luck at the competitions!