During my freshman year, my mom tried to convince me to get involved in the robotics team at my school as I had previously participated in Lego robotics in middle school, but I was just too intimidated. Everything the team was doing just seemed so complicated and challenging, and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. At the end of my freshman year, I was invited to take an Engineering course at the NYC FIRST STEM Center on Roosevelt Island and I decided that it was an opportunity I could not pass. Boy, did I make the right choice! The course ended up introducing me to FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and my life has not been the same since.
After taking the STEM Center course, falling in love with FIRST Robotics through FTC, and making some of my closest friends, FRC didn’t seem as intimidating anymore. I probably wouldn’t have even considered joining the Robotics team if it wasn’t for the STEM Center course.
Although FTC did prepare me for FRC, it was still as if it was a whole new world. The game was so much larger and so was the team! Learning how to work in such a large community was an eye-opening experience. There were subgroups within subgroups yet they worked in harmony to build one big machine.
Not only were the FRC teams themselves larger, but the events were too! The intense rush of adrenaline that came from participating in an FRC regional was like no other. Just imagine: an arena full of hundreds of people who all share similar interests and passions all collaborating with each other. I thought it was a scene that couldn’t be replicated - but the New York City Regional proved me wrong. It was my first experience in the pits of the competition, and it was ten times as intense.
Being in the pit during competition developed very important problem-solving skills. At regionals, what can go wrong will go wrong, and you have to be ready to solve it immediately.
NYC FIRST has provided me not only with the skills that I sought from robotics such as, learning how to design and work with tools as well as skills I didn’t know I’d pick up such as communication skills and public speaking skills
Bio: Noor Khalifa is a senior at Manhattan Center for Science and Math in East Harlem, New York. She has been an active member of the FIRST community through three different FIRST Robotics Teams: FRC team 4571 (Rambots) since her sophomore year, and FTC team, 13372 (Rambots).