As participants in FIRST, there is a lot of encouragement to go into engineering. We hear this a lot because it makes a lot of sense---if you like being on a robotics team, you’ll make a good engineer. Right? Well, maybe.
FIRST is really good at preparing teenagers for future careers in STEM fields. But there is so much more FIRST teaches than just the engineering aspect. FIRST has taught me essentially how to run a small business through design work, organizational work, experience as a leader, financial management, and so much more.
Now that I’m a junior in high school, I am flooded with questions about what I’m going to do after high school. I’ve always assumed, because I’ve always been on robotics teams, that I’ll end up in engineering one way or another. This has been partly due to FIRST’s messaging. But in looking more closely, I found that the parts of robotics that I enjoy the most are rarely the technical aspects. I’ve always enjoyed team branding over building and design work over drive team. But while FIRST does a great job providing examples of successful engineers that I could be like someday, rarely do I see examples of how FIRST helped someone become a graphic designer or businesswoman. FIRST has prepared me to go into those career fields too, so why do I not feel as encouraged pursue them?
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