World Championship 2017
At the NZ national championship for Starstruck, Kristin was awarded the National Excellence award. This provided us a qualifying position for the World Championships in Louisville, KY.
This would go on to become a huge challenge for us to undertake, it required us to rebuild our robot to reach the World Championship standard, while also properly formalising our roles within the team. The experience was a massive learning curve, forcing us to make major decisions to best use the resources we had at hand.
The time gap between Nationals and Worlds was roughly 8 weeks. We decided to break this time down into building, programming, and driving. The first 4 weeks was initially set for build time, with the remaining four for programming and driving skills, as these two things would have to be done in conjunction to properly tune the robot. Sticking to this schedule proved to be problematic however, as we had not properly understood what was required of us to build a very good, competitive robot, and we ended up finishing the robot build after 6 weeks, and continued to tweak right up until we left by way of tuning.
The actual competition was also an entirely new experience. Worlds had roughly 10 times as many teams as we had at our National Championship, and a large majority of them would have been able to win at our Nationals. Our time in the States tested our perseverance and tolerance, requiring us to act professionally at all times in public, while coping with little amounts of sleep and issues with the robot.
A fully fledged report on the time we spent preparing for, and competing at worlds would be an inappropriate summary for our website, and would end up being very similar to our design notebook, however it is more appropriate to take away the key points of learning from this trip. From the experiences we had, the up-and-coming students among the team will be better prepared for when their time comes to represent New Zealand.
These pointers would be the following:
- Be strict with your deadlines; do not accept missing deadlines, as it puts pressure on the tasks needing to be completed later in the process.
- Team synergy is far more important than one would initially think; if all of your teammates are working properly, your productivity will increase tenfold.
- Do not compromise the quality of the robot; there are times where we were unsure whether going that extra step was worth it or not during the preparation stage, and by doing so and making the effort, many issues were avoided at worlds. Particularly sizing.
- Finally, and I would say most importantly, be pragmatic. Always make the best use of your resources, and do not fear staying up all hours of the night if you believe your robot may benefit (unless you;re the driver).