One of the benefits of attending a vocational high school is the opportunity to participate in SkillsUSA. Preparing for SkillsUSA was one of the most challenging and nerve racking experiences in my life. SkillsUSA is an organization of students and teachers working together to help its members become responsible, hard working, and dedicated young adults. At the beginning of my junior year in high school, my shop instructor approached me and told me about SkillsUSA, and also the events that pertained to information technology. It took me a few moments to realize that he was encouraging me to participate. I read through the information packet my teacher gave me and noticed that SkillsUSA was a lot bigger than I realized. SkillsUSA is not only about being skilled in the trade you are studying, it is about being an outstanding citizen, and giving back to your community in any way you can. The first thoughts that popped into my head were “Am I ready for this?”
I chose to compete in the robotics and automation technology contest. I have always been interested in robots and how they work. Until then, I had no experience working with robots so I was really nervous, I did not have much confidence in myself. Not only did I have a few months to learn everything I can about robotics while keeping up with my schoolwork, and balancing my part-time job, but I also had to evaluate myself as a person. I was on the Internet and at the library every spare minute I had learning everything I could. I ordered kits off the Internet to practice working with robots so there were no surprises during the competition. It was hard work, but it paid off. Although I did not place at the competition, I did really well considering I started learning about robotics five months prior to the competition and I was competing against students who had years of experience on the robotics team at their high school. Becoming a SkillsUSA member means you must make a pledge to be...
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