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Dec 20

Winter break approaching!

Jessica Bruce

Jessica Bruce

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by Kettering junior Jessica Bruce, who is from Flint, MI and is majoring in Industrial Engineering, will occasionally post her thoughts about her Kettering student experiences on Life at Kettering.If you’d like to write a guest blog post, e-mail jmurphy(at)kettering(dot)edu. Jessica’s other posts: Post 1 | Post 2

“Captain I see something on the horizon!”

“What is it?”

“Its winter break, Captain! Fast Approaching!”

(Everyone has to see things with a sense of humor :D )

Deadlines are difficult, especially when you lose an entire year out of a project deadline.

My thesis is now scheduled to be done written up and turned in around this time next year (Dec 2014). Right now my last term is Summer 2015, but as it looks I may look into doing back to back terms andhaving my last term be Spring 2015.

It depends on lots of things (mainly my new thesis timeline actually coming to fruition, but hey; I can do it!)

But graduating a term early would mean I could start working full-time salary and start paying off someloans.

That’s my thesis update, or at least all I can tell on this blog. :D

But this brings me around to my real topics; Morning commute traffic, IT woes, and an update on the FTC Lil’ MO 7472.

Morning commute traffic; It’s awful ,I hate it, and it shouldn’t exist.

Granted around finals week the only thing I want more than anything is to be sitting in a traffic jam, but brain abuse will alter anyone’s reasoning capacity. But dealing with my commute going from a relatively calm (most mornings only taking me 40 minutes) to frustrating (winter traffic from 1 – 2 hours). And I only commute from Flint to Auburn Hills! Its maddening. Traffic is the worst thing that was ever created by mankind.

I don’t mind my commute, when there’s no traffic, and the sunrise is stunning, and my favorite song on the radio. But with bumper to bumper traffic traveling at a grand 5 MPH, even the calmest pacifist would get a little antsy.

IT woes; funny comical and usually form an interesting story to tell.

This term I’ve had keys on my laptop fall off, network issues, wifi mysteriously disabled, and then last but not least; all of my accounts disabled.

I go easy on the IT staff because they are constantly argued with, but by far the funniest one was when I walked in to the IT room and told them I couldn’t log in. As it turns out someone told IT that I had left for the term 4 days before I was actually scheduled to leave and my accounts had been disabled. (I had thought I had broke my network connection considering I couldn’t log into anything and my computer kept asking me to log-in over and over).

As for the keys falling off, I think I type too hard. Whoops. Now for a short update on the FTC team I coach out of Carman Ainsworth Middle school, Lil’ MO 7472.

We competed a few weeks ago and for their first rookie competition they did very well. I’m proud of the students and their accomplishments because they did great for their first year of FTC. The team was a finalist for the Innovation award, mostly due to the conveyor design that we used, and was functional 85% of the time (we had some gear issues with it). We were the only team that had a conveyor at that competition, so it stood out. We however did not win it.

I think we won about 3 out of our 6 matches, one was really really close. The first we lost due to electrical issues.

But we got it fixed and once the robot got running, the kids zoned in. It was intense being out there coaching them on the field. They worked best when we established a strategy before the match on what their focus would be. The two drivers worked really well together and it was wonderful to see all the effort we had put in for the last 3 months come together.

For having nearly zero preparation the students were phenomenal in judging considering we were a finalist for an award.

All in all its rather bittersweet knowing that this is the end of the season. I think if we had 2 competitions instead of just one, that we would have time to perfect our design and make it better.

That at least is what i have planned for the off-season; perfecting the current robot design and LOTS of driving practice. I want to give them as much experience as possible before they get to do this all over again.

Coaching this team was a great decision. While at times it was stressful, especially during crunch time, i think I really helped these kids on their way to doing better. I hope that I have the same opportunity next year to coach, though with my thesis and traveling for work I’m not sure quite yet if I’ll be able to.