A Fish Out Of Water


One of the ways to boost learning, imagination, and to kick-start slow moving braincells is to do something completely outside of your comfort zone. Or maybe that’s just my way, since I’ve found myself in a ‘sink or swim’ situation often enough that it’s become an accepted occurrence.

My latest ‘situation’ occurred when I signed on as a mentor for a local high school robotics team. No, not as a technical mentor, but to help out with fundraising and communications. Learning to write a good press release or grant application are useful skills for budding roboticists/scientists. And certainly among the encouraged skills to learn by the world wide organization that supports the robotics teams: FIRST.

I’ll admit, at my first meeting I felt like a fish out of water, but by the second meeting I started to get a feel for the team; a group of about 30 students with near boundless enthusiasm and a desire to be part of this group and participate in the competitions.

A first cursory glance at the various documents that will need to be created over the next few months, showed me that I will have more than enough to do at weekly meetings. A little coaching, proofreading and offering helpful suggestions are just a few of the things I’ll be doing.

Though I’m there as a mentor, I suspect I’ll learn at least as much as the kids, which will enrich my writing in countless ways, especially my stories for teens. I may even pick up some technical knowledge that I can use for future sci-fi stories.