Monday, September 8, 2008


Write of any topic of importance to you. If you have written a personal essay for any other purpose-even an essay for another college-that you believe represents you, your writing, and your thinking particularly well, feel free to submit it.

When I leave college I want to become a Computer Programmer. I haven't always wanted to be that, but I have wanted to go into a field of robotics since third grade. In third grade I was given a life changing assignment; to make a robot. They weren't high tech robots but simple robots that were mostly boxes on remote control cars. I was so excited by that assignment that I worked for days on it. I made a robot made out of three boxes on a remote control bulldozer. I didn't want the fun to end there though, so I made 6 more robots for the assignment. The other robots were made out of legos. There was a big one that looked like a submarine that held the smaller robots. All the robots were able to transform and be deployed from the "submarine" robot. They couldn't actually move on their own, but I was inspired.

Between that assignment and middle school I had taken an interest in science and technology. During middle school I found a museum in Minneapolis, MN. It is called The Bakken Museum. I found a program there that allowed any kid make any invention he/she desired. I joined the program and soon started inventing. I made a robot that could follow a line, a robot that you could remote control using a regular flashlight, and a robot that was completely autonomous to stop itself from running into walls or falling over an edge. With the experience I gained from those robots, I learned how to program for the first time in the Basic Stamp computer language.

Later on in middle school I joined a club called Destination Imagination. We made a go-cart from scratch. We had to tear apart two bicycles, buy an electric motor, buy 2 batteries and a lot of wood to make the go-cart. In my opinion, the go-cart looked like one of those ice cream bikes that you see in movies. I had fun with that club and we were able to learn how to work together.

During my junior year of high school there was a new club that started up. That club was the Robotics Club at Jefferson. The club is actually in the FIRST Robotics Competition. They change the challenge each year so that the teams are more equal. There are alliances consisting of 3 different teams to work together for points. Each team is from a different school. That year the goal of the game was to race around a track to get points for crossing each line. Another part of the goal was to get down yoga balls from a rack about six feet in the air, and carry them around the field across the lines, getting them over the racks gave more points than simply crossing the line. At the end of the match the teams got bonus point for how many balls they had left on their rack.

For the competition our school split everyone into the group that wanted to do, pneumatics, mechanical, electronics, and programming. I chose to be a programmer. For programming I had to learn a whole computer language just for the competition. I had to learn C++ in a matter of weeks and I was able to do it. There were other programmer but I was the most experienced with programming and I learned the fastest. I was able to come up with an autonomous program to be controlled by an Infrared control system. It took a while since the speed of both the Infrared system and the Processor for the robot were at different speeds.

For most of my life I have been influenced by Robotics. I can't tell exactly why it is so fun for me to program, but I can try to explain. Programming is more than using a computer and a language to tell something what to do, it's like taking some useless and brainless pile of junk and making it think and be able to move. I guess you could say for me it's like giving Frankenstein life and being able to say "I gave it life, if it weren't for me that thing wouldn't be anything more than a big paper weight." I think the main point is, help me become Victor Frankenstein so I can make life out of a heap of metal.

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