This is the interview of Sudharshan Mohajeer, one of the five students who formed part of Team Mauritius in FIRST Global 2023, Singapore.
Tell us about your trip experience!
“The trip from Mauritius to Singapore was long, and it was my first time travelling such a great distance. It was exhausting but worth it. This journey taught me how to be independent and responsible since I was all on my own without my parents or any family with me.
Throughout the trip, I got to learn a lot about people from all over the world, which was pretty cool. Meeting and connecting with them was super exciting. The memories of all the fun and interesting things that happened during the trip will stay with me for a long time.”
What are you grateful for during the FGC 2023 journey?
“I want to express my thanks to the FIRST Global Challenge (FGC) for bringing people from many different countries into my life. Meeting and talking to individuals from places I did not even know existed was incredible. Furthermore, I am grateful that our hard work in FGC was noticed and appreciated.
During the competition, the FGC team was always nice and helpful, ensuring we had everything we needed. They provided us with lunch and dinner every day, which was a big help. FGC also gave us our own workspace and two practice areas to improve our robot’s performance for the matches. I am thankful for how well FGC took care of everything and for the fact that we did not have to worry about getting to the expo from our hotel.”
What were your role and duties in Team Mauritius?
“My responsibilities included photography and assembly. I was in charge of capturing event moments through photographs and sharing them on social media daily to keep our followers informed about our progress. My primary duty was ensuring our followers stayed updated.
As an assembler, I was responsible for checking that everything was securely put together, with no loose screws or other issues. I also had to test if our collaborative ideas would work or not. My tasks weren’t overly complex, but I had to guarantee everything was completed correctly.”
What qualities have your team members admired about you?
“My team admired me for two reasons: my photography skills and my encouragement. I took stunning pictures of their work and the robots. But what they admired the most was how I motivated them. They would start losing hope whenever things did not go as planned, which was when I stepped in.
I would tell them not to give up and to try one more time because it was not too late. As the team captain, they listened to me, and together, we pushed through challenges and succeeded.”
What could you do to bring more value to Team Mauritius and get a better result?
“To enhance Team Mauritius and achieve better results, I believe that all team members should maintain a strong focus on the robot’s development. It is important to actively seek ideas and resources rather than solely relying on others’ input. Additionally, resilience is crucial; team members should not easily lose hope when faced with program or robot-related challenges.
Boosting motivation and ensuring everyone is physically and mentally ready is crucial to prevent breakdowns during matches. Cultivating a spirit of teamwork, where no one points fingers at other team members, is equally essential for a harmonious and effective collaboration.”
Back to Mauritius, how do you intend to promote STEM Education among young people?
“To promote STEM Education, we need to visit schools, colleges, and even universities to share information about what STEM education is and how it benefits us. Education is a lifelong journey, and although not everyone may immediately understand its importance, there will be a few eager learners among the youth who will listen and understand what we are trying to convey. It is crucial to make them aware of the numerous opportunities that STEM education can offer.”
Do you have any suggestions for YUVA that the latter can consider while preparing for next year’s FIRST Global event?
“I do not have many suggestions because our current workspace is quite comfortable. We are provided with all the necessary equipment to assemble our robot, and we have the flexibility to work late if needed. However, I do recommend that YUVA facilitates connections with previous teams. Those teams have valuable experience since they have been to the competition and can provide insights on what to do and what to avoid. This would greatly benefit next year’s FGC team.
I also recommend to the next year’s team that they begin preparing as soon as they receive the challenge and the tool kits. Early preparation can lead to a well-prepared robot for the FGC challenge, increasing Mauritius’ chances of winning.”