Regardless of how things turn out, and how robotics goes, I want to let you know, especially on this special day, that you are all fantastic individuals. It has been my privilege and honor to get to know you. Working in teams is a really really hard thing – there are multiple areas of academia that study teamwork alone. Sometimes it is really hard to work with our best friends. Sometimes our best workmates are not our best playmates. Working together requires a very different type of respect for each other than playing together. When you are on a team, like a soccer team, you want to know that when you kick the ball to someone, that they will be there for you to receive your ball. You kick the ball to people who you know will move your team towards the goal. Sometimes, your best friend isn’t the best person to kick the ball to even though you can count on her to help mend your broken heart or cheer you up on a cloudy day.
To this day, I remember and regret losing a few great friendships because we didn’t get along as a team on a project. It takes maturity and openmindedness to look beyond a tough and challenging experience to maintain a friendship through the trials and tribulations of team work.
In the end, even if we don’t have a robot that is working, we have a friendship that we can cherish. Happy Valentines Day Gatorbotics!