Well, the time has come for us to bid farewell to MIT. It is our last day, and we are ambivalent. We are looking forward to seeing our robots in action in the competition, but we are also not looking forward to going back to Singapore. It has been an amazing two weeks, with lots of learning, fun and excitement.

As the competition draws to a close, I realise that my biggest takeaway is the friends I’ve made. While there was a competition, I didn’t feel like Robocon was competitive at all. Everyone was friendly, cordial and helpful! The night before, we had a crisis  as our robot wasn’t working as we expected. As we looked over our shoulders at the teams next to us, we realised that we were not going to win, and we were contented with trying our best.

However, as it turned out, we managed to secure a 2nd place. Due to a combination of luck, consistency, hard work, and perhaps divine intervention, our robot managed to secure points in every round except for the first. That, and our low expectations for ourselves, got us all the way to the finals! The blue team prevailed in the end, as their robot was simply the better one. But we didn’t despair, and we congratulated them after the match!

After the contest, we had to put on a skit to showcase our individual countries. We chose Home by Kit Chan, since it was National Day! As we were singing, I felt a sense of belonging and fondness for Singapore, and while cliché, found true meaning in the saying, “ Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Celebrating Singapore’s birthday while in the US makes me really proud to be Singaporean, and I’m thrilled the other participants liked it.

All in all, I had a wonderful two weeks, and an amazing time in MIT. I would really like to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the MIT staff and TAs who have made my sojourn an indelible experience. Furthermore, I must thank my awesome teammates, who were such a fun group of people to hang out with. We had come a long way since the initial (I dare say) hostility and awkwardness, and now I’m looking forward to visiting all of them in their home countries!

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