Students often join TSA or want to join DMJ TSA thinking they already have experience with TSA. Most come in thinking they were in TSA in elementary school, or they have already done Vex for a year or two, so they know all about TSA. However, they come in to find it is not what they thought it was. Middle school TSA is completely different than it was when they were in elementary school.
Our TSA is not everyone does the same projects, or same competitions. We do not all work together on the same thing at the same time. It is less direct instruction from the teachers/advisors, and more independent learning with guidance from the advisors.
Middle school TSA has over 37 competitive events, some are team events, some are small groups of 2 to 3 people, and some are individual events where you are working by yourself. DMJ TSA members are expected to have at least 3 events prepared when we go to a competition. Those 3 events may be working with different team members. And, it is definitely a balancing act while trying to juggle the work load for all different events at the same time. Time management is definitely key.
We asked our students this year what they wished they knew about TSA before joining DMJ TSA. Here are some of their answers:
Some of the things our middle school TSA students said that they wished they knew were:
- I wish someone would have told me about how dedicated I had to be to TSA, about how many events I would have to do, and just how much the workload was going to be.
- I wish I knew I was going to have to do research for my events.
- I wish I knew how to write a portfolio properly for my events.
- I wish I had known that I was going to have to learn so many different things.
- I wish someone would have told me that I might have to work on events that I don’t want to because no one else was working on that event and it needed to get done.
- I wish somone would have told me that sometimes event times overlap and that I might have to make a tough choice in which event I would compete in.
- I wish I knew how much work this was going to be.
- I wish someone told me that I might not get to do Vex after I did it in elementary school.