I am now 4.5 years out of college. I majored in Computer Science. It is my dream to become an expert in robotics, so this question is about research graduate degrees.
I have some very good relationships with past bosses, but I fostered almost no relationships with my college professors. I also have no real research experience. I also have very little experience with robotics itself (it just keeps getting worse, doesn't it?). And my math isn't particularly good, so I may need to re-take some of those classes before I can really be competent in the field.
I should make clear that I have no doubts about being a successful roboticist. I just goofed off in college, that's all. Now I'm worried I've squandered my opportunity.
Without going into too much detail, I will say that, on the positive side, I was *technically* a research assistant and have my name on a published paper. The professor who I assisted can give me a decent recommendation, however ... the professor now works at a very small and mediocre college, and the paper was all but worthless. I don't expect them to impress very much. And I don't think there are any other professors who would even remember me at all.
I'm also getting old (I'm 27), so I'd like to apply this year (for Fall 2013). I'm trying to start a personal robotics project, but free time is limited.