Health / It's my life! / People

Working in groups: To handpick or leave it to fate?

Tomorrow is the day when everything starts. Actually, to be precise, starting today, grass is no longer growing underneath my feet. From now on till December (or, maybe not even then), my inner gears are set to move non-stop.

But, tomorrow is the big day. School officially begins again. And, it’ll start off with a course on tissue engineering principles. Like most modules in NUS now, to nurture our supposedly poor interpersonal communication skills, there will be team-based assessments.

team work

Image by yckhong via Flickr

And, so the question is: Do I want to take the extra effort to spot classmates who exhibit positive attributes of a good team player (in addition to being a good student) and do my best to get that person in my group, or do I want to leave it to coincidence and just choose anyone to be in my team?

Of course, the wiser choice is to be a little bit more proactive (Proactivity is in my new mission statement, by the way) and choose my group mates. That will lead me to another question of how accurate first impressions are in the first place. But, that is beyond the scope of this post.

Not choosing my teammates, however, will give me the option of training myself to handle unpredictability and working with all sorts of people whom I don’t know. After all, in my future workplace, I won’t be able to choose my colleagues.

The dilemma is whether I choose or not choose my future team-mates, I know I can handle either situations. I know it’s very tiresome to hear from me talking incessantly about last semester, but, it’s true. I learned a lot from the first few months of this year. Whether I chose my group (in Chinese, Biomaterials Engineering courses) or not (Advanced Biomaterials, Human Capital), I still worked equally hard for both.

If I’m so confident, why bother thinking about it? Well, I fear for myself. Will I have the stamina to go on? Last semester, I had the best score I had in my four years in the university and I aced most of my modules, except Biophotonics (I got a better score than I predicted, so I’m satisfied with it) and Chinese (it was worst than I expected. This was a very mortifying module). But, I remembered that I worked very hard for those scores. During that semester, I finally learned the difference between working to get a B+ and an A. To get that A, it meant less sleep and less time for self-reflection and friends, and a lot more work, more group coordination, and more stress.

Can I will myself to do that again with my part-time job, my stint as a resident assistant-cum-leader of the tribe, a final year thesis on a possibly difficult nanophotonics topic, a very unfamiliar arts course that goes by the name east-west artistic interactions, two engineering modules that will once again require my fullest attention in creating a powerful creative team, and an additional engineering module? These combined with my fervent desire to pursue my interests in tennis and music, can I cope? Oh, wait, let me rephrase this. I know I can definitely cope and do well too. But, do I want to go through that cycle all over again, jeopardising my health and social life in the coming months?

Back to my question, I figure that choosing team-mates is itself a kind of stress as it means that during the entire class tomorrow, I will have to be in a look-out mode. So, I will just let it be, and see what will happen next. This is not a proactive trait, but how proactive can one be in times of uncertainty anyway? Honestly, I don’t know most of my classmates, and who knows, maybe my future group-mates have silent traits that are not visible in first impressions. Oh well, I’ll wait and see.

Anyway, I know come what may, I’ll survive through this semester because life always goes on. I’ll take one step at a time, and complete each tasks excellently, efficiently and effectively. And, most importantly, I’ll breathe this semester. No giant bear standing on my path is going to rain on my parade. I will just eat one chunk of the bear, one mouthful at a time.

According to the new horoscopes of 2011, I’m a Taurean woman. With the personality of a bull, we are strong, determined, independent, very hard-working and definitely not a push-over. So, move over, Mr. Challenges. I WILL overcome you, yet again.


Taurus the Bull

Image via Wikipedia


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