All the Things that are Good for You: Broccoli, Shoveling Snow, and Group projects

[caption id="attachment_1302" align="alignleft" width="384" caption="Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson"][/caption]

You probably remember being a kid and being told, “Eat your broccoli…it’s good for you.”  As a parent, I have had said my fair share of “It’s good for you” moments in raising my daughter.  A couple of specific examples stand out:  “Stacking wood builds character,” and “I know it is hard to work in a group, but it is good for you.”

While I have no problem eating broccoli and I love to stack wood, I have had to eat my words on the group project thing.  Just two days ago, on a visit home, as I was stressing about an end of term group project, my daughter gave me a sympathetic smile and reminded me that group projects are good for me.

I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for group projects at GSLIS.  I know we will work in a collaborative environment and so learning how to reach our goals with our peers is important, but there have been some real challenges.

Why it is stressful:

  • We all have different demands in our lives: school, work, personal relationships, kids, parents, in-laws, to name but a few.
  • We all have different schedules.
  • We all have different time management habits.
  • We all have different organizational styles.
  • We all have different academic goals in meeting the requirements of a group activity.
  • We are all good at different things.

Why it is good for us:

  • Sometimes it is painful and feels like an extra, unnecessary requirement, and sometimes it is a relief to share the burdens of a project, to rely on someone else’s expertise and talents.
  • Everyone we will work with, whether it be in a library setting, a school, a museum or a corporation, will also have different demands, skills, and goals.
  • We all bring something different to the table.
  • We all learn from each other.

But the most important reason it is good for us: A group project is a journey that doesn’t just teach us about other people; it teaches us about ourselves.  Discovering what you bring to the group turns out to be the most important reason that “It’s good for you.”

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