If there is anything that you will love and hate at the same time is team work. No matter how friendly, extrovert and excited about people you are, sometimes group work can be exhausting (and if you are anything like me, you will most definitely find group work exhausting). But, after one semester and a half and with most of the time spent in different groups working on different projects, making presentations and analysing different companies I can say that I have become more open towards working in a group rather than by myself. So, here is some advice that hopefully will help you when coming here and starting on your projects and that I would have liked to get before:
- Try to know who you are working with before actually starting the projects – Even though at Brathay and during some other activities you’ll meet some of your colleagues, the chances are, in the groups you will be assigned (for the first semester at least) you will not know everyone; so, before starting on the research, start by meeting your group – where are they from, what did they study in their undergrad, what are their hobbies – you might find some interesting things and it will make working in the group easier
- Make sure everyone in the group has the opportunity to speak and contribute – Some may not want to contribute but some will want but because the talk is lead by the more extrovert personalities, they would rather be silent; from my experience so far, if you pay attention and you ask them, their opinions are very well constructed and their input is very much appreciated – it’s just that they are not used to be participating that actively (this is why it’s important to know each other before )
- Use Google Docs to coordinate documents – Google Docs was a lifesaver for many of my group projects; we could work in the same time on different parts of the document and also we could comment on parts that we thought could be improved so that we did not waste any time waiting for the group meeting, reading what each one of us did and so on and so forth
- Try not to leave everything on the last minute – I know, I know… even though we are postgrad students, we still are students and we will leave everything on the last minute no matter how early we start. Still, when you work on the time schedule (it’s good that you set up some internal deadlines), try to be ready with everything at least 2-3 days before the deadline – mostly because you will not finish it then but then you still have time until the deadline.
- Have fun! – It can get a bit overwhelming at some point, especially when deadlines are getting closer but working in a team where there is too much pressure will not lead to better results; that is why it’s important to also have fun working in teams because at the end of the day, it is not only about results but also about improving your social skills
Yes, team work can get a bit overwhelming but remember that sometimes what you are feeling about it, so might the other in your team. So, it is better to discuss your ideas and make sure everyone makes himself/herself listened than end up in a team where no one shares their ideas.