Teamwork: Simply stated, it is less me and more we.

I’ve been a member of several different  teams in my life, basketball, track, marching band, theatre, choir, 4-H… you name it, I’ve probably done it. Monday was the first day of orientation, and after the usual introductions of administrators, professors, staff and the like, Larry Inks, one of our new professors had us split up into teams for a team building activity. Now, through 4-H camp counselors, Junior Fair Board and every other 4-H event, we’ve had team building activities. I’ve had my fair share of team building in my life. My first thought was “this will be a piece of cake – I’ve probably done this one a million times”. So we went through the routine of counting off by 8s to split up into our groups of 4 or 5 people and we got our materials: a single nail nailed into a 3″ square piece of wood and 14 additional nails bundled up with a rubber band. Larry gave us our instructions – make all 14 nails balance on the single nail without using anything to make it stay there, no rubber band, it couldn’t lean against the nail, nothing. I was dumbfounded. First, I’d never seen this before, and second, I thought it to be impossible. There was no way we were getting these nails to balance on this single nail. So, my group had the normal trials and tribulations and with no success. Larry then announced that we needed to send one person up to receive a hint. I was the person to go up, and let me just say that the hint he gave was seemingly less than helpful. Another ten minutes went by and Larry announced that the same person needed to come up and get another hint. With the two hints together, the wheels started turning and we started coming up with more ideas that were 10 times more plausible than anything we had thought of before. Finally, we succeeded! I have a picture to prove it! (But for the sake of future MLHR classes, I’m not going to post it, in case you have to do it, too)

My undergrad is from Ohio State in Psychology, I’ve grown up here, most days it seems like nothing here is new to me and I’ve seen it all. But now, I’m entering a field and a part of campus I’ve never experienced. It can be very scary at times and before orientation on Monday, I was more nervous than before I took the GRE. It was a very exhilarating feeling to be put in a situation where I didn’t know anyone in my group, I had no idea how to complete the task at hand, and yet through it all, I was able to succeed. My group worked together as a team, and we succeeded. My MLHR class is going to work together as a team, and together we all will succeed in the end.

I’m scared to death of classes starting next week, but orientation gave me the little boost of self confidence I need to get through those ‘first-day-of-school’ jitters.