Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
I’ve had plenty of experience in a college setting. It took me eight years to finally obtain a bachelor’s degree and when I walked that stage I truly believed I was equipped with what I needed to conquer the world. Fast forward to a pandemic and a one-year master’s program and I can firmly say that I was wrong. I was equipped with tools that the education system wanted me to have. I was prepared for exams and tests...not for real-world experiences. This program is requiring me to be both a learner and a leader through authentic teaching styles that I have rarely, if ever, been exposed to.
The study group that I have joined has become a third course in this program. I do not view it as something that is optional at this point. The people that are a part of this group reassure me daily (and sometimes more than that) that I am fully capable of succeeding and thriving in this program and in my career.
I contributed and helped build my core collaboration group weekly and more often than not, daily. In this set of courses, I felt more comfortable asking questions to my peers and my professors. I enjoyed the feed-forward that was provided to me without even asking. I think in any other situation that type of communication is sometimes looked down upon. It’s viewed as rude and disrespectful to view someone’s work and then find the faults in it. I’ve learned to change the way I feel about that type of commentary. If someone is taking the time to look through my things, that means they care about what I am putting out there. They hold high expectations of me and refuse to let me settle for anything less.
Although the workload for these two courses was not as daunting as the first set, I feel as though the work I did for these courses was more meaningful. In saying that, I feel as though I did not reach out to others as much as I had originally planned to when I began in March. I was putting so much time and effort into my own projects that I was unintentionally not putting in as much effort in providing feed-forward to others. I truly believe that last time I was intentionally not giving or offering feed-forward out of fear or uncomfortableness. But this time it isn’t until this reflection that I am seeing I still did the same thing without realizing it.
I did, however, provide support and encouragement throughout the two courses. Every Wednesday I showed up to our study and/or support group and regardless if I said a lot or nothing at all, I believe my presence and effort showed my team that I was and am invested in them and their hard work as well.
I already knew how vital the readings, videos, and supporting resources were. I made sure to start the reading list even before classes had begun. I was reading books for these courses during the end of the last set because I wanted to come into this set as prepared as I could be. I still feel as though the supporting resources are mandatory for my own personal benefit. It has been made clear that I can’t learn too much. Now, sometimes (all the time) there are not enough hours in the day, but I do try to make a conscious effort to save something I didn’t have time to look at in that moment so I can go back and look when I do have the time.
With the help of my collaboration group, I made sure to meet the deadlines that the courses indicated. I also took advantage of the opportunity that Dr. H and Dr. Bedard gave that allowed us to send our projects in and receive feedforward before the assignment’s due dates. I will admit that I was hesitant about this at the beginning. I knew asking for recommendations meant being open to what I did wrong and having my mistakes being pointed out. This is something I had not experienced in the first half of the semester. I knew my result was going too far outweigh that uncomfortable feeling. I still feel my heart race the moment before I open my video of the feed-forward, but I change what is recommended and I’m almost always happier with my final product.
Being a part of the accelerated ADL program has taught me that given the opportunity to make the learning my own, I can and will do what needs to get done to be proud of my work. I remember working through the 4DX model and Dr. H telling me something along the lines of, “Stop giving me what I already taught you. Show me what you’re going to do with this information.” I was falling back into the mentality that I lived in for so long. It was almost involuntary what I was doing. I was regurgitating the information and calling it authentic work. I believe the further along in the program I go, the better I will be able to spot that on my own and catch it beforehand.
Lastly, I feel it is important to mention that I have appreciated the organization of the program. I was truly worried I would have to drop a course and extend the program longer than I wanted to because of the workload and life combined, but both professors have been extremely accommodating while still providing me with opportunities that are worth every penny I spend. I thought that with a fast-paced program it might lose its authenticity, but it has been the complete opposite. I’ve gained so much in such a short amount of time that I couldn’t imagine taking one course and not the other.