There is nothing quite like those group meetings late at night in the basement of Napier building, snacks scattered around, laptops running low and a midnight deadline looming...
Group work never really used to be much of a problem for me but at university I have found it super challenging. Everyone has such busy lives and so many things to balance that it is actually quite difficult to find a time to meet that works for everyone.
As final assignments get closer and closer, my group work is starting to get a bit more hectic. I want to avoid those late nights that very easily dissolve into conflict. I want to be a bit more organised this year.
Biggest problem though? I am something of a procrastinator. There are definitely some people in my group who are not. Plus, with these last four weeks, the heat is really starting to turn UP. I am also not the most evolved verbal communicator. I stumble over my words if I am delivering any form of constructive criticism and I struggle to say, “no”.
I know that some of these traits can cause serious problems. I have had some in the past. Sometimes, I get so absorbed in identifying my own faults that I forget my strengths and how they can complement other faults.
I have actually completed an activity with the Careers Service involving the identification of our own personality types into ‘bird’ categories. That sounds a little weird, I know. But basically, you take a bit of a personality quiz and it lets you know what kind of personality or bird type your are e.g., a dove, eagle, peacock or owl.
As a more introverted and amicable person, I am a dove. This means that while I may have a great work ethic, I struggle to set boundaries in teams. While, it's not a definite category, you could be a mixture of two or more, I think it helps me identify other personalities that sit in opposition to mine.
Ultimately, I have realised that any conflict I have experienced in group work and consequent dysfunction comes down to conflict between different people and ways of thinking. That's not always a bad thing though. Those late nights hammering away at an assignment together at the last minute are both a learning and bonding experience that I will look back on fondly one day...maybe when I have finished my last assignment.