Second semester has ended for all the students in my graphic design course, all but me.
For my last project of the semester I was required to work on a collaborative project with a group of second year students. The girl I got paired with is great designer, and even though I don’t really care much for group work, I found myself looking forward to collaborating with her.As the due date for this project grew closer, I still had not received her portion of the work. I asked several times about her progress on the project and each time she admitted that, it really just wasn’t a priority for her, but she promised would get to it just as soon as she finished “this one last assignment”. Instead of getting impatient and irritable, I was very polite and understanding. Even though my own due dates were fast approaching, I tried to be as helpful as I could be, I provided her with links to sources and all kinds of useful information on the topic. Needless to say, I didn’t receive the document I needed until the the DAY my project was due and the content in it was the exact opposite of what I needed. I ended up having to redo a large portion of my project, thankfully my professor was understanding and gave me an extension so I could revamp the project. You can imagine how disappointed I was to spend the weekend everyone else had off, toiling away on a project that should have already been done.
As I bitterly worked away correcting my project, reality hit me. This was not the last time something like this will happen to me, in fact, my whole career I will probably face many challenges that are very similar to this one and maybe one day, I won’t have a boss that is as understanding as my professor. You would think this reality would stress me out, but for some reason I drew comfort from it.
Knowing what to expect, or rather what not to expect, made me more aware of my one responsibilities as a group member.
One of the lessons I learned from this experience is that there is such a thing as being too understanding. I should have found a way to tactfully tell her to make this project a priority and I didn’t. Lately I’ve been finding that the times when I really don’t want to speak up are the times when it seems to be the most necessary. I didn’t want to rock the boat, and it jeopardized my success in the course.
My professor told my class early in first semester that the more more mistakes you make early on, the quicker you learn and the better you become. It might sound silly, but I almost feel stronger for having had such a poor experience.