Group Projects Prepare You for Careers After College

Group Projects Prepare You for Careers After College

Why do most college students cringe when they see the words “group project” on a syllabus?

group projects in collegeSuddenly, a flood of questions come to mind. Are your group mates going to pull their share of the work? Are they going to provide quality work? Are you going to be able to coordinate schedules between five people?

In my three years at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I’ve been involved in more group projects than I can count. At the time doing a group project seemed pointless and an excuse for professors to only grade five projects as opposed to 30, but now I see the value in group work.

All of my group meetings start out incredibly awkward. We don’t know each other, we don’t know each other’s capabilities, and if I’m being honest, we hardly know one another’s names.

The awkwardness fades away as the semester goes on and we find our rhythm. The more I get to know my group members, the more I see how each of their strengths will be useful for the project.

This is not to say that there is not conflict within the groups at some times. But, this is good conflict. It is conflict that is the result of each of our talents coming together and seeking a way to improve our project.

Sometimes we would discuss simple issues like due dates, but other times the conflict got a little heated. Each of us came in with a different passion, and we saw our own passions as the most important. This caused tension in the group project that we had to work through together. We could not be shortsighted and see only what we thought was important; we had to flesh out these ideas and realize the importance of other people’s viewpoints.

Without input from each of us, there would have been something missing. It takes all members to brainstorm, bounce ideas off of one another and share our strengths to be successful. Not only did these confrontations teach us how to deal with conflict professionally, but it also taught us how to combine ideas and be open-minded.

Every career has a component of collaboration. The New York Times writer Claire Cain Miller wrote an article titled “Tech’s Dangerous Myth of the Loner Genius Nerd.” Miller discusses how necessary it is to have empathy and a broad diversity even in the tech world where things seem so cut and dry.

Miller talks about how it’s important to have a diverse range of people making decisions. Because of each person’s background, he or she will see problems or gaps that other people miss. In the professional world, collaboration is vital because different perspectives lead to a more comprehensive result. Learning how to communicate your ideas and listen to other people in group projects is a leadership skill that employers crave from their employees.

Many soft skills, like working with others, are components of leadership. For instance, being able to delegate tasks in a group setting demonstrates that you are able to trust other people and recognize their strengths. Commitment is another skill that employers are looking for, especially within the millennial generation. Employers want to know we are committed to the company and not just trying to get to the next level. We can practice the skill of commitment within groups. Commitment means that you follow through with what you said you’d do. If one member doesn’t carry his or her own weight, the entire group will suffer.

Not only does collaborating on group projects provide an array of leadership skills, but it is also emotionally beneficial. When I have worked alone, I have experienced anxiety, fear of whether or not I was doing something right and a whirlwind of confusion. But, when I have been in groups, I have been comforted that other people were just as confused as I was and we were able to work through problems together. If between four papers, 2 midterms and over 200 pages of reading, I wasn’t able to make it to a meeting, my group members were understanding and took a load off of my back.

group project, teamwork, collaboration, prepare for career success

There’s a reason professors have us work together in every class. As pointless and painful as it can seem in the moment, working in groups is preparing us to be better employees once we graduate college. Group collaboration teaches us leadership skills, listening skills, the importance of clear communication and how to use our skills effectively.

We may complain about group projects now, but in a few years we’ll be emailing our professors thanking them for preparing us for our futures.

By Jordan Howard, UNC-Chapel Hill ’19

For an easy way to collaborate more with smart people on your campus, get connected on Motee!

 

If only I had known about Motee. A student’s perspective.

If only I had known about Motee. A student’s perspective.

How to college. That’s something every college student has to figure out, and unfortunately, it involves a lot of trial and error.

One of the most important lessons that you can learn about how to college is that connecting with your classmates and campus community is one of the most beneficial ways to grow and succeed academically and professionally.

But, that’s easier said than done… at least, so we thought.

feeling isolated on a big college campus

In my first year of college, I attended a 400 person economics lecture hall and I didn’t know a soul. Nor did I understand anything the professor was talking about. Each day I sat in the same seat so that maybe I could get to know the person beside me. But every week, the person beside me decided to drop the class and a new person took the seat…and so the cycle continued.

I was confused, alone and desperate for someone to come walk alongside me and help me get through this class.

You’d think with 400 people in that class there would be an easier way to connect with others, to form study groups and to have a network of people working together.

If only I had known about Motee.

Motee is an online platform that allows students to connect with other students in the same department, major and class. By connecting on Motee students are able to send messages and encouraging motees as well as coordinate times to meet with a peer tutor.

This collaborative process benefits everyone. By joining Motee you are joining a network and gaining access to a tool that will allow you to succeed academically.

But not only will Motee help you academically, it also can help you mentally and emotionally by receiving and giving peer support from and to others in your same situation.

During finals season, when I’m on my third cup of coffee and on my 17th hour without sleep, all I want is someone to tell me that I can make it through the class. That’s the beauty of sending a motee.

With motees, your classmates can encourage you by saying you’re a great listener, a great note taker, your comments are really insightful and that you have a lot to offer the class—there is a world of possibilities for the way they can encourage you. These encouraging notes can be the difference to students who feel as if their grades are defining them and they’re drowning in their textbooks.

send motees to your college friends to motivate and encourage

Motee encourages and emphasizes leadership, collaboration, connection and an aspiration to succeed amongst its users. From one student to another, Motee is an invaluable and unprecedented resource that allows students, like myself, to find peer collaboration as well as a positive attitude in order to successfully make it through some of the toughest courses any university has to offer.

Guest author: Jordan Howard, UNC 19

Motee FAQ

Motee FAQ

Is Motee free?

Yes! Motee’s great features, including sending encouraging messages called Motees, matching up with people in your major and classes, and becoming a peer tutor, are completely free. The only thing that costs money is to hire a peer tutor.

Is Motee available at my school?

Yes! Motee can be used at any 2 or 4-year college or university. You need a valid .edu email account to use Motee. If you have trouble registering, it might be because we have not added your school. Send us an email at [email protected] and we will add your school.

If you log in and don’t see your majors and minors listed, please email the Motee team at [email protected] and let us know which college or university you attend. We’ll get those majors and minors updated ASAP.

Do I have to apply or qualify to be a tutor?

Here at Motee, we believe that anyone can flex their skills to be a peer tutor. Motee tutors are peer validated, rather than qualified by external reviewers. Tutoring is a great learning experience and excellent preparation for the career world. While we don’t require Motee tutors to have specific qualifications, you can expect that your Motee profile will help other students determine if you are a good fit for them.

How do I sign up to be a tutor?

Once you register as a Motee user, go to the Tutoring page. It will ask you to fill in some additional details, including your PayPal address. Once you enter that info, you’ll receive a confirmation email and you’ll be all set to go. Once you’re a tutor, you can turn your Tutor availability on or off at any time.

flexible tutoring scheduleTutors earn $18 per hour. Here’s how the rate structure works: students pay $30 per hour for the session, and the Motee app pays 60% of that to the tutor. Tutors get paid approximately every two weeks, and no less than 48 hours after the conclusion of a session. The Motee Team will send payment to your PayPal address, which you provide when you register to be a tutor.

What can I do to help my child use Motee?

Tell them about Motee and how important it is to share with their friends. The more people who use Motee, the better it works!

And, the best thing you can do is add money into your student’s PayPal account for them to use for peer tutoring.

Note to Universities and Colleges

Motee is an open platform for every college or university student on any campus. We ask that community participants follow and conform to their college code of conduct. There are no requirements of the college or administration. Motee wants to add value to the students’ campus experience and be a supplement to the many resources offered on campus.

What TED Talks Have Taught Me About Collaboration

What TED Talks Have Taught Me About Collaboration

Collaboration is the secret ingredient of many of the world’s greatest innovations, works of art, and social advances. I’ve used TED Talks to research this blog post about collaboration. You can learn to take advantage of collaboration for better results in college. I don’t mean top marks. I mean a full-on, superbetter moment that will carry you forward.

Too often, we consider college coursework a solitary practice. You attend a class, research a paper, and read or practice homework problems alone. It’s time to consider a new strategy. In his TED Talk ,“The New Power of Collaboration,” Howard Rheingold tracks the way humans have used sharing to empower themselves.  Sharing is in your best interest.

Share the workload. Share your knowledge and skills with others. If you are good at proofreading papers, share that skill with your friends through tutoring. If you have an interesting connection but can’t get the words down, talk out your idea with a friend who can capture your thoughts into words. Peer tutor another student. Hire a peer tutor for consistent and relatable homework help. That’s not cheating. It’s using your collaboration capacity and it empowers everyone on the team.

We have to break the mythology of the single genius. There is no solitary genius. The process of collaboration is messy, iterative and interrelated. That’s ok and normal. And really, when in life is there a better environment for messiness than college?

The trick, according to Linda Hill in her TED Talk, “How to Manage for Collective Creativity,” is organizing the talents and passions of other people into work that is meaningful. Change from looking at your class work as a single endeavor. Find others who want to experience the class with a high grade or enjoy the classes subject and organize around that common thread. That is the “meaningful” component that will motivate everyone and produce top results.

Peer to peer networks redefine what friend and neighbor mean, explains Rachel Botsman in her TED talk. Collaboration improves the value of community. College maximizes the power of community. That design encourages peer to peer collaboration interaction.

It’s going to take a leap of faith. Trust is the social glue that binds our communities together.  College is a safe environment to explore the interplay between trust and reputation. That space lets complete strangers structure strong communities. Botsman calls this reputation capital.

Motee lets you build your reputation capital.  Express compliments and gratitude for your friends actions on campus. It’s an extension to your campus best qualities.

Everyone has the ability to share their knowledge or skills with someone else who needs them. I invite you to start sharing your skills with your friends and peers.  Enlist others to help grow your own skills. Collaboration is the one common ingredient that makes brilliant innovations and successes.  It is time to rethink college as a solo pursuit and embrace the power of collaboration.

Want to keep reading about the positive benefits of collaboration? Check out Tori Conange’s college lifestyle blog, Chase the Write Dream, and her thoughts on Motee. Or Ali In Bloom’s personal take on collaboration and motivation.