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Me First

Through the course of our lives we are told that teamwork and collaboration is fundamental to our success. I can’t tell you how many times I heard my high school gym teacher say either the phrase “There’s no I in team…” or “Teamwork makes the dream work.” It seems, though, that somewhere along the way messages like these have become lost in translation and the majority of uni students tend to go all ‘lone ranger’. Group assignments have become the worst nightmare for a lot of of us and I really can't figure out why.

Imagine you’re walking into a lecture room for the first time. It's packed with hundreds of loud chattering students and you take a seat next to a stranger and introduce yourself. In essence, you’re now part of a group of students doing the same classes, working on the same assignments and procrastinating over exam week. You're part of the collective now right? WRONG! Sometimes it can take a lot more than that.

Some people don’t really care about good marks whereas you’ll find others who are super studious and love working solo. I always wonder why it’s so common for people’s uni life to be so non-collaborative? I believe that university should be a thriving community of students who are there to help each other to the finish line rather than Usain Bolting their way to the gold medal. Ultimately though, it comes down to whether students actually give a shit or not. And what they give a shit about can often vary depending on their situation. How is a student meant to juggle studying, partying and romance alongside work, family obligations and binge watching the latest Netflix series?

The answer is that most can’t juggle these - and end up prioritising certain things over others. And of course, let’s not forget the group assignments where you can almost hear the internal screams of everyone in the room. As a student who has worked on several group assignments in my time (and mostly ended up being the only one who made an effort) I can advocate for how much they suck. But they shouldn't, and a lot of it comes down to attitude. Having a holier-than-thou attitude only comes off as douchey.

But, all jokes aside - if you’re a ‘me first’ kind of person then it can be really hard to succeed. Uni gives you the skills necessary to excel in your chosen career and plenty of opportunities to socialise with others and make friends. But first you have to be willing to grab these opportunities by the grapefruits and get involved.

I don’t think uni is meant to be a solo journey - more so a conga line of lit students dancing their way to victory. No one person can make it on their own - even Batman needs Robin and Alfred to kick ass.

So whether it be that random classmate sitting across the room or that one person you vaguely remember who’s in the same Thursday afternoon tutorial, there are plenty of opportunities to work with other students. To quote my high school gym teacher, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." Go find your teammates and win your championships, because when you do you’ll feel much better with the support of people backing you.

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