What I Have Learned About Myself in This Program

Hello, hello! We meet again!

Today, I’d like to share with you three major things I’ve learnt about myself in the MM program. They’re not anything too novel or profound but definitely a refreshing revelation!

1. I enjoy teamwork.

My undergraduate scientific training involved largely individual work, so I’m used to working independently. The thought of suddenly having to work frequently in teams had both excited and concerned me. In my experience, level of motivation seems the most important differentiating factor for successful collaboration. But it’s not just how motivated you are, it’s also how you motivate the people around you–which is the tricky part. In the MM program, I’ve been part of diverse teams. Having a tendency to focus solely on the work, I continually remind myself to pay attention to team dynamics and to learn from the interactions of my team members. It’s certainly a continuous process of learning, which has given me a newfound appreciation for teamwork.

<I can still hear our Organizational Behaviour professor, Angela Kelleher, in my head saying, “Remember, you’re not a group. You’re a team!” *wild cheering* <- Alright, that’s just me adding sound effects.>

2. I can be good at time management.

One of the perks of teamwork is that it forces you to be accountable to your teammates. Nonetheless, discipline still ultimately comes from within. It may have worked in undergrad, but I told myself that procrastination is no longer acceptable as a graduate student. Amazingly (to me), juggling different team projects with individual assignments vastly improved my time management skills. Since the beginning of the program, I’ve done a fairly good job at keeping up with lectures, which means more time to reflect on the things I’ve learnt and less overall stress around exam time.

3. The day may come when I look forward to making presentations.

<What I’ve always said about presentations, “Singing in front of hundreds of people? No problemo! Just don’t ask me to talk. :D”>

In the Philippines during my childhood and teen years, I performed in many social events and in several singing and drama competitions. I love it and I look forward to it, but the key thing is that I’ve done it so many times that it’s become natural. When I think back to my earlier years, it actually took a lot of time and encouragement from my mom and teachers to get me on the stage. My mom had to take time off from her busy work schedule to accompany me to every practice session because I was too shy.

I’ve never particularly liked talking in front of many people, even just in the classroom and especially when it’s not rehearsed because I sometimes lose my English (which isn’t my first language). But now that I’ve a few presentations under my belt (which I forced myself to do even if it was optional), I can say that presenting is really the same as singing in front of an audience. The first time was the most difficult, but it gets easier and easier. Just give myself time to practice enough, and practice in front of my team or another person. Plus, it’s hard not to even try with so many of my supportive classmates cheering me on during presentations.

I look forward to seeing you again in my next post! 🙂

Rachel Lim

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