During my Ecology and Evolution class, we worked on a group project but this was during covid times so we all had to meet online. This proved to be difficult to try to find a time when everyone could meet because during COVID it was really easy to not prioritized school work and really hard to focus at home. We had one group member, especially that was always late to meetings, contributed nothing to the project, always did everything late, and never really was paying attention. We had to guide them through the entirety of the project and basically do all of their work for them. Our final presentation turned out great but not without struggle. We all made efforts to remind the group member of their responsibilities and why it was imperative for us all to work effectivity together. Nonetheless, it really did not seem to work, so we continued to pull our weight and try to actively encourage the other group members to do the same. Finally, we utilized our peer evaluations to explain to the professor how we had struggled as a group to work cohesively. I would change my reaction to having an unproductive group member now to have made efforts to reach out to them during the project and make sure they were okay. You never really know what someone has going on and it is really important to prioritize mental health. Blame is not the right way to handle a bad situation but rather care and support.
My microbiology class presented other issues. We had to construct a project from scratch and every project “we” proposed was shot down by the professor. All of my group members resisted contributing to the project design. I was struggling to come up with ideas and my group seemed to not care. There were several class periods that I would spend trying to find ideas on the internet and they would sit there and stare at me blankly. Finally, I had to call them all out. I was struggling to get anywhere with the project and we were on a time crunch to create the project and gather materials. I basically said that I was tired of being the only one that was contributing significant ideas to the continuation of the project. After that, I saw a significant increase in effort. Sometimes you just have to be able to communicate and be honest about the expectations of a group project paper. Writing in a group setting is hard because making the paper cohesive between four people’s dialogue is nearly impossible. This project has helped me set expectations for group projects in the beginning and be honest about the standards of work. This is important in the workplace because being able to communicate is vital to a well-run dental office. During a standard day you can see 30+ patients and getting them in and out efficiently can make the day a lot less stressful for everyone. However, this is not possible unless there are open lines of communication between the whole staff and the boss.
Immunology has been one of my favorite biology classes I have taken during my time at Longwood. I cannot tell if this is because of the wonderful teacher, my peers, or the intriguing topic. I have attached a link here for my group’s Immunodeficiency Diagnosis Project. This project was half a semester long and consisted of us receiving a case study and then using certain tests (provided by the paper/ revealed to us every week during lab) to determine what the cause was. The tests we used were Flow Cytomery Analysis, ELISA, lymph node biopsy, and gene sequencing and each of them pointed in different directions. I learned during this project that I am very quick to jump to conclusions, especially when trying to diagnose a patient. It was very nice to have such supportive and meticulous group members because they would help pick apart why certain diagnoses were right or wrong.
However, once it was time for us to prepare our presentation I started to notice some areas in which they lacked confidence. We would go back and forth on how the slide looked, how many words to put on the slide, and how to format it. I felt that I had the most expertise in the subject because of my extensive opportunities to create biology-based presentations. However, I knew that if I was knit picky and micromanaged it would cause group tension. Instead of leaving comments on our project, I would wait until we were all together and could communicate openly and effectively as a three-person group. This allowed us all to feel heard and voice our opinions on how the slides should be formatted and what information was most important to include. If we ever disagreed on something it was usually most effective for us to use the work time we had during the lab session to ask our teacher for her opinion. That way we could all be there and understand the reasoning for suggested changes or not. In a higher-level biology class, you take pride in your work and want it to be the best it can be. I learned that you have to always be aware of how your actions and words make other people feel. The way that I find helps me the most is that before I do something I think about how if someone were to leave a passive-aggressive comment on my slide of the presentation, how would I feel? What would I want to be done instead? This social awareness method has best helped me handle how I interact with my coworkers at my current job at Upchurch and when I get the opportunity to work with Dr. Marshall. It ensures everyone is being respected and considered and I think that is something that can make or break a work environment.