Friday, August 31st marked the beginning of MSTM 2013 -- our first activity of Frontiers in Technology. The soft, tingling morning breeze coupled with glimmers of sunshine was setting an ideal atmosphere. Several individuals came early to get their share of morning coffee in BIF. Fresh new faces came in colorful T’s and matching sneakers, conversing with the people they knew from class. After spending a few relaxing moments enjoying the sun-bathed lobby in BIF, many groups slowly made their way into Wohler Hall as the clock was indicating the assigned time.
When I signed my name on the attendance sheet, I found that graduate tracks had been assigned to the previous summer groups. I was glad to work together with my group once again. On the other hand, this was one of the first time advancement track students worked in group. Much to our surprise, the speaker informed us that we would learn the importance of team management in the room, not going out in the open straight away as many of us probably would have expected. The session was not the conventional informational session including much interactions and engaging sessions that allowed us to know our group better, including as setting common goals and utilizing personal forte for effective teamwork. I am confident to say that in the three hours we spent, we were reminded of the importance of team building.
After the morning session and a short break, we were finally on the bus to Allerton Park. When we arrived, we are welcomed by fresh air and vast green meadows as far as the eyes can see. Many of us were concern by the bad weather forecast, but soon our worries were washed away by the serenity and innocence of the view before us. We were provided with a hearty lunch in the open. Having a meal with people on the same academic program really encouraged conversation and ideas sharing. This was a particular part that I really love about team building.
The team building activities themselves are separated into seven activities in total, which are giant roller, tires, balance, the walls, ‘Tarzan’ swing, block and spiders. My group was quickly assigned to work with one other advancement track groups to complete the challenges with the guidance of one friendly instructor. As we brainstormed ideas to accomplish our goal, we were reminded on the importance of working with people of differing technical backgrounds and building trust.
As we bid adieu to the Allerton Park and alighted on the bus for our way home, I could see that many of the students were exhausted but mentally satisfied. That day we had come and bonded with new friends and yet we were able to work together and value each others' opinions. We learnt the value of trust and teamwork. We shared the laughter and we supported each others' backs. Most importantly, we found family that we can count on, the MSTM family.