After a wonderful first two weeks in the MSTM program we were pretty excited about our team building activities on August 30. This was as a wonderful opportunity to meet and work with more people from our program more closely but also to have lots of fun. The day was divided into two parts; the first part was in the main library and the second part was held at Robert Allerton Park.
We started our day rather early at 9:00 AM. It took us a while to check-in and settle in our chairs. This team building exercise was hosted by Tom Schenck and well supported by the MSTM staff. We were divided in small groups with 7-8 people in each group and begin with our introduction to the team (after all its just the second week in the program and not everyone knows the other members in the group very well) and followed by several short exercises like the value of teamwork and cooperation, getting to know you, the qualities and ground rules of effective study groups, and helping hands. As part of these exercises we were required to talk to our team members and note the points which the team thought were important for a good team. The points captured within each team were later discussed with the whole MSTM group. This activity got over on schedule which was 11:30 AM and the students broke away for lunch. The lunch was arranged in the MSTM office.
The buses were waiting outside Wohlers Hall and we started for Allerton Park at 12:30 PM, shortly after the lunch. The journey was for approximately 30 minutes and many of us (including me) took this as an opportunity to catch a quick nap. We reached Allerton at around 1:00 pm. We merged the members of two teams together to form a bigger team of 14-15 people. Each team was then escorted by a representative from the 4H memorial camp for various activities. My team started with a brief safety introduction from the representative and a quick warm-up exercise.
The first activity we did was called ‘Sardines’ in which we had to put all the team members on a small square platform. We were allowed to talk with the team members to form a strategy first and then we went ahead to try it. The first attempt was pretty impressive with only 2 members failing to get on the platform. In the second attempt, we changed our strategy and were able to successfully fit each member on the platform. There were many other activities and all of them involved moderate physical activity and the 4H camp representative ensured our safety throughout the afternoon.
All the activities were lots of fun and were designed to promote collaboration and team work. We learned the importance of team work to achieve targets which would be difficult to achieve alone. A good plan, leadership, and help from each other were of great importance to achieve goals which is quite true when we work on real life projects as well.
We finished all the activities at around 5 o’clock and were all tired but happy to have spent such a wonderful day making many new friends in such short span of time (which I think that was the whole intention behind this event). By the way, we did not lose the opportunity of quick nap on the way back as well; a nice end to a wonderful day!!