This is in fact the second time we participated in the ThinkQuest competition (third time for Qiao Yu). We learnt much from last year, but this year, we benefited even more. Because this year, we not only got to know each other better, but we also matured more. Through our blunders and experiences in the process, we learned many lessons, including the importance of leadership, cooperation, and time management in a team.
Prior to the ThinkQuest competition, most of us were “friends,” but we did not truly know each other. From working side by side on this project, we started to see each other for who we truly were. Sometimes, this sparked some fights among group members. For example, our group almost broke up when QiaoYu and Lea had a heated argument. They had different values and beliefs, so misunderstandings between them grew until finally they could not bear each other anymore. The conflict lasted for almost a week, and barely any work was done, since they were both critical members of the group. They would not talk to each other in school and during group meetings on Windows Live Messenger they would argue with each other. The rest of the members were not sure of what to do either, since helping one would be taking sides, and nobody was actually wrong; it was just a case of miscommunication. During that time, most of us were under stress because of both ThinkQuest and the overwhelming amount of work given by school, so fights naturally broke out. After the fight was over, and they made up with each other, harmony was restored, and we learned to understand and accept each other. The bond between us grew stronger as we knew each other more, and now we can truly call each other “friends.”
We have gained valuable experience through this competition too. By working for the team, we acquired traits such as tolerance, perseverance, and responsibility. As mentioned above, we learned to tolerate each other as we got to know more about each other. We were able to work together and discuss with each other more efficiently after we accepted each other for who we were. ThinkQuest requires a lot of time and effort, and many times, we were on the edge of giving up because of large amounts of homework and the conflicts among the members. What kept us going was the determination to continue with the project, and this trait that will aid us in future assignments too. We also gained a sense of responsibility in the course of this project. We all had different roles, so if one person does not finish the job well, the others were also dragged down. Albert mostly did the research and made the outlines, QiaoYu wrote the rough drafts from the outlines, Lea did the main writing and editing, Shuwen translated the website into Japanese, and Hubert and Ian did the main website design. There were times when a member made blunders that affected the rest of the chain. For example, Albert made some errors in organizing the outline for solutions, which in turn led to QiaoYu being confused with the information. In the end, “Solutions” was a mess that required a lot more effort to untangle and slowed down the entire group. From this, we learned that responsibility is essential.
During the beginning of our project, we were still a bit disorientated. We did not know what to do, or where to start, which was why we needed good leadership to get going. However, at the time, our leader, QiaoYu was still not very experienced as a leader, so many of us were slightly confused as exactly what to do, since only vague instructions were given. As the project progressed, though, he gained experience, and the group worked more efficiently. We realized how an experienced leader is vital to the smooth running of a group. We also discovered the importance of unity and cooperation in a group. The importance was especially evident when QiaoYu and Lea had that large fight. Before, when their relationship was good, the group worked with great efficiency, but after the fight, almost no work was done. Also, the importance was shown when we worked together as a group near the end of the competition. Work that usually took days was finished in just a few hours, which clearly displayed the power of cooperation. One especially important lesson was time-management.