Tag Archives: Student Spotlight

Becoming a Leader in Group Projects

Check out this week’s Student Spotlight blog post  from Monica Lizarazo. Monica is an international student studying English. Group projects are never easy, but stepping up to take a leadership role within your group can be very rewarding. Monica shares three concepts that spark successful group leadership. 

Becoming a Leader in Group Projects

We all want to be a leader at some point in our lives, and it may be more important to want to be a leader while in college. You feel you need to lead group projects, participate a lot in your classes, explain lectures to other classmates or listen to your teacher, hey! Great job. All of these are signs you are loving that course. Thus, do not stop or get frustrated because your group does not work as well as you would like. Remember, leadership could be harder when you share different cultures, ages, and backgrounds. The key is to train your native leader to manage team-work based on three concepts: empathy, problem-solving, and synergistic communication.

If you are already in charge of a group, the first step you should study is empathy. This skill means to approach to the others’ thoughts; colloquially, being in others´ shoes. Consider that a project´s success will not be measured by the number of directions you could give to your classmates. This depends on how understanding you can be with them because they struggle as much as you do, but; you are their leader. Think in some questions such as who is my group? What are their other roles? Do they work or are they only students? Are they Americans or from another country? What are their majors? As much as you know your partners, you will get good ideas about their capacity and interest in the project to do the best team-work.

Besides understanding your team, if something falls on the way, you should never blame someone. You make them work together to figure out possible solutions, you are the problem solver. One more question is, ask yourself in silence to think better, what happened? Why did not we understand our goal? What are our options to fix it? Looking for someone to blame won’t help you, but it will make you waste time. Mohandas Gandhi said, “As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him” (qt Borton). If she or he did not send their part of the assignment; well, you are the leader. Did you have a plan b? For example, if you know who they are, you may have known she or he works and has a family (husband, wife or children). It meant they could not get on time to the presentation. Did you ask him how she or he was doing? Try always to be the problem solver and move on. Sometimes, they just need some support and they will do as much as they can.

Likewise, communication implies different levels and synergy infers to transmit a message from the receiver’s world. You cannot assume they understood your ideas only because you talked or wrote about it. You need to figure out how they communicate to create your own proper ways of communication. For example, if one of them learns by listening, you should verbally explain and call her or him. If the person does not speak English as a first language, you explain and email her or him. The synergistic communication allows you to make the others feel an important part of the group dynamic because you are giving a message in a way they enjoy. You will see you are a synergetic communicator when the project is done. Keep in mind, you are their leader, you need to take the initiative and work with your team.

Identification, solutions and active communication are keys to help you become a respectable leader. Although there are diverse leadership styles, you should choose one that best reflects your personality. However, you would not forget to enjoy the process because you are still in college. While you are studying, you have the right to make many mistakes that in real life may have bigger consequences. Your errors will always make you a better professional and human being. I loved to be the chief in charge when I studied my bachelor’s degree in Colombia. Now, I am starting over, so I am the listener.

Work Cited
Morton, Brian. “Falser Words Were Never Spoken”, published in The New York Times, 29 Aug. 2011. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/opinion/falser-words-were-never-spoken.html. Accessed 12 Mar. 2019.

Student Spotlight: My Educational Journey

This week’s student spotlight comes from NOVA Online student, Geofrey as he shares about what he has learned through his educational journey at NOVA.

I have learned from experience, that education never ends, has no age limit and can benefit all persons who choose to further their knowledge in different fields and aspects of life. I’m a Ugandan-American and unlike many of my college-mates at Nova, I was not born in the US nor went to high school here. Also unlike my college friends, I’m a bit on the “older side” to be taking classes with them at this point. Being in your thirties and taking classes with eighteen to twenty year-olds used to feel funny, but the environment and professors at campus are so welcoming, friendly and always willing to help. I have gotten used to going to classes without feeling ashamed or embarrassed of my extended age. I found out that no one really cares about yours or my age. My busy life has had me take classes off and on for the last few years without a definite end in sight, and I’d love to share two aspects that have helped me blend in as an older enthusiastic outsider.

Make Goals

Believing, determination and having a concrete vision is key. I always knew that I needed to complete my education and earn my degree, but was never fully vested in doing the work and getting it done. Time goes fast when you procrastinate. Making realistic goals, checking on my progress and seeking for ways to balance my education with family and work life to better focus on earning my degree has been key. I knew that if I didn’t make goals, there would be nothing to look forward to and therefore wouldn’t see a need to work hard. So, I made goals and made plans to achieve them.

Stay Positive

No one is looking, and if they are, they are on your side. Even though I knew I had what it took to be successful, my first classes at Nova were filled with a bit of self-doubt. Am I too old, will I fit in, what will they say; were questions in my head. Staying positive, asking questions and making new friends were key to gaining confidence on my college career. So, the best way for me was finding those things that made me relevant, making friends and consulting with my career counselor as much as I could. Soon or later my doubt was gone and I was part of a family. This happens to almost everybody, but the key is to stay positive and optimistic. The system is set up to help you and you alone- utilize it and you’ll be just fine!

Interested in submitting a post for our NOVA Online blog? Contact elistulife@nvcc.edu for more information.

NOVA Online Student Spotlight

The Be SAFE Around Water Campaign

My name is Abigail and I am a competitive swimmer, swim coach, and lifeguard. Teaching people, particularly children, how to swim is my passion. Drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 15. By educating children on what to do if they fall in the water we could play a part in saving lives. I visited over 200 kids at various organizations, such as church and VBS groups, and gave my presentation.

The Be SAFE Around Water Campaign is designed to give children simple steps to follow if they fall into water. I created an acronym of the word “safe” to give children something easy to remember.

Be Safe Around Water (002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be SAFE Around Water

Stop. When you approach water stop and look around for an adult or lifeguard. If no one is around then do not enter the water or go near the edge of the water.

Ask. If you accidentally fall into the water call out and ask for “help” as loud as you can.

Float & kick. Kick your feet and get your head above the water. Then push your belly up and lay on your back so that you are floating. Then kick your feet to the nearest wall or land.

Exit. Exit the water and go tell an adult or lifeguard what happened.

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