When working with other people, you will, without a doubt, have to make changes or adjustments based on these other people. People are complicated, and working with them is complicated. A key trait that is needed to work in any team or group setting is flexibility. Flexibility is not just beneficial when working with teams but also when working on projects for other people.
The idea that we will always get everything right is entirely wrong. The idea that other people are always going to get things right is also wrong. Unfortunately, people often make mistakes, and we will have to deal with them. The ability to change plans or have them changed for you and keep on going is crucial in almost every area of life.
Flexibility is a quality used to describe materials, people, plans, and it means bending easily without breaking. Simply you get tested or stretched, and you don’t break. Breaking during a project is never a good thing, and breaking and taking it out on other people is not good either. Other words that people use are resilience, mobility, openness, and versatility. Having these traits takes you from being stuck in your own ways or own forms of thinking and opens you to new concepts, which is exactly what learning looks like. Sometimes being flexible can mean that you have to do more work, but it makes you an easier person to work with and provides a better environment in general.
I like to think of myself as quite flexible when it comes to plans or projects, and my flexibility was put to the test recently in my capstone project meeting. We are now to the stage where we get to move onto the implementation of our project. My team and I were putting together designs and sketches of what our project will actually look like. We wanted to make sure we were all on the same page and get approval before implementing it from our project sponsors. Well, when we presented our layout to our project sponsor, he had some questions that we did not have the answer to and, after some digging, found out that there had been some miscommunication between what he wanted the process to be and what our design will look like. It was honestly very odd because we had been communicating about this the whole time, talking about what we wanted the process to be how things would be implemented but never before had he said that we were off base. Anyway, after a fair bit of discussion and lots of clarifying questions, we understood what it was that was different and now have a much better picture of what things will look like. Our implementation actually got a little easier and definitely more clear. All of this is helpful, but at that moment, I felt like I had completely missed something or we had not had all the information we needed. At that moment, if I was not flexible, that would not have been nearly as productive as it was. Flexibility has some stress built into it, but how you respond to that stress and pressure is what determines if you break or just bend a little.
When we start our school journey, we usually assume that we will do well and learn anything given the right teacher, which is true. So then why do so many people have trouble in college? Well, they expected that college would be easy or that they won’t need to spend all day studying. The real expectation should be that college is a proving grounds for you and your work ethic, perseverance, and willingness to seek the things you want. We should expect to struggle, fail, and ask for help, but we( including myself) tend to think we can do it all good the first time.
I have been good at school and learning most of my life. This knowledge has helped me be confident enough to take on challenges and come out on the other side while also not getting weighed down with all that I have to do and how much time I have to do it. The issue arises when I expect myself to get it right the first time or get it right away. I have learned that the expectations that we place on ourselves can either motivate us or discourage us. Give yourself a little grace and do your best; sometimes, that won’t be enough, but not trying for fear of not meeting your expectations will cripple you going forward. Expect yourself to put in the effort and to have to learn and grow as you go. I don’t think of myself as a perfectionist, but I do have some tendencies that way, and I found a piece of advice that said doing something half-way is still something done half-way was not doing something because you can’t do it perfectly is still nothing done perfectly. Do what you can and do it the best you can with what you have at your disposal, and adjust your expectations accordingly.
The project I am working on has been fun to research and has helped me to get better at researching and understanding how the design and implementation process can change as you go along. I initially expected to implement our store-page directly into another website, but I currently don’t think that will work how we wanted it to do. I expected to create a tool that would build the web store with a few clicks of a button, but I now see that this is most likely not the case. My expectations allowed me to work and continue in the process until I discovered new information to change my expectations. That is the learning process and what college is all about.
I am looking forward to what my team and I create and what we learn along the way. I expect to be challenged, have to grow, and stay up late a few times, but ultimately I expect that we can do what we set our minds to.
“I don’t know who we’ll become
I can’t promise it’s not written in the stars
But I believe that when it’s done
We’re gonna see that it was better”
Lyrics from Grow as We Go by Ben Platt