Like so many of my fellow students, I hated working in groups in school because I always found myself in one of two groups. Sometimes I would find myself in the group where the cliquey members had a social hour while the others did all the work. Alternatively, I would join the group where everyone just stares awkwardly at each other and little work gets done. As someone who was and is dealing with social anxiety, I was always the one who sat quietly and barely contributed regardless of which throng I was assigned to. This trend began to change when I entered college, as group work began to seem less of a drudgery and more productive.
What is interesting is that I am an engineer, a profession that is built on collaboration. In any engineering project, a number of people of varying disciplines come together to achieve common goals. Project Managers serve as the ringmasters in this circus, with engineers taming the lions of project scope, flying from the trapeze of detailed design, and walking the tightrope of scheduling and construction sequence. From an outsider’s prospective it seems like a miracle that anything comes to fruition from this chaotic mess. However, with the communication between disparate disciplines and proven methods of process, engineers have collaborated to create everything from highway bridges to smartphones.