After completing my first semester with my most of my cohort, I was unsure about stepping out of that group to take an elective this summer. Being that I have yet to take the Negotiations course, I had yet to acquire the skills to convince others to join me in the summer elective I found most relevant to my goals and interests. Once I was able to login to the class website, I saw NO familiar names and thought the worst: the fear of having to introduce yourself to another group of strangers is the stuff on sleepless nights--ice breakers can be the worst! Would I be the last kid picked for the team? But then I remembered that I'm at the Simmons School of Management and nothing here is ever that bad! After the first day of class, I was right-- it wasn't bad at all! Plus, venturing out of your original cohort (and your comfort zone) offers opportunities for growth and a fresh start.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: business school isn't just about learning sales techniques or financial ratios (although those are very important things to learn)--it's also about leadership and teamwork. Most of the classes at the SOM involve a team project to practice those exact skills. During my first semester in the SOM, I had two classes with one semester team project in each. The team projects allowed me to get to know my colleagues outside of the classroom and work on some with very interesting ideas and concepts from class, but most of all, I learned a lot about myself: my leadership style, how I handle pressure, and most of all, how I can improve using feedback from my teammates.
The natural next step from the completion of one project is to move on to the next, just as you would in the "real world". And in the real world, we have to adjust to whatever circumstances we are presented with without sacrificing the quality of our work. We don't always get to pick our team, deadlines, or budget--we've got to be work well under so many unknowns! But with practice comes perfection (or at least an increased level of confidence) in these precarious situations, and that's why we're here at the SOM!
So far my decision to step out of my comfort zone, away from the people I've gotten to know over a semester has been challenging but has also been an exercise of growth and an opportunity to make new connections. So far I've been able to work with students from the MBA program at different stages of the program as well as students in the MSM, Healthcare MBA, GLSIS, and Social Work programs as well! I'm also conscious of what I'm trying to improve in myself and am trying to apply positive actions to be better, while also picking up new tricks, like incorporating a team contract to keep everyone accountable and on track!
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be daunting at first, but it's a step we all took when we decided to submit our applications to the SOM. And look where that's gotten us! Just think of how much farther we can go!