Today, I am thankful for how I am running out of things to be thankful for.
Just kidding. Or at least, mostly so.
While I am somewhat thankful for that, as it makes me think that much more about each day’s events, I am more specifically thankful for group projects.
I think that, as a rule, I just don’t do group projects. As someone who often lives inside his own head, goes by the beat of a different drummer, and whatever idiom you might be able to think of to describe persons such as myself, I hate group projects. It’s my nature. Groups terrify me. Whenever I see a mass of people, I also see Waco, Texas. Or a crowd of lemmings running off a cliff. I like to hide inside my safe illusion of “independence”, whatever that actually means.
But today, I think I finally learned how to love groups and group projects, or at least, learned to not completely hate them.
That said, please understand that this love, or tolerance, was almost entirely born out of desperation.
See, the group project in question was for my PSY 330 class, or “Applied Psychological Statistics”, which is every bit as frightening as it sounds. My group partner Lydia and I went over simple concepts such as “case summaries”, “replacing missing values”, “recoding”, and so forth. My eyes darted across pages in my textbook, running across words that had no meaning or significance whatsoever. I might as well had been reading Hieroglyphics. And I can’t remember at what point this occurred, but Lydia and I both came to the conclusion that neither of us knew anything about the project.
Once the two of us reached this conclusion, we hurriedly consulted our group supervisor, who came to our rescue. To make a long, two hour story short, we finally finished the assignment and turned it in, even though I’m still not entirely sure what we did exactly.
The point that I am trying to make is that, in group projects, or at least the good ones, we realize that we aren’t alone. For the longest time, and even a bit to this day, I have always felt mentally challenged. I got tested for ADD towards the end of high school and was diagnosed as having Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, and being a candidate for Asperger’s Syndrome. Those are big words, and whether or not they actually have any significance to my life is, in my humble opinion, yet to be seen.
But! In group projects, I find that I’m not the only person on this planet who feels like an idiot. It’s comforting to know that you’re not the only one who’s clueless. I wonder how many of us who confidently stroll through our days with a swing in our step really know what in the world we are doing. Call me crazy, but I find a little bit of beauty in how we’re all tuned a little closer to the same frequency than perhaps we’d like to think.
I find beauty in our cluelessness because it opens the doors to honesty, which leads to community. I’ve heard a great deal about “community”, both as a precursor to the word “college” and as a descriptor for the life that should be. What if, in our “ignorance”, whatever that actually is or looks like, we were all a little more honest with one another about where we stand, so that we might each get to our respective destinations a bit faster?
It certainly worked for me on an “Applied Psychological Statistics” group project. Which, in my mind, means that it probably could work for just about anything. Perhaps it won’t work on all things, but what’s to stop us from at least trying? I think we all could be a little more open with one another.
It is for these reasons that I am thankful for group projects. For cluelessness. For the honesty that comes from that. What are you thankful for today?