Team MSPP Midterms: Mission Possible

Posted on October 16,2013 by aliatmspp

With all of the excitement around Boston sports teams recently, I was inspired to think about collaboration and teamwork à la MSPP. And no, this is not a post regarding good luck beards or other talismans.

It’s a lovely fall Saturday morning, around 11 am. Some 20 students or so stream out of a classroom where a review session has just taken place. Some are trying to digest the material. Others are thinking about which marathon – ‘Law & Order: SVU’ or ‘Sex in the City’ – to commit to for the day. Curiously, there’s a group of students still in the classroom. No, they’re not refreshing Twitter to see what Miley’s up to. And they’re not just waiting to hit up the coffee machine. Instead, this group is asking questions of each other, working together in continuing to review.

My history with study groups is marked by massive amounts of comfort food and questionable efficiency. From all accounts, this was different. There were minimal snacks, there was focus, and there was a common goal: review this material until there’s mastery, or at least, proficiency. For the record, I missed this extra peer-run review session due to a previously scheduled engagement, and I was nervous about this test. However, between this session and the exam, classmates who were privy to my anxiety about the test sought me out and helped me study, building from the foundational knowledge that they had amassed together that Saturday afternoon and answering my questions. What I gained from it was feeling like my classmates and I really are on the same team. Thanks to their encouragement, combined with the patience of our instructor and TA, I was able to walk away from the midterm experience feeling good about it.

And to be honest, this collaboration isn’t just found between classmates. While working with a particularly challenging client, I presented some of my concerns to an instructor who helped me to problem solve, brainstorming some ideas to try in sessions. Former NFL player and Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi is quoted as having said, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Although it’s still early in my MSPP career, I am relieved to know that this concept is embraced by the folks at MSPP, from first-year students to full time instructors.