I distinctly remember the first day I started the group project, it was also the first meeting with our supervisors and industry client. I remember it so clearly as it was snowing! With the crazy weather outside, we entered the building for our meeting leaving the completely white campus behind us. Once we had finished, the sun was shining as if it hadn’t snowed at all. Either the weather had changed dramatically, or the meeting was really long, we are still unsure!
The Group Project has been an intense two-month period in which I have learnt a lot, as well as having to adapt in this extraordinary situation, as many people around the world are also experiencing. Both at an academic and personal level, the last two months have been very “singular”. Understanding how to manage the situation in a way in which it will positively affect me physically or psychologically. We have had to start working in a different way than was original planned. I would say that even though we have had to make numerous changes, we have not let this stop us completely our main goal of presenting our group project report.
At the start of the project I was excited as I knew that I was going to work with new people from different MSc courses. I was looking forward to learning from them, as we all came from different backgrounds, courses and had different ways of working. In fact, I remember including this as one of the goals on my application form to study at Cranfield University so it had been something I have been looking forward to.
Through my group project experience, I have not only learnt how to deal with different personalities but also how to make sure that everyone has the chance to contribute and in doing this we came up with some interesting ideas! I also learnt that sometimes teamwork could be successful and is a skill that can always be improved. I have also been able to improve my leadership and problem-solving skills as well as my verbal communication and this is the skill I feel I have been able to develop the most. Throughout these two months, I have also been able to complete some interviews and I have found this useful as it has put into practice my ability to handle a real interview situation. I also took some online courses and workshops on LinkedIn Learning and I strongly believe that these were helpful and I was able to contribute to the development of my skills as well.
My experience on the group project, on my personal development has led me to enhance and develop my professional career, and now I feel more prepared for the next stage of the course which is the individual thesis!
Covid-19 has led us to change some of the ways in which we worked towards our Group Project as we had to adapt in order to complete the end of project report successfully. We were lucky to have the three meetings face-to-face, so we know each other in person before we started to work remotely. On 18th of April, we had our first online meeting via WebEx and from this point all the meetings and contact were virtual.
In my humble opinion, I would say that working remotely has had its ups and downs! I am a person who likes to talk and communicate with others, showing them what I am doing and I want my teammates to show me what are they doing, deciding solutions together as I think it is more efficient.
With this in mind, working remotely has really surprised me! By working through a screen, we were able to take advantage of more hours in the day as we no longer had to factor in commuting times onto campus. This has meant that we were able to be more concise and going straight to the point. At the beginning we were unsure how we would find working like this but it ended up being a good option, well… the only one, but in the end we were happy!.
At the moment I’m living in Cranfield village – I’m not planning to travel back to Spain any time soon – and I have to say that I can’t complain a lot when it comes to working from home. Most of the days have been sunny and I have taken advantage of that by working in my garden!
My experience working with a real industry client has been positive as well. The group project I was working on was “Future Innovations in the Agricultural and Environmental Engineering in the UK”. It was sponsored by The Douglas Bomford Trust which is a charity registered in 1972, who aim to support the development of young engineers and invest in research in the field of agricultural engineering and mechanisation.
The trust was lovely to work with as they were helpful and encouraging us in the same way that our supervisors did. I’m glad that I was in this group for the project as I have learnt new concepts and methods of how to work, as well as the topic, was really interesting and new for me, as I focus more on food technology.
It is true that sometimes it doesn’t come out perfect first time, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from it. Seeing my group, work as a team to face and solve obstacles together, I feel is the essence of working in a group. I feel proud that I have achieved what I set out to do at this stage. The conclusion I will take away from this experience is, that no matter what happens, you can always do what you set out to achieve.
And now, as I said before, I feel eager and prepared for the next phase which is starting… the individual thesis! Wish me luck!!