With an undergraduate background in soil science and land management, it has always been an aspiration of mine to focus on the environmental aspect within this field. Becoming an innovative environmental researcher has been an age-long ambition which has been completed by attending the UK’s only exclusively postgraduate university. As a master’s student studying Environmental Engineering at Cranfield, my dreams of gaining practical and cutting-edge knowledge of ingenious solutions to environmental-related drawbacks have not only been accomplished but have also been enhanced through a diverse experience of the industry. The opportunity became available to work on a group project with Tarmac, the UK’s leading sustainable building materials and construction solutions business. This has been an outstanding, rewarding, and significantly positive step in meeting my individual expectation of applying theoretical knowledge to real-life settings. 

The unprecedented situation currently faced globally may have made this phase of my study take a new turn by bringing the usual face-to-face meetings and normal classroom scenarios to a halt but, nonetheless, the massive support from my colleagues, supervisors, and the school support team has made the experience both memorable and commendable. 

Working in teams has been a challenge for me and this has made me favour the individual modules and assessments much more. I was apprehensive of this phase of my study but was also determined, I made a conscious effort to ensure that I worked effectively in my team which I achieved.  The mandatory participation in this team has positively enhanced my teamwork and communication abilities. I had my high and low moments, times when I was motivated and encouraged with virtual hugs by teammates and was also able to return the favour.

I have been privileged to have successfully worked in a team of four colleagues who started out as amateur users on the ArcGIS software and the Biodiversity 2.0 beta metric tool, and we have all become expert users!  I have improved a lot in my teamwork and communication skills; became more resilient while pushing through and adapting to the new norms; became more tolerant and accommodating to people’s views and opinions; and most importantly, I have learnt how to adapt to changing times. Effective time management is also a great skill I have developed and polished through this group project. The numerous back-and-forth encounters during the project, with the aim of arriving at a balanced conclusion, has made the development of this skill come to fruition owing to milestone deadlines which were adhered to. 

It was a great opportunity carrying out this group project in the most critical of times as it has prepared me to uphold and take on challenging tasks just as it would be in a physical and real-life environment. It has also stirred in me a more empathetic spirit and willingness to give out more love. 

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