Being a Freshman here at UAB has given me several memorable experiences I will never forget; a few being Freshman move-in, Homecoming, and fun events in the Bartow Arena. UAB has provided me with nothing but joy, but once I heard of the push for team building throughout the curriculum, I was not looking forward to it. One thing I have never liked in school has been group work. Sometimes you have one person bogged down with the responsibility of more work than another student which then becomes unfair. Seeing that several teachers are now engaging in team learning has always struck me as something I dreaded to be involved with. Because of the many efforts put toward these new team environments, they have completely changed my perception of team building in the classroom, and because of it, I have been immersed in a multicultural pool of knowledge and diversity. Seeing each of my classes push forth with some form of team building has helped me to not only continue to work well with others, but to also make new friends and learn about new cultures. With these new environments, I have noticed two very distinct things that have helped me not only to become a better student, but a better person as well.

As stated before, I did not enjoy the thought of collaborative learning. Because of this new team environment, it has given me something to look forward to when attending my Western Civilization course. In this course we have been put into teams that we have had since the first week of school. As a freshman who moved over 100 miles to come to here to UAB, I have very few friends here with me. With this new team environment laid out, my team members have become some of my best friends; not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well. Because of the team environment that UAB has put in place for classrooms across the campus, I have met some remarkable people. Luckily this is just one of the great benefits received from the application of this new environment.

Referring to my Western Civilization course, one of my main concerns of this new team environment was the lack of cohesion throughout the group’s workload. Professor Keitt created a great solution to this concern by having two quizzes for every testing session. Having two quizzes allows you as an individual to get the grade you deserved, but then applying the idea of collaborating learning with teammates afterwards for a group quiz. In this moment, the idea of collaborative learning is introduced which not only helps students, but also the professors. Hearing the same information coming from another’s perspective has proven itself to help me personally gather an in-depth knowledge of the previously taught material.

Having had unpleasant experiences with group projects in the past, I came into this new environment not expecting great things. As I continued to press through my mental block to enjoy this experience, I noticed more and more benefits. Being assigned to these groups gave me an opportunity to reach out to others, make friends, and still get the grade that I deserved. UAB has completely changed my mental perception of working in a team environment, and because of that, I am very appreciative.