I want to tell you about two recent experiences I had and how I found they relate to each other. The first one is about a cycling trip I made with other students, and the second one is about a group assignment that ended last week. Let’s start with the cycling trip. There was a social event in an adjacent island called Fårö. To reach it, you have to take a ferry that has a departing point of about 60km northeast of Visby.
When I found out that there was a small group that was going on their bikes, I was immediately interested. I thought it would be a great opportunity to know more about the island and exercise at the same time. It did worry me that the distance was much longer than anything I did before. I usually only cycle to campus and back (about 2km) and 60km seemed too much, even on the “mostly flat” island of Gotland. After a day or two of thinking about it, I decided to embrace the challenge and told the group that I was joining them. Two of them belonged to my programme, so I knew them, but it was the first time I met the rest.
We got together at 8 in the morning and started our journey. Soon, after a short but steep hill, I started thinking that I might be out of my element. I was already getting tired, and we were on the first 5km only. One of the guys, that had the most experience cycling, reassured me by saying that that was the hardest hill we were going to face, so I continued. That wasn’t the last time I got tired and felt like I wasn’t going to make it, but the beautiful scenery, my desire to reach the destination, and, most importantly, the fact that everyone else was still pedaling, prevented me from quitting.
I will rush on the second story so we can get to the important part. On the second assignment that we had, a girl that was part of our group had to travel and lost the first gathering. This made it a lot harder for her to do her part of the work and she became increasingly frustrated. Two days before we had to hand in the document, she told us that she just couldn’t finish her part. After that, the group got together and we help her finish.
So, what’s the point and how do my two stories relate to each other? In both cases, the goal was achieved not on an individual level, but on a group level, even if the individual did most of the work (nobody pedaled for me). This is where fellowship comes to play. Anybody who is next to you pursuing the same thing is a fellow of yours. Even if it doesn ́t develop into a friendship, fellowship has value on its own, and once you have realized that you can actively make the most out of it.
By deciding to be part of a group, be it a cycling group or a master’s degree, you have already taken a big first step: you are putting yourself in a situation where you will have to work alongside many and keep up. The psychological effect of that is tremendous and will help you unleash your potential. A second step can be to take the initiative and ask others (that you regard as competent) to compare works, ask how they did it, or don’t hesitate and simply ask for advice. The girl in our group did and we were all happy to help her. Everyone in the cycling group was also happy to take a break and just chat for a minute if I needed it. Thanks to that, and the other positive components of fellowship, I endedup cycling not the initial 60km, but 83km to reach my destination. I am sure it can help you to get to yours.