By Marley He 

On Sept. 2nd Wednesday, we had our first Career Life Connection 12 class, a course designed to identify each of our personal interests, passions and goals in both our school and community. Also, for us Grade 12s, Ms. Fortin, our new principal would work with us to complete the graduation program. 

As the bell rang, Ms. Fortin walked into the classroom with light steps and motivated us with an activity— it has something to do with two bags of marshmallows! While delivering the materials, she asked us to form into groups of 4. The rules were as follows: student A was responsible to check the draft of the expected model and describe it to student B, in which the latter then organized the information and passed to student C. Finally, student D, with his eyes covered, was guided by student C and slowly worked to build the model with a bunch of toothpicks and marshmallow.  

We were asked to complete four different models with students rotating their roles each time. A 30 second time limit was set; however, in the first round, most of us failed to complete the solid triangle. As we got more familiar with the process, the teams worked much more smoothly.  

From this activity, we saw the importance of teamwork. Obviously, we can’t complete the models separately due to the individual limitations. When we overcome complex task or insufficient resources, it requires participants to work together with cooperative spirits and full sense of respect. When I asked about the secret of the team with the most completions, they said encouragement from the peers was really important to the producer, the one under the highest pressure. “Don’t stress him to meet the time limit. Remember you’re working as a team; each of you has equal responsibility on any second used or wasted.” They added, “The members should also control themselves from being too aggressive. Remember to focus on work that is only within your duty. If you’re overzealous, others are left without work. Though a strong effort is appreciated, they may ignore the problem and keep requiring you to continue solving it, which will interrupt you from finishing the initial duty. That’s where the disputes and complaints come from.” Moreover, the marshmallow activity sends us to seek our full potential. In the self-reflection part after the activity, one of us shared about her challenges as student A; previously she’d avoid becoming a leader, but under the demand, she was surprised to find herself being comfortable in guiding people. “Though we didn’t finish first, I am still proud of my team. They are all good listeners and executors, which builds my confidence to give them instructions and suggest improvements. I’d like to try more positions of leadership in future activities.”