Heart racing, ears pounding, ready for the start, I can’t help but think, what good is my oar without my teammates? BLAST! The starting gun goes off and all I hear are eight oars splashing into the water. I dig my oar into the glassy river and a jolt of adrenaline shoots through my core. Despite the intense hardship of these races, I know it’ll all be worth it once I get to cross the finish line with my teammates
Throughout my middle and high school experiences, embracing one’s individual identity and finding what makes you unique was strictly emphasized. This approach is not necessarily wrong, but it causes certain skill sets, specifically those involving teamwork, to be overlooked. In a world that grows more competitive by the day, it can be easy to lose touch with the skills that bring us together rather than push us ahead of our colleagues. The importance of the humanities in this modern setting is emphasized by its ability to develop teamwork skills.
I feel the weight lifting off my chest just when I hear the words, “Okay class, get into groups of 4!” I’ve spent a majority of my time in high school English classes excelling in group projects. These classes easily resonated with me and my identity in ways that other subjects couldn’t through the way it encouraged the sharing and consideration of each student’s unique perspective. Sitting in my American Literature class, I heard my classmates pouring their emotions into the contents of the books we read. As a naturally social person, I was in my element analyzing literature with my table group who grew to become my good friends. In hearing their own interpretations of the assigned materials and adding my own into the mix, I found myself really getting to know them as individuals. Working as a team to understand literature helped us not only become more understanding of others’ views, but to develop the ability to coincide them with our own. This invaluable teamwork skill is one that I still use today to relate to people in classes, at work, and even in my personal life. Like my American Literature class, humanities give you more insightful team skills that are more focused on understanding your team and where you fall into the group while STEM is more like learning how to get a job done.
When I noticed myself drawn towards the classes that focused on team-building through liberal arts, I knew I’d love participating in a team. I was right – the thrill I get from partaking in teamwork-heavy sports like field hockey and lacrosse is indescribable. I still participated in individual sports like swimming and track and field in order to build different skill areas, but I found team based sports mesh with my skill sets on another level. In college, I tried out rowing which is the perfect balance between skills I’ve developed in individual sports as well as team sports. When completely on my own, I veer towards feeling isolated and left out, but being a part of a team makes me feel that I’m wanted, appreciated, and have a purpose. I thrive when I socialize and participate in group settings allowing me to express the extroverted parts of my personality with ease.
Although teamwork skills can often be overlooked they hold a lot of importance, whether it be earning a promotion or saving someone’s life when you least expect it! Every job I’ve had so far has required me to work together with my coworkers. The skills developed in liberal arts classes, like openness to others, self-reflection, and patience, all are invaluable in real life scenarios. Even in others, their impact can be felt. If you understand people’s perspectives and know how to be patient with people you disagree with, you can contribute more to a team than someone who doesn’t have those skills. I know I can depend on my coworkers when I’m having a difficult day to do their part as well as go above and beyond just to make me feel better.
Being able to contribute meaningfully to a teamwork-based setting creates a special bond between others that can be valued above all. Yes, life is not all a group effort, but along the way learning skills through teamwork helps you in all aspects of life and that must not be taken for granted. For this reason, the humanities are important for any person to engage with to improve the quality of their own lives and the lives of those around them.