Imagine being the highly thought of students in the class and not even realising that your fellow classmates don’t have as many resources to complete the same task. Imagine being so distracted by your own successes to not even notice the downfall and unfair treatment to those who are sitting less than 5 metres away from you. Last weeks values workshop opened my eyes to the day to day struggles that people face within life.
After being split into 5 groups we were each given a “resource pack”. We were all asked to create something that may be helpful for a fresher. The pack my group (group 2) was given was bursting with materials which gave us a range of opportunities to create anything we wanted to. Along with a great deal of encouragement when we discussed our ideas with the lecturer we felt that we were already succeeding before we even began.
After having a brief discussion in our groups we were asked to present our ideas to the class. Group 1 had come up with the idea of a “free parking badge”, the lecturer loved it and gave them a huge amount of praise. It was our group next, our idea was more for humour rather than something genuinely useful but yet we still got a massive praise for it. Group 3 designed a “buddy app”, somewhere you could easily chat to people and ask questions about the university. It was deemed not good enough by our lecturer.
Group 4 presented the idea of “meet up nights” for people to get to know other people on their course and make friends. Unimpressed looks and comments were made by the lecturer about this idea and we swiftly moved on to the next group. Group 5 designed a map, it had plenty of information about Dundee and about the university, something that would probably be helpful. Unfortunately, our lecturer thought it was a terrible idea and the group was shamed for it.
By this point of the task, the room was tense and uncomfortable, we couldn’t understand why we received so much praise and other groups got none at all. We felt like we had come up with a groundbreaking invention due to the way we had been treated.
All the groups were back to work to create physical props of the ideas that were previously discussed. Once again group 1 and 2 were highly credited and groups 3,4 and 5 were not impressive at all. The group scored also reflected this, with group 1 scoring the highest and group 5 scoring the lowest.
Soon after there was a class discussion about the poor treatment of groups 3,4 and 5 and we then discovered that they had actually been given fewer resources. It soon became clear that this was nothing more than a mere social experiment. A hard-hitting one at that though because it is true that not everyone has the same advantages in life. This workshop has taught me to focus more on my surroundings and to be more aware of deeper issues that may not always be visible on a first glance.
It is highly important in the profession that I am going into to treat everyone equally. It is so easy to ruin what little confidence a person may have in themselves, therefore, it is pivotal to learn to understand people’s backgrounds and past experiences and promote any achievement as small as it may be. This workshop truly took a turn for me and was definitely not something I was expecting. However, I do feel it was something truly powerful to be able to experience at such an early stage in my career.