I did not expect that to come, following with embarrassment, anger and disappointment. That was my worst experience of group work in the past twenty-one years. Right before the Movement Control Order (MCO) was conducted, I was involved in an exhibition for BG201 – Business Law – Malaysian Perspective January 2020 intake. My group’s booth is showcasing about Optical Act 1991. It is an act that regulate the pattern of eye care in Malaysia. I was a presenter at the booth during the exhibition and was in charge of explaining our topic to the visitors of our booth, including the judges of the exhibition. During preparation, I also designed one of the poster for our topic.
That was my first experience to be involved in an exhibition with booth set up. During the preparation, there were lots of conflicts and chaos brought up due to the huge group of thirty members and ineffective communication during distribution of tasks and follow up by the leader. All thirty members came from different batches of students from Bachelor of Optometry, with variable tight academic and practical schedule and reluctance to mingle with other batches. Everyone remained sullen and stressed up for the preparation. Luckily, we still managed to complete the PowerPoint slides, poster, video, decorations, set up of booth and portfolio on time. I thought things were getting better.
It was finally the decisive day to assess whether our effort paid off for good assignment grade. By 7 a.m., in the entrance hall of Block G, the exhibition team did great in getting a perfect spot for our booth besides the wonderful set up with fairy lights, posters, digital displays and all sorts of adorable DIY decorations. I was really amazed by their work. Our booth was notable because of their effort and creativity.
All members are divided into five groups to attend for five sessions of exhibition while others went to class. Those who were in charge of the booth for the particular session of exhibition were exempted from class. We set up two laptops at our booth, displaying slideshows based on our topic, and video of the making of our exhibition. It enhanced the visitors’ impression and understanding of our topic while listening to cheerful explanation from my fellow presenters. We also prepared a quiz game based on the presenter’s explanation to encourage visitors to inquire more on our topic. A free lens cleaning pack with a lens spray and lens wiping cloth was rewarded to one that answered correctly. After demonstration of the Optical Act 1991 by the presenter in charge of the session, the visitors were encouraged to join the game. The free gift was quite an attractive reward. They could spin the prize wheel for once to determine the question to be answer or the lucky one may be exempted from quiz and get the prize directly. The cheerful and lively atmosphere at the booth had attracted quite a lot of visitors. The free gifts were out of stock at the end of the exhibition. The response was promising and everything was going well.
The long-awaited judges casually walked in the evening and visited the first booth for evaluation. The people were tensed with a bit of excitement by their presence. Whispering of the crowd and the neighbouring presenter’s practice with lowered voice were stressing me up all of a sudden. I tried hard to calm down and went through my scripts while waiting for the judge. There she came with marking scheme, I confidently approached her with a bright smile and started introducing our topic after handing her the evaluation sheet prepared by the portfolio team. She suddenly asked for the evaluation sheet. I was astonished as I had given it to her but then she said that the most important page for her to record the score was missing. She asked us to print it and leave for the next booth. My mind was blank for few seconds and then arising anger forced me to curse and slap that careless and irresponsible person in mind. That was really embarrassing. I could feel the heat that spread from ear to cheek and then neck. I bet I was blushing a lot. I somehow managed to hold my temper for the time being and had one of my member of the session to rush to the school photocopy shop to print the sheet immediately. I got another member to inform all group members in Whatsapp group and I was really disappointed by the cold response from the rest of the group. I still do not receive any apology from that person until now. I really hope I will never meet such member again!
Two guys from the session volunteered to invite the judge back to our booth which somehow relieved my tension. The girls kept on comforting me so I was able to refresh my mind for the next presentation. When the judge came back, I approached her with the same bright smile and brought her attention to our poster, video and slideshow, followed by brief introduction of the Optical Act. When I further explained the content of the act and the sections that we selected to present, my confidence boost up along the way and I started to talk about extra things aside from my script while answering the judge’s question. She kept on asking and nodding her head while I kept on answering until we both stopped at certain point. I invited her to try our quiz and she got the correct answer and free gift certainly. All members of the session expressed gratitude for her visit and she left for another booth. Mission completed while the weight on my heart disappeared. She seemed satisfied with us but I believed that the booth set up helped a lot. For my presentation, I considered I totally nailed it!
To mark the end of the assignment, we took a group photo with the judge and cleaned up the booth. During the assignment, while everyone stressed up, I understood about others’ working pattern and whether they really care about the work and others’ feeling. I personally pinned down those dedicated ones and those really knew how to perform well for any future group work. I also found out about their pattern of cooperation and leadership which might allow me decide who shall be a better choice for group work to avoid unnecessary dispute. In short, group work surely is definitely the perfect screening for trustworthy friends and colleagues.