Well well, there is a winner! The number of submissions were above all my expectations, thanks you all! I have selected the top5 of submissions, by giving value to your stories. I gave a mark from 0-10 for the story, a mark from 0-5 for the tips and one more point if you had tweeted about it. I ended up with 5 entries, I gave them a number (from 1 till 5) and put it in Random.org. The winner there was number one, which equals: Nick Daniels from New Zealand.

I am going to publish what he wrote here, so you can all see why he was one of the last five. It is a long story, but worth reading it!

“This story of cooperation hails back about 10 years to my days at University. It is part confession, part life-lesson, part advice. I studied Computer Science at university. So did 3 of my closest friends. We had the same classes, the same lectures, the same coursework, the same everything. We studied together at university, hung out together out of school and partied together both inside and outside of school. None of this is bad, but the fact that we were all arrogant smartasses was. We were rude to just about everyone and so tight-knit that anyone that did want to get to know us, couldn’t.

Our Database Design paper had a ‘team project’ component to it. There was a minimum of 6 people required for each team for the work to be accepted. There were only 4 of us and suddenly the joke was on us. No one wanted to be in our group due to the collective personality disorder that the 4 of us seemed to share when we were together.  Once all the other students had picked their teams, the 4 of us were left standing by ourselves, not knowing what to do next. Our lecture, whether out of pity or favour, assigned ‘Jeff’ to our group and told us quietly that 5 people would suffice for our team. In an act of both stupidity and ungratefulness we all complained to each other that ‘its BS, we cant work with him’. We didn’t seem him for the blessing he would turn out to be.

We didn’t have anything against Jeff as such. He was about 15 years older than us, always had a smile on his face, always greeted us with a pleasant ‘hello’, but unfortunately that seemed to be about the limit of his English. Jeff was from China and his grasp of the English language was pretty poor. We all set out one night to meet at my house to begin our team project. The 4 of us met up at my house and we were waiting for Jeff to turn up before beginning. When the door knocked, everyone seemed to let out a collective groan of dismay at the fact of having to try and communicate with Jeff for the next few hours.

Things were going well (or so it seemed) and we were having some good discussion about our project and some concepts for it. Well the 4 of us were… I began to notice that every time Jeff tried to speak up with an idea, one of our colleagues ‘Robbo’ would make a blatant effort to speak over the top of him. I can only surmise that he did this to halt Jeff from trying to speak his ideas in a slooooow drawl of pigeon English in a heavy Chinese accent. Jeff would speak, Robbo would interrupt, Jeff would speak, Robbo would interrupt. It was like a terrible game of verbal tennis. Each time he was interrupted, Jeff’s face would get redder and redder and redder. Finally the inevitable happened and Jeff unleashed a very loud torrent of what I assume were Chinese insults and swearwords at Robbo. All our jaws dropped in amazement and Jeff started to cry.

It was pretty unpleasant having an older guy who we didn’t really know, crying in my house. It was pretty embarrassing for me and I dare say Jeff was pretty hurt. I took him aside for a quiet word and asked him ‘what was wrong’. Pretty stupid question in hindsight, as it was pretty obvious why he was upset. What Jeff told me though, blew my socks off. All the time he was trying to speak, he was trying to tell us that his spoken English was very poor, but his written was excellent. Jeff suggested that whilst we continue to discuss our project, he will write down his responses and input for our perusal. We spoke, he wrote and it all seemed to come together nicely. The night ended with Jeff and Robbo shaking hands and all 5 of us happy that we had completed the bulk of our design work.

Marking time came for the assignment and we got a B for our paper. Not brilliant, but for us 4 ratbags this was a pretty good result. Jeff was a bit disappointed as he was used to getting higher marks but I think he realised that it was a good result considering the circumstances. That night all 5 of us went out to the pub for a beer. Jeff even cracked a couple of jokes in English that he had been practicing.

So, what lessons can be learned from all of this? Don’t judge something solely on its weakness alone. Whilst it seemed Jeff had nothing to say, this was far from true. He just couldn’t say it in the same way we did. There is strength within everyone and once you identify it, you will often find that your weakness compliments their strength and vice versa.

Working as a team also requires patience. Everyone has different opinions and different means of applying themselves. Sometimes these quirks might annoy you and drive a wedge between your team members. Apply patience and realise that people are different. The benefits of working as a team are that each person can contribute in their own ways to form a collective that is better than the individual. Sounds a bit like communism, but I’m saying this from experience.

The 4 of us all seemed to wise-up to the fact that being a smart alec will get you nowhere with other people and we all started to be nicer to everyone. Our grades improved too. We saw Jeff around University a bit following this project. He always smiled when he saw us. Cheers Jeff, I hope you are doing well in life mate.”

So, that is Nick his story. There were more stories, a lot of cool stories I really enjoyed reading. With all the tips you have sent me I can really put some cool posts together. Thanks again. I hope you’ve all liked the contest and I hope you may return to StudySuccessful sometime. If you have any questions, regarding to the contest or not, don’t hesitate to send them to author@studysuccessful.com!

This giveaway is over for StudySuccessful.com, but isn’t over for HP! There are still 21 websites who are running this contest! Good luck over there guys!

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