- This post was written by Sarah Lundgren -
It’s not working.
The “it” that isn’t working can apply to a lot of different situations. Maybe you tried to make cookies in the microwave of your dorm room at 2 a.m. and it’s proving that they are definitely not as good. Maybe you’re in a relationship that is in a rapid decline. Maybe you’re slowly realizing that it’s February, and the New Years resolution you swore to keep last month is probably not going to happen.
Or maybe, something you had better expectations for feels like it’s falling apart right in your hands.
Let’s start small scale: How many times have you instantly deflated when a teacher or professor handed out an assignment and said, “This is going to be a group project!” I know I have, and a large part of that is because a lot of the time, the things I perceive as reasonable and ordinary are not what everyone else perceives as reasonable and ordinary -- meaning that group projects can become a grandiose clashing of heads.
But I’m in my mind, and they’re in theirs, and sometimes it’s hard to realize that.
This leads to frustration, right? If the project is big enough, it leads to irritatingly sitting across the table from a friend or at your desk with your roommate or (if it’s really that bad) on the phone with your parents, tensely saying things like, “They’re just not responding to the group message. It would be so much easier if they just would.” or “They came up with this terrible idea and I hate it and I’m not sacrificing my grade for this.” or, if it’s bad enough, “I’m getting a new group. I give up. This is ridiculous.”
You’re exasperated and exhausted, and that’s okay.
The Superhero Project is in it’s first year at UNC-Chapel Hill. Because of this, we’re still learning the rules for visiting the hospital, being a nonprofit, delegating assignments and working with each other.
It’s undoubtable that the each member of the executive committee (really, everyone in the organization) is here for a reason. Jack created the organization during one of the most vulnerable times of his life and the compassion that he has shows. Ellie is one of the most organized people I know, as well as one of the most caring. Sam is witty and personable, Lexi is kind and logical. Lahari is unbelievably talented and charitable, and Alex is a quick-learner who could probably teach everyone in the executive committee something about leading an organization.
We all bring different things to the table — things that have both helped the organization and contributed to conflicts. There’s no question about that. For me, I think that I’m well-written and can think of new ideas semi-easily. I also think that I shy away from conflict within the organization and use weird/bad humor when I feel like things are tense.
And sometimes, being a director for The Superhero Project feels like one long, drawn-out group project. It’s tiring, sometimes you feel like you don’t think you can work with these people anymore and sometimes you just think about when it will end.
But The Superhero Project isn’t a group project and it will work. Because it’s bigger than us, or at least it’s trying to be. If you were to ask any member of the executive committee what they want from this organization, no one would say “a resume builder.” We might say that we want a new, creative outlet for children, or maybe that we want to make the hospital experience a bit brighter for those at N.C. Children’s.
No matter what our exact reason would be, we’re trying. And sometimes, that’s all we can ask from each other.
In moments of frustration, from me or from others, I’ve never been overly worried about the status of the organization. I have complete faith that it’ll prevail. And in the event it doesn’t, I know that working in the organization has made a lasting and positive impact on me. And that’s not something that I want to give up easily — I am sure it will prevail because I’m going to make it a mission for it to prevail.
I’ve never given up on a group project because I knew my grade depended on it, no matter how sure I was that it was shortening my lifespan. I’m still gonna try to find a shortcut to making cookies (maybe I’ll just start eating the dough). And most importantly, I’m not going to give up on the Superhero Project, no matter how frustrating it can be. Because I want it to be bigger than me, to be bigger than UNC-Chapel Hill, to be bigger than the rest of my time at Carolina.
And you don’t give up on things when you believe in them.
Supported by a Robert E. Bryan Fellowship from the APPLES Service-Learning Program, an offering of the Carolina Center for Public Service at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.