My MFA Study Group Experience; Meet Nona Velez MFA2021

Collaborative working through study groups is an integral part of the MFA programme. Study groups consist of 6-7 students per group who work together on core group assignments. Each study group comprises of a mix of educational background, nationality, age and gender to give students the experience of working in a diverse team in a multi-cultural environment. Study groups are rotated halfway through the school year, to give students the opportunity to collaborate with different members of their cohort.

In the first instalment in this blog series, we spoke to MFA2021 graduate Nona Velez about her study group experience!

Hi Nona! To start, can you give a brief overview of your study group?

I was in London for the whole of last year and I still consider the people in my study group as some of my closest friends, because we interacted so much with each other. Despite some study group members being in completely separate parts of the world, we were still able to become close friends and we now meet pretty often. I’m still in touch with people in my study group, especially those who stayed in London.

What was the most rewarding part of your study group?

Academically, we were able to encourage each other to stay on top of things, despite challenging circumstances with Covid. That was a really rewarding experience for me, because we definitely lost morale at times and you could feel it across the cohort. We were able to come together and finish strong by mutually supporting and encouraging each other.

Additionally, there was a lot of diversity within the study group. Whether it was geographical, different ways of thinking, different ways of approaching problems or different ways of working within a team, it was always really enjoyable. Some people are much more introverted and can get a lot done on their own time, whilst others really value working with another person. Learning to manage those different types of personalities was a very rewarding experience.

What were your key takeaways from the study group experience?

I didn’t have much study group experience at undergraduate level, if anything there wasn’t much focus on teamwork. It was quite predictable because you could choose your team/partner. The study group experience on the MFA programme was a really worthwhile experience, as you learn to appreciate people for their differences and what they bring to the table. I also learnt to understand that people have different working styles, and to respect that people in a team with different working styles can still work together and be cohesive. We spent a lot of time in the tutorials together, which was a really important part of the study group experience which I really enjoyed.

Naturally, I tended to take the lead role because it’s part of my personality. I’m extroverted and sociable so I used that role to help me get to know others in the group at the beginning. With that lead role, I learned that being flexible and able to adapt was one of the main challenges with group work. Dividing people into smaller teams and assigning roles can be a challenge, so it was important to understand that people are different and what works for someone isn’t going to work for everyone.

To find out more about the MFA programme, please visit our website.

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