Communication and Criticism Lessons from Spring Break

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By Sammi Davis

Edited By Fernando Aguilar

This spring break was probably the hardest of my entire life (definitely a working vacation!). While my family was having fun in San Diego, California surfing and sunbathing, I was in Mexico filming a nature documentary for my thesis. Before I left for this trip, I had met the filming team a few times, but I didn’t know any of them very well. Things started to go wrong before we even arrived in Mexico. We had a flight canceled, an 11 hour unexpected layover, and three missing bags by the time we arrived in Mexico. As for filming, the 40mph wind, rain and clouds were an unexpected problem since the area is usually beautiful and sunny this time of the year. Footage and equipment occasionally went misplaced or missing. We often didn’t know what we would be filming that day or if we had permission/ permits to be in a certain location, and overall there was a lot of uncertainty in the schedule. But by far the greatest obstacle for me was working as a team. I’m used to doing all planning, filming and editing solo—but that’s not to say I’ve never worked in a team before. I felt like sometimes my boss and I did not see eye-to-eye in regards to filming, and I was constantly having to explain myself or seek an explanation from him so that we would be on the same page. I carried 50lbs of equipment through the desert and up a cliff, but still the most challenging part was just trying to communicate with my team that simply didn’t communicate very well. I think after this experience I have learned that it is very important to know your team before you head out on an adventure like this, because knowing the people you work with is the first step to communicating effectively. If anything, I learned that it is important to be a good follower:  to take directions and work as hard as you can, but not let things go unquestioned if you believe they are wrong or could be done better. Criticism is hard to take, but imperative, for both leaders and followers.