Community vs Individual: Which is More Effective?

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A topic that came up in my English class was “Community vs Individual” or in other words, the one vs the many. Which is better? Which is more effective? What defines a community? etc. These were some of the questions that came to mind during class. 

Growing up, we have been told by our parents, teachers, and coaches that we have to “work together”. They say that teamwork will lead to success. However, working independently has its fair share of advantages as well. Working together or alone both have its pluses and minuses, but at the end of the day, it all depends on preference.
The other week, I had the opportunity to experience and see first hand the advantages and disadvantages of working together with other people and working independently. I am in a youth group called LAST for my church and our task for the day was to create and paint posters for a class. So some of us, including me, decided to collaborate in groups while some decided to work alone. Then halfway through the session, something caught my eye. As I looked over to the table next to me, I noticed that the girl had been working alone the entire time. I looked at her poster, then back at my group’s posters, and it really got me thinking. Coinciding with the class topic of “Community vs Individual”, I decided to be more meticulous and at the end of the day, here is what I concluded about based on my experience working in a group versus working alone:

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Group-work: 

Advantages

  • Two heads are better than one- I noticed that when everyone chipped in with different opinions and ideas, it helped produce a better solution. One person might think this way, but another person may think differently, so why not combine each other’s ideas into a grander one? Working with others also enables you to receive constructive criticism. When I was attempting to paint a candle, I was offered with feedbacks on where to paint and what color to paint it with. Overall, I think that having multiple heads collaborating covered each other’s weaknesses.
  • Efficiency- More people means that there are more hands available for the job. While creating posters, everyone in my group contributed in some way. There were people drawing, and people coloring at all times. As a result, we were able to create three posters

Disadvantages

  • Making sure that everyone agrees with your decision. This was my main concern about working in a group. THis may not apply to everybody, but it definitely was on the back of my mind. For example, I hesitated to draw or throw my ideas on the table at times because I was afraid that my mistake would ruin the entire poster. This is where working independent would be advantageous, but I will expand more later discussing on “working alone”.

Working Alone:

Advantages

  • Making it yours- When working alone, you can do whatever you want and throw all your thoughts down. There is no  worrying about other’s approval. You are solely responsible and in charge of your own decisions. You have the ability to DO it your way and no one can stop you.
  • Concentration- With no one bugging you or asking you questions, you can hide yourself and work in a corner with maximum concentration. This allows you to get into your zone and focus much better.

Disadvantages

  • Time- Working independently will require more time consumption. While my group finished 3 posters in an hour and a half, the single girl finished one in the same amount of time. When time is limited or restricted, it is probably better to work with other people.

All in all, with all the given evidences, I think that it just comes down to preference. Both have its ups and downs and there is really no right way to go. Some are independent minded and enjoy working alone, but some may feel more comfortable sharing ideas with others. It’s just preference.

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