Rotations work very differently from traditional courses that you may have taken. Here are some tips for succeeding in a rotation.
In a VISTA rotation, you are a participant, completing real-world tasks in real-world roles. To be successful in this kind of environment, you must take the initiative. Work with team members to figure out how to complete tasks using the resources available to you; do not wait for someone to direct you to each resource at a specific time. Do not assume that there is an “answer key” to use to check your work; in many cases, your work is judged on its own merits and on your effort, rather than on what an expert deemed to be right. Contact your mentor with questions at appropriate times, and watch for communication from your mentor and your fellow students.
Focus on working well in your teams.
Many tasks in this rotation require collaboration.
To produce the best work possible, take
your interactions with your teammates seriously.
Take time and effort to be sure that you
are being a good teammate. Put trust in
your teammates, and act in ways that encourage
them to put their trust in you. As you work
more with the same team, think about ways
in which you and your teammates can improve.
Manage your time.
Learning-by-doing still requires research on topics that are likely to be new to you. The rotation has a schedule, but you are responsible for determining how to divide your time between independent activities and team discussions. Having a good team process in place will help you be more efficient, so you might want to spend time on team activities laying out how you and your teammates will interact, when you will check in with each other, and so on.
Be willing to make choices and exercise judgment.
There is usually no “required resource reading” in a rotation; however, since many of these topics are new to you, you may want to do significant research to understand them fully. This research may also spark an interest that leads you to want to learn more. You may not have time to look at every resource available to you during the execution of a particular task. As a result, you may decide to prioritize reading only as much as you need to complete and defend your work. In collaborative tasks, consider dividing work across team members and sharing responsibility. Communicate key points to your peers and listen to them to gather information that you did not have time to research. You can explore additional resources when you are curious and when you have the time available.