A letter to our past selves in high school

Richard Bao, Johnson Lee, Khanh Nguyen, Fangyu Wang, Ryan Yang, and Lynn ZhuCongratulations on your acceptance to the University of Waterloo! That’s a big milestone in your academic life and we’re so happy for you. Wait – we? Oh yes, we’re your future selves in 2020!

We’re all a part of a SAF Crew in the Accounting and Financial Management program. Today, we’re writing this letter to let you all know about an interesting activity that showcases the benefits of teamwork.

We’re sure you all know about why teamwork is encouraged: diverse perspectives, shared workload, productivity, and personal growth. Those may be the benefits that you have heard of or experienced yourselves. However, have you ever seen the tangible results of great teamwork? Because we did! At our Crew meeting last week, our Peer Support Learning Champion held an ‘activity called ‘Lost at Sea”, in which we were to prioritize a list of items on a sheet based on their importance to survival in a scenario that we were stranded in the ocean. We were to do the activity ourselves, with our Crew, and then compare answers with what an actual coast guard recommended and give a score based on how each answer matched with the coast guards.

Here are some observations that we have made from the activity:

  • It took more time to complete the task when we did it individually.
  • When we worked together, we completed the task more quickly and efficiently.
  • Our individual scores for the activity were way off the correct answer but our team score was excellent! That means, as a team, we perform more quickly, efficiently and accurately!

We know you must be very nervous coming into university. It’s a challenging transition — but don’t worry, because you’ll meet awesome classmates and friends from your Crew. You will do many assignments and activities together and they will be fun – because as a team, your work will be done more quickly, efficiently, and accurately!

Enjoy the last few weeks of high school and be excited for university – it will be a blast!


Individuals perform better and get more from their experiences when they are supported by a group of their peers. That’s why learning teams are used at Columbia Business School, work teams are used at Google, and training teams are used by Olympians. SAF Crews are groups of 5-6 students that support each other through the first year SAF experience. Crew members build strong working relationships with each other, attend events together and support each other’s professional awareness and academic success. Find out more about SAF Crews.

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