Group Projects : Collegiates

When you’re in high school you generally work well together in groups, maybe there’s a few people who goof off and maybe there’s the one really controlling person but it’s pretty chill (at least from what I remember). If you think it’ll get any better in college, you’re so wrong.

Group projects are quite literally the worst thing about college, period. That’s it. It’s not finals week, it’s not the caffeine dependency, it’s not the time suck, it’s group projects. Here’s a classic example of a five person group :

Person 1 : This is the team leader, they are listed first in every single paper, every assignment, they initiate all communication within the group, they have to double check everything before it gets submitted. This person is the person you probably don’t want to be because no one likes this person.

Person 2 : This person does most of the grunt work, they don’t want to be the team leader but they work hard and don’t slack off. Try to be this person, they’re usually doing well.

Person 3 : This is person 2’s friend, maybe they’re besties or maybe they know each other from previous classes. While Person 2 works hard, Person 3 hopes that if their friend does enough no one will notice that they didn’t actually do anything.

Person 4 : This person sucks, they try hard but they don’t actually get any work done. They’re constantly changing font sizes and paper layouts but they have no idea what’s going on. Person 4 is more of a pest than Person 1, they’re constantly sending out mass text messages and asking irrelevant questions, they end up wasting all of the time.

Person 5 : This person just shouldn’t be in a group. Person 5 doesn’t show up to class, can’t get anything done when you need it to be done, shows up late to the presentation date, and tells you to “chill out” all the time. This person is “always busy” and “had to work late” every night for the past month.

While you don’t know everyone’s personal situation, it is okay to assume that Person 5 is just a slacker and needs to get their sh*t together. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to tell Person 5 that if they can’t start contributing you will remove them from your group. Most professors, as long as you can provide valid receipts (this being emails or text messages sent back and forth), will allow you to remove Person 5 from your group. It’s also okay to tell Person 1 to chill the f*ck out and stop with the constant nitpicking. It’s okay for them to double check you know the due date, it’s not okay for the quadruple check.

You have an obligation when you start a class to know what that class will entail, and if there’s a group project prepare for the worst. Prepare to meet up once a week, think about if that will work with your current schedule, if it won’t, find another class! If you absolutely hate group projects then become Person 2, do not take on the responsibility of group leader, but don’t slack. Show up to the meetings and don’t b*tch too much, let Person 1 do that. If you’re a Person 3, at least submit your part on time.

If you’re in a sh*tty group situation, go talk to your professor! I seriously can’t stress that enough. One of my friends was in a group and her Person 1 dropped the class the morning they were supposed to present. Mind you, Person 1 wrote their script, Person 1 coordinated the slide animations, Person 1 wouldn’t send anyone the powerpoint because they were so paranoid someone would change it. My friend was freaking out and texting me, when she should have been talking to her professor.

Your professor is a person, it’s most likely that they have a doctorate, they were once a student. They understand extreme situations and do have sympathy. My friend’s professor was mad because they didn’t email her that morning and tell her what was going on, instead they waited until the class time and the professor had to come up with a solution on the spot.

Bottom line, group projects suck, and they’re all going to be a little different. Branch out, work with different people, have conversations. Group projects aren’t meant to torture you, they’re meant to help you learn from your peers and socialize. What’s the worst experience you’ve had when trying to work in a group?

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