Group projects are pretty much universally loathed by college students everywhere. There is a reason for this. Occasionally, the beleaguered student will happen upon a relatively painless group project. I do not know why this happens; I believe pain is deliberately designed into these projects as a means of weeding out the weak.
I’ve decided to compile a well thought out list of why people hate group projects.
The classmate with KIDS.
This classmate (in this instance, me…) NEVER seems to have time to work on the project, and you end up having to wait for his/her portion to get done. And then it’s not right, so you have to wait again. At that point, you aren’t thrilled with his/her work, but you have to suck it up since s/he took up all of the calendar time “taking care of kids.”
Everyone has different ideas about how to make the thing work. Roughly one-third of your time spent on the project revolves around deciding who is going to cave to the will of another. It’s like a geeked-out version of chicken, only instead of involving a mode of transportation and the fear of a wreck, it involves “leader rights” and the fear of running out of working time.
Invariably, there is a passive aggressive member of the group who doesn’t play chicken. Too aggressive. Not passive enough. This member generally loses out on the leader gig, and isn’t pleased. So s/he compensates by doing the least amount of work, trying to assign work to others, and complaining about the work s/he didn’t do. This student was designed to be a union leader. I’m not working on a Master’s in AFL-CIO.
Afraid of making other teammates cranky, this one is always looking for validation. Just do it already, and we’ll make it work. Constant requests for “does this look okay” slow the rest of the group down.
“The instructor’s guidelines are good enough for HIM, but I like it better this way.” Hey, dipwad… the PhD types aren’t exactly well known for small egos and being “schooled” by their students. Feel free to jury-rig the format on your own grade, eh?
Last Minute Perfectionist
An intense project has been turned in, and the blood pressure has cooled down to somewhere just below “geyser”, only to be repeatedly called by a teammate who decides the work is not done correctly. This is generally a role taken on by Bossy McNaughtboss. It’s turned in. It’s done. There’s no more talking about this. It’s time to vacuum. And shower. And not brain for 20 minutes.
Any others? I’m sure you all (all 2 of you) have a group project that haunts you to this day. Do share!