I’m an extrovert. I love meeting new people and striking up conversations. However, despite my friendly attitude, I always feel a sense of dread whenever a professor announces that there will be group projects. Especially, when the professor then goes on to say “I will assign the groups.” It’s like being sucker punched in the gut and then repeatedly kicked in the face. So why do professors keep giving group projects and why do they always suck?
Of course, in professional settings, you have to be comfortable working in teams. We all know that bosses love when you put the standard “I’m great at teamwork” bullshit on your resume. Which explains why professors can be so adamant about the importance of group projects, but that still doesn’t explain why they completely suck. Oh wait, I know why they sucks: the groups are forced.
When groups are forced, it usually lands you in a group of four or five people who you don’t know or don’t talk to. All of you are going to shuffle over to each other and awkwardly stare while trying to assess this new group dynamic. Is this group going to be a hardworking group? Will we spend countless hours on google docs putting in work so that we can finish the project early and make it look nice? Or are we a slacking group? Do we just go through the motions, not caring about quality so we can get the damned thing over with?
On top of that, who’s doing all this work? We all know that one person who says they can handle a task, and then they’ll text you at one in the morning apologizing profusely because “they’re busy and they can’t help write the paper.”And then what? Now, you’re up all night typing because your group member wasn’t reliable.
Matter of fact, sometimes it isn’t just a single person who’s unreliable, it’s an entire group. You send out a quick text asking to meet so you can work on the project. You ask someone to please type up a quick paragraph. You beg a teammate to look up some sources. You pray that someone decides to do something. Alas, your text messages go ignored, and you spend countless time doing everything yourself with the help of one other group member (if you’re lucky).
Group projects are dicey. They’re supposed to help with team building skills. Prepare you for when you work in a team in a professional setting. In reality, they’re ridiculous, and they end up with only two people doing all the work while the remaining members of the group twiddle their thumbs.
I know that I just spent a solid 450 words complaining about group projects, but to be honest, sometimes you do get lucky. There a moments when your group is filled with hard working people. You can divide the tasks, get everything done, and feel confident that your project is going to kick some serious ass… Even if you hated every second of it.