Oh the Horror: Group Projects

Before your project becomes a massacre, here are your best tips for survival.

Cue that spooky-you-know-something-bad-is-about-to-happen music…the professor announces the midterm projects… you have to complete the project…as a group.

Group projects are feared by many and for good reason. Simply, your brilliant idea could be over looked. You could find yourself with people who don't bat an eye lid at school work. Do you need this grade to pass but the rest of your group could care less? Or could you end up doing everything for that reason and they end up getting the credit right along with the bags underneath your very tired eyes?

So to limit your screams and survive it all no matter what type of killer group you have:

  • Observe and don’t jump to conclusions: If you are not lucky enough to be in a class with people you already know, don’t skip over that quiet kid in the back or the over eager beaver that sits up front. They both have separate skill sets that depending on the project could be very useful.  Scan the situation and how you might also fit into the dynamics of working with different types of people.
  • Timeline every aspect together: Your group has been established, you are stuck with them and you need to clear the air quickly and clearly. Know your deadlines and make sure everyone else knows them so that there is no confusion. Maybe if it is a project of many steps, even deligate someone to be the main "deadline keeper."  
  • Play to your strengths: Know what you do well. Do not volunteer to create the poster if your creative strengths line in the range of barely recognizable stick figures. If you find yourself as the lead, ask who might be better at writing to do the copy part of the project. If you find yourself a follower do not be shy about your skills because otherwise you could get stuck with a task you barely understand that could take someone else much less time and much less headache.
  • Stay in contact constantly and consistantly: If a partner goes dark, this is not a good sign. Keep up the emails, IMs, and texts. This way you also have documentation that you reached out, and you can not be blamed for not involving someone when they obviously thought you might be one to just complete everything solo and they could ride your glorious research and poster project to an A+.
  • Keep calm and carry on to the best of your ability: Not everything is going to go as planned even if you follow all of these tips. But these tips will help cover your butt if said project member decides to not show up at all on presentation day.

So don’t wig out, avoid the stress and the group projects that haunt your dreams.  

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