It seems that everything we do these days has to do with other people. In elementary school, they probably paired you up or tripled you to play games. In middle school, you had to have lab partners. In high school, you were assigned lab partners and given group assignments. In college, the story doesn’t change much. Group projects have become a staple in our lives and for most people, it is a horrifying experience every time. Hopefully, with these tips gathered from college students across the country, you will survive your next group project.
1. Be open to ideas.
You’ve read through the project outline and you know exactly what to do to make that A. Everything anyone else contributes seems paled in comparison to the great plan you’ve conjured. To that, I say one word: Compromise! Your idea may actually not be the best one put forward and you need to be okay with that.
A group project is meant to be a combination of ideas so there’s still a chance that a bit of your contribution will make it into the final work. And if yours is actually the best idea, still find a way to compromise and include variety. As Destiny from Bradley University says, “Sometimes you will work with people who are the complete opposite of you in terms of personality and goals. The way to overcome this is to come to compromise when you come across a conflicting issue.”
2. Make a group chat.
It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s technology! Take advantage of Snapchat, instant messaging or whatever app you all use and create that group chat so you can make plans and share ideas without actually having to ever meet. Montana State University student, Isabelle, suggests, “Get the rest of the group's phone numbers! Then when they need to turn something in you can remind them. It's super annoying to do, but you'll get a good grade!”
3. Don’t be scared to speak up.
Horrors of horrors, you’re in a group with someone that doesn’t want to actually do any work. Call them out on it. You don’t have to make a scene about it. Just inform them that their slacking is dragging the group back and if they don’t work, their name won’t be included in the project. If that threat doesn’t work, you could go to your teacher and ask to be reassigned. You have better things to do than pick up the slack for a lazy group mate.
4. Do your share.
That being said, do not be that lazy group mate. Believe me, do your share or everyone will hate you. If that isn’t scary enough, don't do your share and risk failing if they don’t put your name on the project. Simple.
5. Do the project on time.
Of all the grand opportunities you have to procrastinate, a group project isn’t the time. Don’t do it. Don’t. Remember, you’re not doing this alone. You need to finish in good time to work out all the kinks with the group.
6. Include everyone.
And that means everyone. Each group member has something to contribute so be inclusive. Do not shut out any person because they seem to not have anything to say. Every new perspective is important.
This is why it is a group project. You cannot do everything so don’t stretch yourself thin by trying to. Delegate and enjoy the benefits of division of labor. “Delegate, delegate, delegate,” Isabella Leon from Syracuse University advises.
8. Be nice.
As underrated as it sounds, this is very important. Try to be nice to your group members. Even if you aren’t a nice person by nature, attempt it for the sake of the project. Encourage others! Don’t talk over someone else. There’s nothing more annoying than working with someone who is a pain in the neck. Do not be that person.
There you have it, your own survival guide for group projects. Remember, it isn’t a life or death issue. Just do your best and hope that everyone else will, too. Good luck!
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