After a few weeks or so of feeling as though you’ve been thrown in the deep end at university, struggling through your work alone, you would think the opportunity to work with your other course mates would be a refreshing change. You were wrong. Being put into a team is meant to achieve something, right? Build you teamworking skills, produce a larger a scale of work with less pressure on yourself and to see what a group of people can create with a range of different mind sets and ideas. However, although it initially seems exciting to meet some more of your course buddies and have some company to help reduce the crippling anxiety work projects can bring, it doesn’t take long to realise that you were better off on your own.
There are a range of personality types you’ll meet along the way of dull university group projects, so let us prepare you for a few…
The no-talkers: This seems to be one of the most common. It’s unsure whether they’re just shy or they simply only have tumble weeds bouncing around in their head. You’re sat there throwing in idea after idea and all they do is look blankly at your giant mind-map (because at the very least, in one of your projects you will have to do this on a huge piece of paper) or sitting on their phone tweeting about how “#awks” this project is.
The talks-too-much person: So, you’d hope someone who had a lot to say might merely bring an array of intelligent ideas to the group. However, you’ll find that they can’t stop talking and are stopping someone like the no-talkers from ever even possibly coming out their shell even a little bit. Some of these chatterboxes may just be a bit irritating, but some will be the kind that think everyone of their ideas is revolutionary and that the project will go no other way than theirs.
The flake: Group projects usually always entail meeting up outside the classroom to organise and prepare your work. One day you’ll arrange a library meet up on your Facebook group chat, you all get to the library, bar one person. After a few consecutive messages, you get a reply about them being “sick” (hungover) or something. This won’t be the first or last time they do it, then on the day of your presentation they turn up having done nothing, knowing nothing and not only making the presentation crappier than it was, but getting credit for it too!
The not-all-there person: It sounds mean, but there’s always one and it’s not even that they’re not a Stephen Hawking type or whatever, but there’s just something about the project they’re not getting. The task they’ve been assigned ends up being completely not what it was meant to be about, and they can’t really seem to fathom what any of it’s about. It ends up being a big mistake giving them any other section to present than their own as they mess up the content and end up making it all seem like a dodgy jigsaw you’d get from a car boot sale.
Group projects can be a bit more relieving than presenting alone, and yes you will meet these kinds of people and many more, but all you’ve got to do is make sure you hold your own the whole way through and ace your designated piece of work – while trying not to stress out too much along the way.
The secret is to assign tasks based on everyone’s strengths, and ultimately trust that you’re all after a grade you won’t be disappointed with.
Persevere – the situation will be over before you know it – and remember that when marking your grade, your tutor is only really looking at YOU!