For some people, group work is an absolute godsend. If you need a slight grade boost but you just don’t have the time or the motivation then groups have the perks of a good grade with minimal effort on your part. For the rest of us however, working in groups doesn’t seem to hold the same benefits. Unfortunately however, teamwork is an admired trait in the working world and from what it looks like, university is only the beginning when it comes to group work.
Whilst trying to understand my new found hatred for this concept, I’ve compiled a list of things that group work has taught me over my 14 years of schooling.
1. Democracy does not exist in group projects
I knew this before I even understood what democracy was. In order for the group to function properly, there must be a leader. This person will basically act as the dictator, telling everyone what to do and when to do it and controlling any hostility that arises within the group. Without a leader, the group will ultimately fall into disrepair.
2.Your idea will never be better than the leaders
Once the leader is chosen, good luck gaining any control over the project. No matter how brilliant your story board suggestion is for literacy or how amazing your poster idea is for history, it will never beat the idea of the leader. He/she is the boss and that is something you will just have to accept.
3. If you want something done right, you really need to do it yourself
I learnt this from a very young age; if I want something to be done properly then the only person for the job is myself (and maybe my mum). This means that I have to be the leader of the group, no matter what. Because in mind, if we want any hope of getting the top grade, I need to be at the helm, no question.
4. More people = more work
This one is kind of a given, but the problem with group work is that the vast amount of work isn’t exactly distributed among the group fairly, with the group leader taking on the majority in order to ensure it is done right. And even if the work is distributed evenly, there is a very high chance of you having to rewrite most of it so that it is actually legible.
5. You will end up hating the people you work with
Don’t try and fight this. As the deadline draws nearer and the stress piles on like a stack of bricks, you will inevitably begin to despise the people who put you into this position. Accept it now, by the end of this project, you will never want to speak to these people again.
6. Never work In a group with friends
Not only will you begin to dislike them, but you will find yourself letting them slack. Taking over Amy’s section because she broke up with her boyfriend last week, or helping jack complete his part because his dog is sick. Whilst this sounds like the kind of things a good would do, you’re not helping yourself along the path to a better grade. So sometimes friends don’t necessarily make a bad thing better.
7. People will always tell you that you’ve done it wrong
No matter how many hours you put in, or however much you work at it, people in your group will always try and look for faults. Whilst they may be right in some circumstances, most of the time their “constructive criticism” is part of an ulterior motive. After having read your work, they feel guilty about how little they have done and begin to worry about what they will look like when it comes to the evaluation. So in an attempt to look as though they are taking part, they throw in a couple of points and criticisms to give the impression that they are playing an active role in the process. Watch out for these people.
Of course, there are circumstances where group work can be a rather pleasant affair. But from my own experience these cases are rare and it’s best to just suck it up, power through and hope for the best in the end. I wish you luck!