7 things I’ve learnt about group work

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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!

S x

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Why my personality is not a reflection of my chosen degree.

Having completed my first term at university, I’ve noticed a number of changes in myself since I’ve been home. Firstly, I definitely feel like I have grown as a person, I’m much more independent when it comes to looking after myself (which I suppose is to be expected) but I also feel as though I have more understanding and empathy for my parents in regards to things such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Meeting lots of different people at uni has also made me a lot more open minded and less judgmental when it comes to stereotypes. 
My family have mentioned this to me, how I seem like a different person, and I understand why they think that. What I don’t understand is why some of them seem to think that this change is not due to my drastically different lifestyle, but because of the subject that I am studying. 

This was bought to my attention Christmas day. We were in the post dinner phase, where everyone was happily full of food and the conversation was flowing nicely. I can’t remember what the conversation was about but I know that I was fully engaged, arguing my point (very persuasively I must add) and using my new found confidence to develop what I thought was a very mature discussion. Everything was going well until my Nanny interrupted us with “When I spoke to my friend at work and told her that my granddaughter was studying psychology she said “be careful, she’s going to start having an answer for everything now” and I can see what she means now.” 
Immediately, my bubble was burst and my confidence was replaced by confusion and a little bit of annoyance. She wasn’t joking, my nanny. She was trying to make a point that she didn’t like the fact that I was arguing back, regardless of whether my arguments were valid or not. My Nanny isn’t that old fashioned, but in that moment I felt like she was telling me that I couldn’t have an opinion and the only reason I did was because I’d decided to study psychology at university.

The next day, the topic of my chosen degree was bought up again when I went with my boyfriend to visit his Grandpa who I’d never met before. I was on my best behaviour (as always) and everything seemed to be going fine until I wandered into the kitchen to get myself a drink. My boyfriend’s grandpa was in there and we immediately engaged in polite conversation in regards to wellbeing, Christmas, uni, etc. Mid-way through this discussion he questioned me as to what I studied. “You seem like a very logical person, I’m going to guess law?” I smiled and said that I had indeed studied law at A-level, but right now I’m studying psychology. His expression went from interest, to surprise, to sceptical almost instantly, yet it was slow enough for me to distinctly notice all three. He then nodded, smiled politely and left the room.

I’ve tried to Google it but still have no answer to why I seem to get this sort of reaction when I tell people (particularly old people) that I study psychology. My only guess is that they immediately assume that I’m going to start psychoanalyzing them in secret and discover things about them that even they don’t know! Maybe they think that I’m going to conduct some weird social experiment on them in which I conclude that are suffering from a superiority complex or that the reason for their aching back or numb big toe is actually due to a severe emotional trauma and the physical pain or paralysis is actually psychosomatic. 
Truthfully, if anyone had bothered to ask me in detail what I learned about then I’m sure they would be disappointed to find out that it is all just based upon the biology of the brain and how our behaviour can differ in regards to the social situation. 

I have no reason at all to believe that my slight change in character is due to the fact that I now know the names of every artery in the brain and how each one will lead to different stroke symptoms. Nor do I believe that my new found confidence is the result of the 1500 word essay I wrote on the relationship between intelligence and life expectancy. 

That is all.

S x