Walking home from campus the other day, my roommate and I started talking about group projects and, frankly, why we hate them.
The college student’s often erratic academic and social schedules don’t mesh well with others when it comes to a collaborative project. No one wants to sacrifice their weekends or nights to spend time with strangers sober. The workload is then distributed among the different personalities.
Generally, there’s one person in the group who wants to do well because they always do well. Anything less than well would be, well…not well. We all know those students. Then there’s the student who feels bad for the person doing all the work and offers to pick up some of the easier parts of the project: journal entries, PowerPoint slides, and the introduction section of an essay.
It becomes increasingly frustrating when that one dude or dudette who never shows up continues to dodge Sunday meetings and last-minute work sessions. And there’s the students who are there, but say absolutely nothing time after time.
Too many students are dead-set in their quiet ways. There’s a general sense of a collective lack of enthusiasm. The work eventually gets split up in some obscure way that there’s no consistency, which defeats the purpose of a group project.
Talking and interacting with other students is one of the positive aspects of the group project. However, the members rarely talk about the class, project, or important subject matter when they’re in a group. It’s about weekend plans and war stories from the night before. That’s how we relate to each other in college, I suppose.
There’s always some sort of evaluation that no one ever writes the truth on, too. Instead, everyone goes home and vents about their project to their roommates, who in turn try to one up the story with their own unfortunate group experiences.
Over a year ago, my roommate and I met because of a group project in a Comm class. He’s not just a name filling an empty slot on a rental agreement. He has become a friend, and because of that group project, we’re both going to be a part of each other’s college narratives when we’re older.
Oh, sweet irony.