How to Survive the Horrifying Group Project

By Cody Dietz and Meagan Malesic, Staff Writers

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       Group projects are the worst—yes, the worst. They take a lot of time out of your daily routine, they are mentally exhausting and they are universally disliked by college students, yet they are a common tool used by professors to develop communication and team building between students.
We are here to give you some tips on how to have an effective group project experience that will hopefully lead to a less taxing time together—and a higher grade.

Time Management

        With the semester coming down to the wire, it is becoming increasingly difficult to add more work into your schedule, let alone meeting with others. By keeping yourself more organized, you can better see all of the work that you have to do, so no assignment falls through the cracks.
A to-do list is optimal strategy for maximizing organization and creating a visual for all the work that has to be done. Try and keep your productivity up by turning off your phone, playing some soft music and getting the other work out of the way to open up some time for your group assignment.

       When it comes to the group assignment itself, keep all other work out of the session. No one wants to hear about how you could be doing that other assignment in a different class, as it leads to a tangent and ultimately derails productivity for the group assignment. Try making a to-do list for you all to follow to keep everyone on task.

Open Communication

      It is important to keep yourself open to your group members as you all need to rely on each other for a successful assignment and high grade. These assignments may be easier with people you know, but sometimes professors assign random people into groups, which may lead to discomfort or awkwardness between members of the group.

       In order to overcome this, it is crucial to establish a solid method of communication, whether that is through messaging or email, in order to keep all members in the loop for work expectations and progress.
 
Respectful of others’ opinions

    Throughout your communication with members of your group, it is also important to remember that your opinion is not the only one on the table. You may be used to just going with the flow for your own assignments, but group projects are not a one-man show.

     Be considerate of your group members’ contributions to the project and offer constructive criticism rather than destructive communicative actions that could lead to conflict within the group. With that, also remember to accept constructive criticism for your own ideas, as there are many different ways to approach the same project, and some may be more effective than others.
 
Coordinating schedules
 
      As college students, there are many more things on the average calendar than classes that affect our individual availability. With that being said, it can be difficult to find time that works for all members of the group to meet somewhere and crank out the assignment.

     As soon as the assignment is given, find common availability between members ASAP to maximize the amount of time you have together to work on it. This strategy ensures that the closer it is to the deadline, it could be less hectic for you and your groupmates.  
 
Coordinate work load

      Sometimes it is inevitable to have the student that doesn’t give 100 percent in your group. In this case, it is important to be realistic in expectations and plan ahead accordingly.

     Divide the work equally that it doesn’t land more stress on any one person whether it is by point value or paper length. Discuss the time that you plan on having your portion done by, so others can work around that with their own schedules.

    Finally, check yourself that you are giving your groupmates your all and you are not being “that person” that is dragging along.