Group Projects are certainly one of the most annoying parts of the University experience.
It seems like no one enjoys them – other than teachers who have less work to mark, and those students who decide to lurk in the background while others do the work.
Anyone that has gone through the dreaded group project will know the following stages all too well.
1. The Group Draw and Initial Optimism
Every group project – unless you are lucky enough to be able to select your own group – begins with a draw.
You take a deep breath, before opening up the Excel sheet to see who you have been grouped with.
You eventually see the group, sometimes you’ll have your head in your hands, other times you’ll be rather optimistic.
2. Arranging the first team meeting
It is time next to arrange the initial meeting, as the group gets to see in the flesh the people that they will be working with for the semester ahead.
But arranging the meeting is far from easy. One brave soul adds everyone on Facebook and makes a group, but communication isn’t straightforward.
The messages above in the “starter pack” are so true. These include the checkmark “Seen by everyone” and “where is everyone” – two common sights when trying to arrange a meeting.
After witnessing how difficult it is to arrange a meeting, you can tell there is going to be some aggravation.
3. The First Meeting
Once that hurdle has been cleared, it is time for everyone to attend the furst meeting.
As you make your way to the meeting point, you can’t help but get that “here we go again” feeling.
Still, the group meets up and there might just be a small flicker of optimism ahead of the project getting underway.
4. The work is delegated
Next up, it is time to delegate the work. Everyone is keen to do their bit to help out at first, so this is relatively simple.
Later though, there will be arguments surrounding who does what. But for now, relations are generally warm.
5. The Group Leader Emerges
Soon enough, one person comes out of the shadows and decides it is time to become the leader of the group.
This is usually the hardest working member of the team who simply feels it is about time that they took control of the project before things go to ruin.
6. The group leader has a meltdown
But, facing a heavy workload and a difficult team, the group leader has a meltdown after trying to coordinate the project.
The meme above encapsulates the feelings of the typical group leader. With no leader in sight, things will be unstable for a few weeks.
7. The First Draft gets scrambled together
In the end, the first draft just about gets scrambled together, with everyone contributing their part.
Yes, the writing styles are all different, yes there are no citations, yes the fonts are all different, and yes one big section somehow wasn’t assigned, but the draft is there.
With a little help from energy drinks, Google and Wikipedia, the project is now well on its way.
8. Meanwhile, someone doesn’t care
Of course, at some point over the next few weeks, someone will go missing, presumably thinking that the project is over.
Weeks later you catch them after a lecture and ask what is going on – they reply with a blank expression, seemingly unaware that the project is not over.
9. The Deadline Nears
As the deadline for the project nears, the team gets to work on improving the draft document.
But as the clock ticks, panic starts to set in. Soon enough dedline day arrives, with plenty still to do.
10. The Rush
With just hours to spare, all hell breaks loose. Some members are delicately going through the work, correcting spelling errors, checking grammar and making everything look professional.
Other team members meanwhile are grappling with the printer, letting it know that they will not be messed around by this annoying piece of technology.
11. The Hand-in
With minutes to spare, the group charges towards the faculty building, where you triumphantly hand in the group project.
The group breathes a collective sigh of relief. At long last, the group project is complete.
12. The Group go their separate ways
After weeks, or even months of working together, it is time for the group to go their separate ways.
As everyone walks back home their chosen way, there is a feeling that it was about time that things came to an end.
13. Those who did very little when they return back
For those that contributed very little to the overall project, they return to their house, sit back and just get on with life.
They don’t have a care in the world. But don’t worry, one day these people will get their comeuppance.
14. Those that did the work reflect
Yet for those that did work, they are able to look back on the experience as just further confirmation of what a group project provides.
As the graph above shows, the intention is for a group project to teach you about trust, teamwork and communication.
What you truly learn though is just how much you despise the human race. Just surviving the project is the real achievement.