There are two words that make every student cringe: group projects. I don’t know if professors are aware of what a terrible experience group projects are for students, but if they aren’t, they certainly should be.
Group projects are awful for a myriad of reasons. If it isn’t the unappealing group you’re stuck with, it’s the struggle of finding time to meet. It’s a waste of time to do group projects, and in the end, it only causes more stress and drama than is necessary.
I’ve never liked group projects. In grade school, they were never horrible, but everything was also easy in grade school. As I moved on to high school and I knew every person in my tiny academic bubble, I still dreaded them. As high school ended, and I transitioned to college, the group projects only got worse and became more ominous. Between the differences in schedules and free time, the personalities of your group members and occasionally the topic of your project, it’s rare to ever have a positive experience with a group project.
In college everyone has different schedules. Between classes, work, activities and socializing, there leaves little time to coordinate with a whole group of people. That’s assuming all the group members even show up to participate.
The actual group members are another downfall that can be added to the awful list of characteristics associated with group projects. I can cooperate with just about anyone and I can listen to reason and compromise. However, I like to take charge, get things done and do them correctly the first time, especially when my grades are hanging in the balance. It’s not fair when your grades for most group projects reflect the performances of all group members and not just your own.
We all know there’s always that one group member who falls under one of two categories: someone who thinks they know everything and refuses to reason or compromise, or the individual who is lazy and doesn’t participate so the rest of the group has to pick up the slack.
It’s rare that professors ever let us choose our own groups. This results in the poor fortune of getting stuck with a random and typically dysfunctional group. Even if we are allowed to choose our own members, it’s still rare we will know enough people in the class well enough to know if they have potential at being a good group member.
There’s nothing good about group projects, and schools should stop requiring and assigning them. If students truly desired to work with others or share ideas, we would form our own study groups. Group projects are a pain and result in uneven distributions of work, unfair grades and cranky students. In my 14 years of being a student, I have yet to meet anyone who finds them enjoyable.
Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]