Life is a group project

We are near the end of the semester, which means that a lot of people have group work. While there are benefits to group work, including opportunities for diverse opinions to come together, it can be a difficult process.

Some professors choose to assign the groups while others let students pick who to work with. In either case, it can be hard to work with people of different backgrounds whether you know them well or not. This can lead to many problems: miscommunication, unevenly split work, and last minute assignments. However, these projects are not going away, and everyone needs to learn to step up and deal with group projects.

The first issue is finding time to meet. We understand that everyone has busy schedules, but no one said college was going to be filled with free time. People need to show up to their group meetings. If your schedule does not match with the rest of the groups, sometimes it is necessary to switch activities around. Missing one meeting for Dance Marathon or Psi Chi will not get you kicked out of the organization, especially if you are missing it to work on a project for class credit.

Sometimes it is nearly impossible to schedule a meeting where everyone can meet, especially if it is a bigger group. Sometimes more important things come up unexpectedly. In these cases, communication is key. Those who can make the meeting should show up and share the information to the rest of the group. On the other end, when something important comes up, students need to let the rest of their group members know as soon as possible and get caught up afterward. Group members shouldn’t have to babysit one another.

However, if you expect to share a grade, you have to share the work. Luckily, some professors create a safeguard where peers can assess one another. In this case, slackers can’t even slide by, and neither should they be able to. At Loras, we are taught to be responsible contributors and ethical decision makers. If you are not contributing to a group project or purposefully avoiding your fair share, you might want to retake MOI. People also must avoid the opposite: trying to do most of the work, or even the whole project, by themselves. Monopolizing a project is not fair to anyone, and often other group members will get annoyed and feel like freeloaders. So when in doubt, talk it out.

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