Group projects always freak me out. It started back in elementary school when – after my third-grade teacher came back from her sabbatical in Africa – we had to get together to work on a project about an animal native to Africa. Sounds cool enough, working with a bunch of friends, talking about cool animals and dressing up to speak in front of class. I was stoked.
That is, until my group was supposed to meet at my house to work on it, and not one person showed up. My mom made the obligatory phone calls to ask their parents if their children were coming. Not even a single parent had heard about the project, and they all insisted that their kids were too busy to come over at the moment.
So, what did I do? I did the whole project myself; one little third-grader researching cheetahs.
The day to present the project came. I stood up to go present my solo work, and the rest of my group followed. Each member proceeded to take pieces of my notes, and pretend they had actually taken the time to work on it too!
I know I was only in third grade, but still, when you work on something you have a bit of pride, and those cheetahs were mine.
So, I did what every embarrassed third-grader would do: cry and run to the nurse to pretend to sleep on one of those vinyl nurse beds (Okay maybe not everyone… but that’s what I did.).
Ever since then, I’ve had a sort of irrational dislike for group work. Even in college, there are just two types of group work people: people who don’t want to work on them, and people who do everything.
So this week, we were assigned another group project in my media ethics and criticism class. I knew one member of my group, and had come in brief contact with the other in class before.
I started researching our topic of debate, the freedom of the press, and sent a Facebook thread to my group members, holding out for a response. Lo and behold, it worked! I’ve finally struck group project gold (Well, I guess I’ll hold off on the gold ‘til we present on Friday.)! But we had lunch today and worked out the details of our debate. Finally, I won’t be working alone J
I’m still nervous. Sometimes old habits and conceptions die hard, but this group has helped me to not be so negative towards working in a group, and that’s a nice thing.
Good luck on your next group project, hopefully you won’t have to do all the cheetah research yourself.