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The Globe’s Point – How group projects teach us

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As students begin to pull together their last assignments for finals week, some of us will undoubtedly be dreading those annoying, yet necessary projects requiring group cooperation. Most students either love or hate these requirements that prepare us for “teamwork out in the real world.”

Group dynamics alone can be stressful, on top of completing the actual work to turn in. They are usually filled with either too many conflicting opinions or not enough. One person can steamroll their way to the leadership position (normally the control freaks of the class take on this position and end up becoming more concerned with perfection than actually working together). 

On the opposite end of the spectrum sits the deadbeat. This group member usually has nothing to contribute, doesn’t add their part to the Google Doc that was shared with everyone and sometimes doesn’t even show up for the actual presentation.

Where does this leave the other two or three members in the middle? They are often left to play mediators and walk the tightrope between caring too much and not enough.

There are often other issues that plague busy college students who need to complete team projects to get that passing grade. Conflicting schedules between classes, work, organizations and even another group project (bless you if you’re stuck with more than one during finals week) can make it nearly impossible for everyone to meet at the same time for more than ten minutes.

Throughout all these problems, professors keep assigning them. We applaud those that block out a bit of class time to pull these projects together, understanding some of our impossible schedules. These situations usually allow for our best work, because we aren’t just rushing through it.

The truth is, when you are out killing it at your dream job, working with steamrollers and deadbeats are often part of the real world. Though we may love or hate it, it’s a necessary part of many careers. Our professors are just preparing us in one more way to stand out from the crowd of young hopefuls in the competitive world.

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