5 Worst People in Your Final Project Group

By JohnMartin Seibert | 11/6/15 10:29am

Group projects are some of the greatest experiences we have during our academic careers. By greatest, I mean most excruciating, unbearable, ridiculous and trite form of forced cooperation to which our fearless leaders (endowed with their fancy PhDs) subject our fragile minds. College is all about independence, right? Close, but leave off the “in-” next time.
In high school, group projects were different. We were the ones who volunteered to do the hard work. Why? Because, if you want it done right, you do it yourself. Then you tell your partners how to explain your findings to the ‘teach. Group projects at this lofty institution, however, are an entirely different animal. Everyone is intelligent, a “doer.” Be afraid (especially you ’19s). There are creatures lurking in every class roster that will make you lose countless hours of precious sleep. I have taken liberty to classify these beasts, so you know what to look out for the next time (if you’re lucky) your professor gives you the exquisite privilege of choosing your own group.

The Leader. Sometimes, one of your partners will trick him or herself into believing that they are the ordained leader of the group. Most times, they could not be more mistaken. Let them trick you into joining their cult, and you’ll be enjoying a nice fat C. Fight them, and you’ll surely create an unbridgeable divide amongst the group — but hey, you might get a B.

Final Project Grade: C(+?)

The Martyr. This group member thinks we’re still back in the glory days. They’ll take all the work home with them, telling you that it’s no big deal because they have a light course load this term. You might agree — but the plot thickens. The due date is here, there’s one minute until class starts and your group is missing one very important member. The Martyr bursts through the door and runs over to your group, sweat dripping from their brow. They explain how they haven't slept in a week, how they’ve gone into negative DBA at KAF trying to stay awake. Everyone else in the group feels terrible and thankful at the same time. Don’t be fooled, though, they’re still all smiles and rainbows on the inside.

Final Project Grade: B+

The Hermit. When your prof doles out group assignments, everyone separates into their respective corners and chirps about the other groups, all of which are surely going down. But one person in your little unit isn't smack talking. They’re more the “smile and nod” type. That was your first warning. The second class is over, they bolt. The rest of you exchange phone numbers. You plan to meet up later and get crackin’. But, what about the Hermit? Facebook? They, of course, don't have Messenger. Yoda described them best when he said, “An elusive kind, these ones are.” You can’t catch up to them after class, you never see them out. You just can’t find them. But, don't worry, they had a lot of solid naps during your group work sessions on First Floor Berry, so they’ll be well rested when it comes time to stamp names on the final product.

Final Project Grade: B+

The Hardo. Everyone back home would say you were Type-A — always on top of your schoolwork, never missing a beat. Well, they never met your new groupie, the Hardo. Think of them as the polar opposite of the Hermit. They skip right over the chirping (no time for such nonsense). They immediately set the ground rules. No smiling, no talking out of turn, no jokes, puns, witticisms, etc. You will meet as a group in a Baker seminar room at “21:00” sharp for exactly 60 minutes each night for the next two weeks. You have a pong date on Saturday night? Not anymore. Welcome to college the Hardo regime (read: death of your social life).

Final Project Grade: A (if you don't go all Lord of the Flies on each other)

The Socialite. Now, imagine a world where your group actually gets along. The Socialite hosts a neat little pong social at their Greek house for the new friends. “We have a full 14 days to do this project,” they say. Your meetings turn into a FoCo “study sesh” every third night and far too many spontaneous games of pong. The Socialite is more lone wolf when it comes to working, which is a plus, because they do a bang-up job on their share of the work. But bringing everyone’s theories together never really happens.

Final Project Grade: B-/B (plus 2-4 new friends #worthit)

JohnMartin Seibert