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GROUP PROJECT THEORY

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Some of you may be familiar with the theory of gravity, or the theory of relativity, well…I’m going to educate you on my Group Project Theory.

Gather round boys and girls, this is an important story. So many regrets, tears, and frustrating all-nighters can been attributed to my experience with group projects.

Since I’ve had years of schooling, kindergarten to the mess of debt I’m in now, you would think that I would have mastered being a member in a group project.

You would be wrong.

What I have mastered is the fine, ancient art of DOING ALL THE SHIT MYSELF (DATSM for short). It’s a special skill that I’ve acquired and cultivated. Like wine, it is perfected with age and is done while crying hysterically out of pure, drunk rage.  I’m just kidding, I’m not an angry drunk. The rage, however, the rage is very real.

As a child I was a little, introverted, bloke whenever I was thrown into group projects. I would just sit there until I was assigned something, hopefully not a speaking part. I was like a clip board – you just pinned whatever task you wanted me to do and I’d do it without saying a word back to you. I call this the “productive rock.”

Ideally, I think everyone wants to have productive rocks in their group. You give them something to do, they’d do it, and then you’d put all the rock notes together and turn it in. Done. Fast, simple, logical.

Turns out, and I learned this the hard way, that in order for a team of productive rocks to really shine, they need a PRODUCTIVE team leader.

You can’t just throw in any old asshole into the role of team leader. Oh, no. No, no, no. That’s a terrible idea. Do you know what people do with power? They take that power and they run. I don’t mean metaphorically. I mean they literally boss people into doing the project and physically disappear until the day its due; and then expect the damn thing to be perfect.

See, a team of PRs can’t always run shit by themselves. They don’t speak to each other. So maybe one of them assumes that the other would do a certain part of the project, or one of them accidentally missed something during their research. You gotta have people check that shit. Or else PRs just roll around in a panic on the ground like weebles.

The team leader is the one who has to check the project.  A PRODUCTIVE TEAM LEADER.

Now, as the years went on, I grew to be a bit more outgoing in group projects. But to my dismay, I found that group project members had evolved. Instead of leaders being more leader-y and productive rocks being more productive-y, they all morphed into un-productive, excuse-making, responsibility dodging douche bags.

There were new breeds of team members that I couldn’t, in my wildest of dreams, even fathom existing.

There was the Employed Complainer: a member of your group who has a very hecktic work schedule and thus cannot come to your group meetings. They turn in their portions of the assignments late and you can’t get them to shut up about the hardships of their job.

CRY ME A RIVER AND DO YOUR PART DAMN IT!

The Technologically Inept: I can’t be the only one who met these guys. They claim they don’t know how anything relating to a computer works. They tell you stories about how they use Jurassic technology. So you give them a research portion for like gathering the book references for the project – turns out they don’t know how to use a library either.

WHATEVER, YOU PROBABLY HAVE A SMART PHONE.

The Invisible Member: the guy who you literally haven’t seen since the day this project has been assigned. I just realized the title sounds like a transparent penis.

I hate you.

The Bullshitting Plagiarizer  the team member who gives you their project part and you find out that it was copy pasted from wikipedia and is basically worthless for you to use.

WHY DID YOU EVEN GIVE ME ANYTHING AT ALL???

The Sassy Pants: they’ll do their part, but they’ll also send you fifty million messages about how they don’t like anyone else’s part and how you’re all going to fail if you turn it in this way.

SO MANY NEGATIVE WORDS – JUST SHUT UP OMG

The Data Eraser: this kid – be it valid or not – claims that their portion of the project was erased due to some hardware, software, whatever-ware problem. As sad as their situation is, this just means more work for everyone else.

BOO HOO, now we all have to do it.

The Printer/Power Pointer (Tripple P): this is the guy who doesn’t want to do any work, so they volunteer to print out color pictures or paper via their printer. OR EVEN WORSE – THEY VOLUNTEER TO DO THE POWER POINT.

Everyone knows you’re being lazy, bro.

Okay folks, let me just share something with you. Power point is the easiest fucking program to use. 8 year olds use it to convince their parents to get puppies. I swear I’m not making that up. A basic calculator is more complicated than power point.

Look, this is how you use power point.

  • Step 1: Open power point
  • Step 2: Type words into the ALREADY PRE-FORMATEED FOR CHRIST’S SAKE templates
  • Step 3: Copy-paste images so people don’t fall asleep
  • Step 4: You’re done. There is no step 4.

You don’t need to add weird fly-in slides or fancy noises!  I’m serious.  ANYONE CAN DO THIS. THEY COULDN’T MAKE THIS PROGRAM ANY EASIER IF THEY TRIED.

Okay, now I’m going to make a note that I’m gonna come back to this power point business later on in this post…just make a mental note, right about here. Got it? Good. Let’s move on.

Finally, the last kind of member in modern group projects is The Group Finisher. Group finisher is NOT chosen by the group, oh no – don’t be fooled by that title. The group finisher is the person who gets stuck doing all the work. They have to go back and fact-check their group member’s parts, they have to rewrite the paper or power point because it doesn’t match the rubric. They’re the only one who knows how to properly cite sources.  They basically do the entire thing.  OH AND THEY WILL DO IT TOO! This person has masted DATSM, because they care about their grade. They know that as glorious as it would be to see each and every one of those lazy team members get a failing grade for their crap efforts, that failing grade would also be given to the Group Finisher as well.

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO ME EVERY TIME?

Now, the reason I wanted you to make mental note about that power point thing is because of this. Although power point is a stupidly easy program to use, people end up giving you their portion of the project in a large, wordy, unbroken, multi-page file.

Guess what. That means you have to do their part for them, because not only do you have to read and summarize their “summary” but you also have to cite everything as well.

So sometimes the Triple P has an easy job, sometimes they do a lazy job and it gets done by The Group Finisher, but its almost always a guarantee that its not going to be done according to the rubric.

Did I cover all the group project fiends? Or have you guys met others???

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Author: imsupersaiyan

Blogging is hard. I'm just sayian.

52 thoughts on “GROUP PROJECT THEORY

  1. The worst, from my own experience that is, is probably the Invisible Member / Bullshitting Plagiarizer -hybrid. The kind that shows up the last day and hands something in that is completely useless. The fact that he shows up at the last moment usualy means I already did his or her part. But on top of that they will get butthurt when I just throw their shit out. So you end up having to spend all nigh to salvage something from their crappile to put into the final version, usually making the project worse.

    Another one is the ‘But I Just couldn’t come up with anything good’ excuse. Implying that they have been working on the project fulltime but nothing was good enough / the project was too hard. And of course when this is the case you wait until the very last day to let the rest of your group know right?

    • :C Ah yes, hybrids.

      I remember the time that I ended up doing all of one of my group projects, which was going to be presented to an auditorium class…as a skit. I literally handed everyone their parts and two of the group members looked at me – with dead serious faces – and were like “we want a bigger part”…TOUGH SHIT INVISIBLE MEMBERS, YOU JUST SHOWED UP TODAY, AND YOU’LL TAKE WHAT I GIVE YOU. How the hell does one feel entitled to dictate who does what five minutes before presenting after never once shown up for a group meeting??? Its not that they have balls, its that their arrogantly crazy.

      I feel like I should write a blog post about that experience alone.

  2. Ohhhh don’t get me started on group projects. For the most part, people in my program are pretty on point with it and I’ve never had problems with them… however when I took a class in something that was not in my major (Spanish) all group hell broke lose. There were 4 people total in our entire project. TWO of them were invisible non-penis members, one of those two was the bullshit plagiarizer AND the data eraser.

    I was totally fed up with it and me and the other person were just like “we’re not doing his shit, just leave it blank and we’ll be like ‘and here’s with his section on global terrorism and its effect on culture”. He comes in 15 MINUTES BEFORE WE PRESENT and says he needs to paste in his section that he has on the USB. Fine, great, do whatever.

    He looked over what me and the other girl did, plopped in his section and during the presentation COMPLETELY STOLE ALL THE POINTS WE WERE GOING TO MAKE. My level of anti-group rage hit an all time high and while the girl talked to the professor after class, I wrote the professor and email explaining what happened.

    We both got A’s on the assignment after that, but I hope they got suckass grades.

    I could rant about this experience for weeks and still not feel satisfied that I ranted enough about it. SO MUCH RAGE! Good thing the prof knew me from a previous class so she knows I don’t just flop around.

    • Yeah, the worst groups are always the groups you get for projects you have to present. Paper projects can be frustrating, but hell hath no furry like headless chickens running around a classroom trying to do improv :(

      I know some teachers make it a point to be like “if so and so isn’t going to be pulling their weight, let me know” – and then we let the teacher know so and so is not doing shit, and the response is usually “have you tried talking to them?”…. I don’t know, have you tried having a conversation with a voice mail recording? It’s slightly difficult. They get the same grade as me at the end of the day, so I just make sure I get an A.

      :C I wish I had teachers more than once because all my teachers never had me before, so they don’t know crap about me. I have to prove to them I’m an active participator and that I am a strong group member. Which is exhausting in like, say, an auditorium class…

  3. HAHA! I always love your posts! I can totally relate to working in groups for projects, those are the worst!!
    Anywho, just so you know I’ve nominated you for the WordPress family award, As I consider you a part of my WordPress family! <3
    Find more info about it here: http://lifebeinggirly.com/2013/10/15/la-vie-est-belle/
    Thanks for being my friend and sister!! <3

  4. In earlier engineering courses I found people were sketchy, but in later ones it’s been great. For example over the summer I had a software class and we would meet Saturdays or Sundays to write up our code. Then we would write up a report and send it to each other for proofreading, this way we always got full points and peace of mind. Unfortunately because my brain can’t work so many classes at the same time I take filler courses in whatever I can fit in my schedule. In those classes sometimes all you have to do is read a book and answer questions from it that are somewhat opinionated, how are people failing this?! It would be in those classes that I meet all the colorful people you have so kindly outlined. Wow you really are the group finisher.

    • Dude, maybe its cause in those more general classes no one gave a shit about their grades. Even now, in nursing school, people don’t give a shit – and our grades are massively important! For staying in our programs, for keeping scholarships, for future scholarships… like I just don’t get how you couldn’t care less about a group project.
      I hope that my future is filled with quasi-engineers, who schedule group meetings and show up and get shit done…omg, this is what heaven is like. I’m sure of it!

  5. I can’t imagine the rage, that is just too much, people like that assholes! =(

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  8. This is delightful– very well written! I am that creature of ultimate evil: the prof who ASSIGNS group projects. And I confess they drive me crazy for all the same reasons. In an attempt to mitigate the silliness I have devised an evaluation scheme that gives a significant portion of the grade based on an individually written reflection piece that each group member has to submit after the project is over– In effect I mark each team member based on their level of insight into how the whole process went. And because they hand that piece in individually, they can rat each other out as needed. And they do, although generally couched in very gentle terms. But I can read between the lines. That separate component means that it is possible for two member of the group to get significantly different marks on the same project– because one understood the group dynamic and one didn’t. It has helped me feel a lot better about assigning grades for group efforts when I knew that not all members were shouldering an equal share.

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  10. This one hits home because I just did a group project for a Communications Class. The whole quarter WAS the project. Our six person league had a plagiarizer and the powerpointer, but over all it wasn’t too bad. The powerpointer ended up deleting almost a third of our PP without telling us. ARRGGHH! Plagiarism is preferable to that, at least it didn’t make the rest of us look idiotic. We had to do two class presentations, a community service project and two group papers. The final was a twelve-pager, fully cited. Stressful as all fuck relying on other people, whether most of them are good or not!! And I was the finisher, of course. Final paper took eight hours of editing. But we got an A! (except the plagiarizer–we turned that motherfucker in)

    • Oh man Dylan, I feel your pain. I am not a fan of the Tripple P thinking that “we don’t need this stuff” mentality when creating your power point is dangerous…
      I think that relying on other people is something we have to do on a daily basis, but when you’re grade/gpa is on the line…that kind of shit can keep you up at night.
      Us finishers are destined to have stomach ulcers from stress, but at least our grades will always be amazing!!! Grats on your A :)
      Also, I hope that experience betters the plagiarizer for whatever future group project they are assigned.

  11. Haha this is so incredibly accurate but here’s the thing that no one ever tells you– You think that you’re doing group projects because your teacher is lazy and doesn’t want to actually teach or do individual grading (okay, that is probably also true) but really this is to prepare you for the adult world. This quite possibly is one of the ONLY valuable real-world-experiences you gain in school– you will likely participate in committees and work projects in the future and it will be EXACTLY LIKE THIS. All those slackers in your group? They also grew up and got jobs.

    • I don’t think it is necessarily cause teachers are lazy, I think its more so because they want to spice things up and keep us on our toes. But really, its nap time for the majority of the group and stress time for the collective few who are productive.
      I totally get where you’re coming from with the real world experience. I get that you’re going to have to interact with all sorts of people in committees, etc as you describe.

      But, and I can only speak for my current degree which is nursing, I get hands on time to be in the hospital, face to face with patients, discuss topics with a variety of healthcare staff. I get to tag-team with my assigned nurse and work with them as a “group” during the shift. These are things that I feel are far more valuable to me than six student nurses sitting in a room, half of them complaining about having no time to do this project, the other half complaining that we shouldn’t have to do the project at all and then there I am…doing the project. This of course can be taken in the context of an online forum as well, since classes online involve a lot of group work, again, I’m speaking in terms of nursing. This is not my preparation for the future – this is my preparation for future panic attacks. /rant, sorry this response took a life of its own…

      Also I love the color of your hair and it looks super cute in your avatar.

    • Also, the banner to your blog is amazing and I love all the words you chose to display LOL!!!

  12. also, I don’t like it when you tear your hair out =( It looks painful!! even if it’s drawn!!! D:

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  16. Productive Rocks!!! Ahhhh haha yes! Group projects despise them! >_< I'm in my capstone project for graduation… and wouldn't use guess my area focus is project management!

  17. You left out Homicidal Maniac – the guy who gets his end done and waits less and less patiently for the rest of the group, with more and more frequent phone calls to the slackers, then turning up wherever they are (office/school/bar/etc) and sitting on them til they cover their end.
    Depending on the relationship, this person may also just finish the project and tell the project leader’s higher up (professor/boss/mother/etc) that the project is done despite the dead weight in the group.

    this person will probably end up working on the next project with either a group of like minded people, or by himself.
    Which he infinitely prefers.

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  19. Haaaa. Just finished the WORSE group project of my life and this hits so close to home. My bullshitting plagiarizer didn’t even flinch when I called her out for not having any citations. “Oh, can you just add them in for me? I have a Drake concert tonight.”

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