Even that title must have struck fear in the hearts of many students, I have heard from countless numbers of students how much they don’t like the idea of group projects. I was no exception, so the purpose of today’s post is to help show you why they aren’t the stressful, evil, horrible assessment that everyone fears them to be.
Why Do Students Hate Group Projects?
There never is one answer to these sorts of things but there are a range of themes that pop up when you ask students. The most prevalent theme is some version of when you’re working by yourself, if you screw up then it is your fault. But when you’re in a group then other people could cause your mark to fall and that stress or concern never feels good.
In addition, all these concerns tend to come from past experiences, because we can all remember times in groups when people haven’t pulled their weight and they’ve left it to the rest of the group to sort out.
This has been my own experience more times than I care to admit because when I’m in a group most of the time, it has been left to me to sort out everything. Meaning because of all these experiences, I am not the biggest fan of group work, but I have changed my mindset in recent years on them.
And that’s the key theme I’ll be explaining in this blog post. When you change your mindset and perception of group work it can be more rewarding.
How To Prepare Yourself For Group Projects?
We all know communication is key to group work and it can help us to sort out problems, but this is hard. It is really hard to have good communication in groups filled with people we don’t know or have a good relationship with. Meaning most of the time we simply put up with the problems and hope that the group work will end sooner rather than later. Sometimes, it can take one or two people stepping up to organize the others to get things started.
Many will have concerns about voicing your concerns about something that isn’t working, but it is important that everybody is on the same page. It is how you say it that can make a real difference.
Discussing issues in a constructive manner can not only help your current project, but may even provide you or the people in your group with long term benefits.
All in all, when in a group, communicate effectively. Not only will this help you to sort out any problems you have and this will make the whole experience more pleasant for everyone. But you might discover something that hadn’t thought of before because someone might mention something interesting.
When it comes to group work, there are lots of potential benefits and things to take advantage of.
Now I want to do this section to highlight how group work isn’t bad and it does have a lot of great benefits. If only you are open to them and want to take advantage of the benefits.
For example, group work allows you to access the knowledge of over people, and if you’re struggling with a particular skill then ask your group. They may be able to help you, and the same goes for if you don’t understand a particular topic.
And I should admit that I am terrible for this, because I tend to avoid all of this. But please don’t be like me, swallow your pride and ask for help. It won’t make you look bad in front of your peers, it will allow you to improve, learn and hopefully get a better mark, be it now or in the future.
In an earlier section, I explained that lots of students don’t like group work because of the stress it causes them, so this is something we need to address.
It’s honestly great that you’re concerned about your grades because it means you want your degree bad enough to care about it. But getting stressed out about group work isn’t going to help you.
Group work is out of your control to some extent because the other group members will influence the work, but this isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes the other members will have great ideas and can write in such an academic way that it increases your marks.
Also group work can be a good break or palate cleanser from the normal solo assignments, so relax and try and enjoy them. Or at least don’t get stressed out by them.
Looking at my own experience my first group project at university, I got extremely stressed out and it wasn’t a good time for me. But looking back, I know now I should have relaxed more and calmed down.
Because the thing is, group works are never going to decide your fate at university. The solo assignments always have more bearing on your grades, so focus on them, try your best at group work and make sure you can be proud of what you contributed. But don’t stress yourself out to the point you get ill about them.
Group projects aren’t worth that level of stress, and I never want you to become ill.
Final Major Benefit and Conclusion:
Additionally, another major benefit of group work is it does give you skills to use in later life. Since we all need to know how to work with a wide range of people and that is what you get at university. You get so many amazing, interesting people from a wide range of backgrounds with their own experiences, knowledge and more.
Therefore, I cannot encourage you enough to take advantage of that. Talk to them, learn from their experiences and deepen your knowledge about how others live.
At the end of the day, group work isn’t meant to be awful, hard or difficult. It is all part of the university learning experience and it can be great fun. If that’s your mindset.
I’ve had some of my best conversations and realisations whilst talking to other people during group work and learning about their very different life to my own.
At worse, you’ll be surprised about the experiences of some people.
At best, group work will allow you to deepen your understanding towards different people, you’ll understand their struggles, their interests and why they are how they are. All these are amazing skills for now and in the future, so take advantage and see what you discover.