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Group projects provide needed communication skills

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Imagine you are sitting in class, waiting for it to be over and you hear the dreaded words “group project.” You quickly start picking out the worst people to be stuck with in your class and hope you get a least one other person that is willing to work.

Individual projects may seem more productive in your mind, but group projects provide some much needed communication skills.

When you graduate and get a job, you are still going to have group projects. Unfortunately, you are also going to have people that just don’t seem to pull their weight. You are going to feel like you are doing all the work.

However, the truth is, you are the one who is actually learning new materials. You are gaining experiences your coworker that refuses to do their share will not be able to say they have. In most cases, you may also be able to report back to your higher ups and tell them that someone in your group is causing issues.

The same works for  college, it’s just in a different setting. The difference is that your group projects in college are preparing you for those situations. Even though group projects seem counterproductive, they help reiterate the fact that everyone is going to have different personalities and not all of them mesh well together.

If group projects are necessary, how are you supposed to survive them? The first thing to do is to make sure that you are getting your part of the project done. It’s hard to approach the professor with a problem if it seems like you also are not pulling your own weight.

The second is to be aware of those differing personalities and prepare for them. It is also important to be aware of how your personality handles group work. If you are a strong leader and you like to get things done, you may set unreasonable due dates for your group that cause not-so-great work to be produced.

Once you have an understanding of how your group members’ personalities work, it can be easier to divide up work. You’ll find that some members don’t mind having more work while others might prefer for it to be as even as possible.  

Finally, if there is someone that still will not pull their weight after you have talked to them about the problem, then it may be time to seek help from the professor. Most professors have an understanding that there are students who will not do their part. You can even check with your other group members to make sure they feel the same about that person.

Group projects can be one of the most frustrating parts about college. They may make you want to pull your hair out, but you can breathe a sigh of relief when you get thrown into a group project at your job. The key now is to just take a deep breath and learn all that you can during your group project.

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
Group projects provide needed communication skills