marsy: How to complete a group assignment without alienating people.

Today I will be discussing an issue that has plagued students for years – the group assignment. Personally, I hate group assignments because I hate having to rely on other people, but sadly they are a necessary evil in the life of a uni student. I have decide to compile a list of guidelines that I think will lead to less homicidal feelings when a group assignment is due.

1. If you get to choose your group, pick people you know will do their work and not just people you like. It would be nice to work with my best friends all the time and just have fun, but I know that some people just won’t do their work. Pick people who you know you can rely on and that you work well with if you want to get a good result. If you can’t pick your group, then I wish you luck.

2. Establish a reliable form of communication. I am terrible at replying to texts because I never have credit, so anyone who tries to contact me that way is usually out of luck. I am, however, pretty much always on the internet, so I reply promptly to online messages. For my last group assignment, we found that a facebook group was a good way to communicate because everyone has facebook (if you don’t, you’re not a real person) and we could see if someone was looking at posts but not responding. Find what works for your group.

3. Actually communicate with each other. This is straightforward. If you talk to each other it makes things a lot easier.

4. Every group member is equal, but someone needs to take a leadership role. Everyone in the group should have equal responsibility, but I’ve found that it takes a while to get anything done without a leader to make difficult decisions or spur on discussions. It is, however, important to make sure that the leader doesn’t take control of the whole project and respects the input of other group members. I’m one of those people who is very good at being bossy and delegating when the need arises, so this is usually me in the group.

5. Be assertive, but respectful. If you want to work on a certain topic, tell the group. If you disagree with what someone else is saying, tell the group. Your opinion matters. That being said, the opinions of your other group members matter too, so respect that. If you listen to your group, they are more likely to listen to you.

6. Check your group members’ work. There’s nothing worse than handing in your assignment and then realising that two group members have contradicted each other’s work. My advice is to check the work of your other group members to see if there are any obvious inconsistencies. Communication is really important!

7. Don’t be a dick. I’m sure we’ve all had that group member who disappears the moment they have any responsibility. Don’t be that person. Do the work you’ve said you’ll do and do it on time, or your group members might hunt you down.

Hopefully these guidelines will be helpful for any future group assignments that need to be done. So far I haven’t had any death threats, so I think I must be pretty good at working with other people! Now for my favourite thing this week – having a hot bath after almost drowning in the rain. I will end by saying you should always check the weather report before you go out without an umbrella (or a boat).

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