The Weekend Five: Group Project Members You Meet In College

When you first read the title of this blog post, your initial thought may have been, They do group projects in college? I thought those were just high school busywork. Unfortunately, group projects are very much a reality in the university setting, assigned under the guise that we are learning to manage others and succeed in the working world.

When it comes to extracurricular activities, I’m an enthusiastic team player who loves to delegate and can work well with most people. However, whenever I am assigned a group to work with for one of my classes, I usually end up with some of the least productive workers (and admittedly some of the best stories).

We’ve talked a lot about the boys, girls, friends, people to avoid, roommates, couples, and professors who will cross your path in college. This week, in honor of my most recent group project endeavors, I present to you the five group project members you meet in college.

The Weekend Five: Group Project Members You Meet In College

1. The Perfectionist Know-It-All.
She will not let your inadequacies stand in the way of her 4.0 GPA. The Perfectionist Know-It-All will assign different parts of the project to each group member, only to decide that nothing measures up to her standards and that she will simply have to do everything herself. Remember that time you promised to send her your research by Thursday at 3 p.m. and she called you at 2:58 to make sure you were on task? The Perfectionist Know-It-All misses the point of “working as a team,” but still manages to earn As for everyone in the group. (I’ll admit that I am a watered down version of this person!)


2. The Clueless One.
This person will try (somewhat) to help with the project, but often contributes the wrong information or forgets the project’s subject matter entirely. Expect a call from The Clueless One a day or two before the deadline with a list of questions about the project that the professor has gone over fifteen times in class. This is the person who asks, “Is Dorian Gray the author?” the week before your group paper about Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is due. (Note: true story.) My tip is to give this person the less important responsibilities of the project and to write things down for him or her.


3. The Quiet Peacemaker.
While group members argue over the project’s many facets, the Quiet Peacemaker merely smiles and agrees with the majority. This person does not contribute his or her opinions to the group, but will quietly finish his or her assignments on time and avoid all conflict. (When I’m not being an obnoxious Perfectionist Know-it-All, my coping mechanism is to sometimes slip into this role so that I don’t have to deal with all of the huge personalities!)


4. The Stranger.
You know he’s in your group because he’s included in all of the group emails and your team members have occasionally mentioned him, but you haven’t seen him since the day the project was assigned and now you can’t match a face to the name. Maybe he’s started showing up to class again, but at this point, you’re unable to identify him to flag him down and find out where his contribution to the project is. Maybe he’ll show up on the day your project is due, or maybe he won’t. He’ll still manage to skate by with an A somehow.


5. The Presentation Day Miracle.
Much like The Stranger, The Presentation Day Miracle rarely shows up for class, but when he does, he’s hardly concerned about the quality of the project. He doesn’t turn in anything on time, he rarely answers his phone and he sleeps through most of class. You worry that this person will ruin your overall grade, and yet come Presentation Day, this person can talk about the subject matter with ease and is likely the most confident and engaging speaker in your group. Granted, he may have BSed his way through some of the presentation, but how will your professor even notice that when they see how charming he can be in front of the class?


Have you worked with any of these people in group projects before? Do you fit any of the above descriptions?

12 thoughts on “The Weekend Five: Group Project Members You Meet In College

  1. kaleighsomers says:

    Oh man, so true. You nailed this. I didn’t do a lot of group work in college, but when I did it certainly felt like that.

    • Valerie says:

      Thanks for commenting! Unfortunately my minor (hospitality) encourages group papers and projects in a lot of its classes, so I’m in the middle of an awful one right now :/ They really make me appreciate writing my own individual paper!

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