There are a lot of inevitable situations that we will have to experience in school, and even in life. One of these, and much to the dismay of many students, are group works. From research papers to films, a lot of activities in school require students to form groups with one another to properly accomplish their tasks. But as we all know, it is not all smooth-sailing in group works, cases of group mates being freeloaders, arguments on whether the amount given to one another is too much or too little, and group mates disappearing from the face of the earth only to resurface when it is time for grading, I can honestly go on.
But we do not ask: “How can I be a good group mate?” instead. So, in this article I will provide some tips as to how you can be a good group mate instead, so that the next time you will be asked to do group works, you will not be a burden but an asset to your group mates.
Communication is Key
The first thing one must do in a group project is to COMMUNICATE with your groupmates. A group project is made and broken depending on how good your coordination with your groupmate is. So, I highly advise that you meet with your groupmates at the very beginning of your project so that all of you can distribute the work, based on your abilities and contexts.
When problems arise from the project say it as early as possible so that the other members of the group can do something early on. No, it does not make you look bad if you state early on that you are not available during this or that, but it makes you look bad if you say you cannot go to an important meeting on the day itself (except if the reason is a sudden emergency, like a death in the immediate family). Declaring your problems early on allows them to cover for you so that you can finish whatever it is that you need to prioritize first. Then, you can return and help your group mates, but please, do help them. Personal problems are not an excuse to freeload, unless these have been declared early.
Do Your Part (i.e. DO NOT BE A FREELOADER)
The next thing you need to do is to contribute to your project. It does not give a good impression to your group mates if you say that you can do this and that and not follow through with it.
I find that this is the sort of thing that breeds arguments and resentment within the group, as you essentially broke your group mates’ trust with regards to your project. So I highly suggest that you do your part as early as possible so that you are free to do whatever it is you want to do.
Avoid Unnecessary Drama Within the Group
Another thing you should do is to avoid bringing personal problems into the group.I understand that you all have other requirements (looking at you college students) but that does not mean you can force your other group mates to bear a bigger part of the project because you have 2 other major projects to finish. Properly distribute the weight based on the members’ context to avoid any trouble between you and your group mates.
NOTE: This does not apply to mental health issues. If you have problems with your mental health, seek help immediately.
Group Projects are a Part of Life
In the end, group projects are a part of life, because being able to work well with others is a skill we all need to learn. After all, this is crucial to surviving in the workplace. So, please be a good group mate now, to avoid any possible complications later on.