I’m coming off a particularly dreadful week of ineffective group planning. Love them or completely hate them (my case), group projects are a part of any college career, and any career in general for that matter. But for my lovely seniors, and possibly juniors, we all know there is nothing worse than working with a pack of unmotivated freshmen. Sophomores can’t be counted here, as they’re just realizing that, yes, they were actually that annoying.
Perhaps I should qualify that there are some freshmen who are awesome at group projects. In the same way, there are some older students who suck at group projects. But whether you blame it on personal character or the nerves of being a new college student, I wanted to lay out some ground rules for our newest campus members on how to be friggin’ amazing at group work. Trust me a million times over: your upperclassmen counterparts will absolutely adore you for it. Bonus: it will also do wonders for your individual group evaluation.
- Trust that you are smarter than you think. Do you believe you got into CNU based on dashing good looks? You are part of our community because you are ambitious, talented and off-the-walls intelligent. When encountering your first group project, especially with mean ‘ol upperclassmen, show us what we know you know! Shout out suggestions, question ideas that don’t sound good to you, dazzle us with new information. Questioning yourself, however, triggers a slippery slope that will follow you the rest of your time here.
- Please, for the love of whatever you believe in, check your email. Every hour if you have to. There is nothing more frustrating than a stall in group progress because someone forgot to log in to CNU Connect. We live in a digital age and old folks harp on us for being glued to our phones, so you might as well be productive while you’re checking Instagram.
- I’m putting this in all caps because it is that important: LEARN HOW TO DO RESEARCH. No one is expecting you to know how to research journal articles or use the library database the first time, but this is only a onetime excuse. Do you see those librarians begging us to ask them questions? They are an awesome resource for you, and it also doesn’t hurt asking fellow students too.
- Let me lay this out bluntly: I have two jobs, extracurricular activities, coursework and a lacking social life that I need to tend to. Not to downplay all the things freshmen have, but when you have a 25-page case study due for a nonwriting intensive class, please come back and talk to me then. Nothing is worse to an upperclassmen then being forced into a leadership position because a bunch of doe-eyed freshmen don’t know what to do. Like I said in No. 1, you have great ideas locked away in your precious, precious brains. Help a senior out by sharing those ideas!
- Finally, take initiative. All of the things I’ve just written about can be encapsulated into this last tip. So, as one of my professors says, go be brilliant!