At some point, all college students face the dreaded group project. Those who enjoy working with friends or random classmates may be thrilled, but most of us find group projects frustrating. If you fall in the latter category, we’ve come up with some reasons why you should reconsider giving it your all for your next group project.
Teamwork: Not Just For College Projects
Group projects are a great way to get used to working within a team, which you’ll more than likely encounter in the real world. Whether in a lab, at a law practice, or even in a growing business, you’ll have to collaborate with others to get big things done. You may need to brainstorm a new product or study a medical case, or maybe your group work is leading a team of others to find a solution to a problem, or mapping out a marketing strategy. No matter the task, group work gives you time to practice all of these skill and to discover what kind of team member you really are.
Group work also provides chance to meet and hear from your classmates up close and personal. For example, let’s say you have a debate-style assignment. While you may be already set on your personal arguments, you can use the group to see beyond what your experience and knowledge brings you. Remember that “two heads are better than one”, and a group project almost always has more than two people, so take advantage of the extra knowledge!
Expanding Your Views
There’s also the diversity in working within a group. As a college student, you’ve probably learned that high school can be like a box. You have friends and classmates, but they pretty much have the same ideas as you, or grew up within similar backgrounds. Group work in college, however, requires meeting with people who grew up in a different kind of culture, who speak different languages, who have lived abroad, or have dealt with societal problems you haven’t. You can harness a group’s collective experience when working to show a more rounded, well-thought project or assignment.
More Minds = More Gets Done
It’s a fact that sometimes, the information you need to digest for a project is just too much for one person. It’s the reason why we love study groups so much! When you split up the information, you are more likely to enjoy learning and process it easier than if you tried to go it alone. Instead of seeing group work as a chore, try looking at it as an advantage: you don’t have to cram a lot of info into your head, meaning you’ll be more relaxed, and you can work on getting a great grade!
Tips to Make The Best of a Group Project
If you have a group assignment coming up, try to make the best of it. For one, if you can pick your group, pick it wisely. Don’t just go with your friends who may distract you or take advantage of you. Instead, pick a group of learners who have similar styles and goals to you. A group that is focused on improving their class GPA is more likely to stay focused than those who are just taking the class for a pass/fail grade.
Then, there’s the actual work part. So many times, the issue is one person not pulling their weight. To make sure that doesn’t happen, set strict deadlines or milestones along the way. Use collaborative technology, such as Google Docs or Dropbox, to ensure everyone is working together effectively. And if possible, assign a group leader or coordinator that each person can trust to oversee the assignment.
By looking at why the group project matters, you can put a positive spin on the situation. And by working better and stronger with a team that cares, the assignment only gets easier. Group work doesn’t stop in your lecture hall, so learning these tricks now can save you headaches after graduation!
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