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Group project survival guide

By Julieanne Acosta, September 13 2022

In my first year, I had to enroll in a Data Science (DATA) 201 class and as an arts major, let’s just say it wasn’t my favourite subject. Believe it or not, I got to work with a really great group for the year and I managed to end the class with an A+ because of it. There’s a very small chance you’ll end up with a good group, but if you do then count yourself lucky. Nonetheless, if you are in this small percentile of students who get a good group, remember that it probably won’t happen again. After my heaven-sent DATA 201 group, I thought people were being too dramatic about bad group project experiences — they were not. I’ve had average groups but also horrendous groups and over the years I’ve figured out how to go about the whole ordeal with little hiccups. 

Find out if you need to be a leader or a follower

Know your place and pick your battles. Was I gonna be a leader in my DATA 201 group? Absolutely not. But, in sociology or English classes I could consider it. If there’s no one else in your group that looks like they could be a responsible leader, then it looks like it’s going to be you. 

Make sure there is proper delegation

“Proper” is the key word here. You can almost always tell who is gonna be the person holding back the group — maybe don’t give this person the most key part of the project. 

Keep the receipts for everything

Keep the group messages and the Google documents of who was assigned what. This is important if you ever reach my next piece of advice, but hopefully, you never do.

Tell your professor

I’ll say it — be a tattle tale, put yourself first. If someone or the whole group isn’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, tell the professor. This is the worst-case scenario, so be sure before you take this step that you’ve done everything to try and get the problem fixed — this means actually confronting the individual or group in question directly. There’s nothing wrong with this, you pay for your education and if someone is jeopardizing the grade you know you deserve, do something about it. 

The day will come when you will, unfortunately, need to do a group project and it’s most likely going to be with a randomly assigned group. As frustrating as this may be, you can get through it. Just remember how much tuition is — fight for the grade you want. 


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