Group Project Face-Off: Group projects: practical or irritating? – Practical

Love it or hate it, everyone has worked with a group of people for a class project. Whether or not we gained any skills from those experiences that could be applied to our personal lives is another thing. Each group that I’ve worked with has taught me different things, and they all reinforce the idea that there are a lot of different personalities you will encounter in life. For this reason, as well as many others, group work is very beneficial.
Working with a group of people promotes collaboration. This benefit is so important and constantly needs to be reinforced at every age. Learning to be open-minded allows you to take everything into consideration, instead of shooting down every idea that someone suggests. It also gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another; it is like watching the snowball effect in action. It allows everyone to contribute and be creative, which leads to a great project.
Additionally, it helps you learn from each other. Since everyone is an individual, groups help celebrate our differences by uniting as one. It reminds me of my high school yearbook theme, “One by one we come together.” It also allows you to take ideas to the next level with your group members’ help. You are able to give and receive constructive criticism that will ultimately help the greater good of the project.
Also, working with a group will decrease stress. In most cases, you are able to divide the work into sections, especially if your professor has created divisions on the rubric. When you think about it, an eight-page paper divided among four people is basically a two-page paper per person. Canvas is also useful for collaboration. You can post discussions, questions or documents that you may have for each other instead of emailing or texting each person constantly.
In addition, when working in a group, you have to learn how to properly manage your time. There is always a deadline that your group has given you internally so that everything can be proofread and edited into a cohesive final product. You cannot procrastinate when you’re in a group or else it will backfire completely and everyone’s grade will suffer. Groups make you less selfish because you don’t want to be dead weight or the reason why your project received a D instead of an A. In a way, it makes you step your game up and make sure that you do everything to the best of your ability.
Working with a group may have downfalls for some people, but for most it is a positive experience. You get to sharpen your collaboration skills, learn from each other, have less stress and use proper time management skills. The next time your professor tells you that you are assigned to work with a group, embrace it and stay positive. In the long run it will help you out tremendously when you get into the “real world” and have a “real job.”
-Jess Vento
Junior public relations major
Printed in the 10/2/13 edition.

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