A group project is one of the ways that your teacher may utilize for the class to produce a collaborative output. Unlike individual homework, a group project consists of multiple students making the same work. The goal of the group project is for the members of the group project to work together in cohesion in order to accomplish the same tasks. Because of this, if you are a student who prefers working alone, this can serve as a challenge:
- Your groupmates might outshine you. In the ideal world, the entire group shares in the hard work and glory of the work. In reality, you may be outshined in a group project by your groupmates in some regards.
- You might end up contributing nothing. The worst part of any group project is when your groupmates have done all the work, leaving you with nothing to contribute. Is it your fault? No. Does it feel bad? Absolutely.
- You just do not like working with other people at all. Got an idea for the output? In an individual work, you can put it in right away. In a group project, you have to run it through with your groupmates—and it has a chance of being rejected. And there are those who are sure to dislike being assigned just one out of many possible group project roles.
These hurdles can happen to anyone and may prove costly. If you want to avoid these challenges and excel in your group project, do not worry—we gathered a list of tips to succeed in a group project so that you can bask in the same glory as your peers!
• Take initiative
Initiative is both a skill and a value where you contribute to the group project, or to any assigned task, as soon as you can. It requires attentiveness and determination in order for you to think and act sharply whenever the opportunity arises. For instance, when you are at stage of the group project, initiate making a PowerPoint Presentation as soon as possible The reason why initiative is important in a group project is because it allows people to get things done quickly. Whenever we are faced with a problem, we always want it over with. When it comes to a group of people facing a problem, especially in a group work, initiative causes them to band together in order to solve it. Of course, a group is made up of members, and individuals have a different take on initiative. A group may be fortunate to be composed of students who all exercise initiative and progress quickly in their group work. On the other hand, a group may be made of students who lack initiative, and so they finish tasks in the group project slowly. In either case, it is important for you to exercise initiative in the group project. As it requires attentiveness and determination, it also needs you to exert both physical and mental effort on your part. After a while, it eventually comes naturally, but until that time comes, you have to keep going at it until it becomes a part of you. Here are some things that you can do to exercise initiative:
- Ask questions whenever a task is assigned. Doing so causes people to elicit a response, thus engaging themselves more with the group project.
- Inquire about concerns with your professor. In particular, you should ask whether some things are allowed to be done in the group project. The group knows more about the activity, the better and the more likely they will be urged to action.
- When you are given a role, accomplish your responsibilities quickly. Whatever it is you are assigned to do for the group work is imperative to the success of the project.
Make it a skill and a value that you foster—such as critical thinking skills—and in the end, your group will succeed and be happy for your efforts.
• Communicate well with the group
Communication is key in the success of a group project. Firstly, it is the primary component to the cohesion of a team as it engages in group work. Without it, everyone will be confused and jumbled on what to do. How can a group of people expect to achieve the same goals if they do not work together? It all starts, however, with the individual to initiate and be involved in the communication. Success in group work is derived, in large part, in constantly and actively communicating with your groupmates. For that, you can use convenient apps such as Messenger or WhatsApp for fast and easy communication with your groupmates for the group project. While talking to each other in person also achieves the same effect, since we live in a time when we are always in the go, having these in your phone is an absolute must. Of course, there are some items of communication that have a higher priority than others, based on how significant they are to the accomplishment of the group project. It is vital to remind yourselves to be focused on what is important to talk about with the group work. Here is a list of high priority items that you must always consider conveying to your groupmates in relation to your group work:
- Deadlines. Your group project may only have a single deadline. Others involve multiple deadlines, perhaps due to your professor requiring you to submit drafts, revisions, or other requirements. The clear issue that is being addressed here is the risk of procrastination. If you want to avoid this risk, here are tips to avoid procrastination in college.
- Project concerns. Even after meticulous planning on the group work, there may still be some kinks in your group project that might prove devastating, such as a poorly presented thesis statement or evidence that would completely debunk your arguments. In that case, bringing up new group project ideas can help your group a lot—so long, of course, as you convey it.
- Roles. It stands that every member assumes particular group project roles to maximize efficiency. Sometimes, however, the time may come when some people would fill in for others, should the person originally assuming a role is unable to do so.
- Emergencies. Did your professor mention something that is pressing to your group work? Or is there something that bars the group from being able to achieve its current goals? Raise them right away to your groupmates.
This cannot be stressed enough. Proper communication will make your group project, while the lack of communication will break it.
• Set up in-person meetings
As mentioned before, getting together in person to work on the group project can be difficult, especially when each member of the team is busy with other aspects of life, and the advent of communication apps makes meeting up in person for the group work seem unnecessary. That being said, ask yourself this question: “How much group work do you actually get done over texting or messaging?” Certainly, a notable amount of effort on the group project can be exerted and yield results when the members of a group communicate with each other remotely or online. But as far as productivity is concerned, you can find that you will not do as much online as you will do in person. The reason behind this is the physical presence of your groupmates that leads you to experience the following in your group work:
- Sense of urgency. Communicating online, over time, may dull its perceived importance. When you meet up for the group work, however, you will better see the actual stakes of the group project, as you come to realize that the performance of your group can have a real effect on your academic career.
- Pressure. Being behind the screen cannot make you feel pressured to perform well in group work. After all, what can a piece of text do to you if you make a mistake in the group project? On the other hand, the physical presence of your groupmates can compel you to want to perform well in the group project. Partly, this is because you do not want to waste their time and energy on finding ways to attend the meet-up for the group work. More importantly, it makes you realize how a poor performance on your part can have an interpersonal impact—basically, you mess up your role in the group project, you mess up your connections with your groupmates.
- Increased productivity. Combining the previous two factors leads you to want to do more for the group work. You will feel a lot more motivated to be more active in the group project when you are in the presence of others, making you more creative as you think of new group project ideas, as opposed to being behind the computer screen. After all, it does not feel as motivating as being comforted by your groupmates whenever, say, you have a hard time in your work for the group project.
Coordinate with each other in figuring out the best date, time, and place for the group to meet up to work on the group project. While cafes and public libraries are good places to start, we highly recommend that you get together in the university itself, as its aura will make you feel all the more the feeling of wanting to do well in the group work. Look at our list of the best study spots on any campus to better help you.
• Bond with your groupmates
You might be wondering, “Why should I bond with my groupmates? The group project is just a one-time thing!” True, the group work is a one-time thing—if you let it be that. Remember, beyond being your groupmates, they are still your classmates. And however you perform in the group project, they will remember you for it, for better or worse. It is easy to see the group project as just a one-time thing. Hence, we tend to become stoic and uncaring about our groupmates and more on trying to accomplish the tasks for the group project at hand. While the group is, indeed, formed precisely for those tasks, there are other reasons why it is made: learning camaraderie and teamwork. Surely, your professor did not just band you together just for a group work activity. They put you there to learn with each other, to not only experience the feeling of being in a company in lieu of finding your career path but also to appreciate the value of befriending one another in the face of common problems, namely in the group work. In relation to the group project itself, you will find that you would want to be more productive if you are well acquainted with your groupmates. This is because you better realize the stakes of the group project: you fail or perform poorly, and you will all take a blow that may be fatal to your college life.
• Trust and cherish your group
One of the worst things that can happen to you in a group project is called the “bystander effect.” It is a phenomenon where multiple people fail to react properly to an accident, as they believe that one of them, given their large number, will be the one to act. This can happen frequently in a group project, especially when you feel as though it is not your responsibility to act in the midst of your other groupmates who can do it instead. The solution is to follow the tips we have given above. When you do, you will be sure to do a lot for the group project.
However, this is also another one of the worst things: taking control of the entire group project to the point that your other groupmates can barely contribute at all to the group work. While taking rein of the group project makes you feel like you are assuming the role of leader, in reality you are not entrusting your group with being able to make a contribution for the group work, whether large or small. Group project roles become obsolete in the face of a “be all, end all” member. In the end, you will succeed in your group project, but not as a group.
The best tip to succeed in a group project? Trust and cherish the group that you are with. It not only helps you on how to reduce stress in college. It is not out of dumb luck that you ended up with the group that you are in for the group work. Each member possesses a unique characteristic or skill that may prove to be some benefit to the group work in the long run, not only in the group project itself but even after it. Furthermore, in the group project itself, you come to realize the value of teamwork and camaraderie, as stated previously. However, the most important of all: your groupmates are human, and your group is not just for grades.
Being an overachiever may get you far in college and in your future career. In the process, however, you may find yourself seeing each and every requirement as nothing more than a means to an end. Consequently, you will see your group project as just another means and your groupmates, either tools or hurdles to a high grade. Remember: it is not just about the destination but the goal that counts. College life is not a sprint but a marathon; you will spend long years working hard to get the career you want. However, it should not blind you from the human aspect of life, to get along with others. After all, if you do reach the top, you will realize just how lonely it is up there.
You and your current groupmates may never work together again in the same group project. So, cherish them for this chance, and trust that they will perform well in the group work.
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