The five group assignment members you don't want to be stuck with

August 25, 2016
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Most of us dread group assignments at uni, unless you’re one of the few who enjoy depending on others to boost your grades. Have a think about all those times you had to make an effort with a group of strangers in a Facebook chat where only two out of five were replying and no one was free at the same time to meet up. It can be hell. And in every team assignment there are about five very different but sometimes equally painful types of students.

The Invisible Man

The no-show. Do they even go here? We’ve all experienced at least one assignment where one student literally never, ever shows up. It feels unfair adding their name to the credits of your final ‘masterpiece’ project. You see them in class on the odd occasion and feel like you’ve finally caught them so you force them to stay back for the group meeting. But of course, they bombard you with excuses like "I’ve gotta go feed my neighbour’s cat”. OK, Brian… You go do that.  

The Quiet One

Every group is bound to be unlucky enough to have a member that doesn’t contribute. And if they do contribute, it's when they’re just agreeing with everyone else's answers or suggestions. They may be present (unlike the invisible man), but they add nothing of value. Perhaps they suffer from shyness like Lilly from Pitch Perfect (seriously, what is she saying?) or sometimes there's something going on outside of uni life. It's always best to not make conclusions on these types in uni groups as there may be more pressures going on for them than just the pressure of the assignment itself.

The Leader

We love them and we hate them. They drive the group to succeed or fail. They're the Obamas of the group and we all look up to them for answers and direction. This is the thing about the leaders of group assignments – they either do the whole thing or they boss everyone around. You might be sitting there at the first group meeting loving this person's enthusiasm and the fantastic ideas they have for the project, but one thing leads to another and you realise they've done the whole assignment and never gave you or anyone else any a chance to contribute.

But if you're like Gretchen from Mean Girls and don't mind being pushed around and following the leader of the group assignment, then The Leader would be your favourite.

The Slacker

They promise you the world. "I'll write up the references by tonight guys, don't you worry!" But they never do it. And then you or someone else will need to do their work, as well doing The Invisible Man's work and your own. Real talk – we all have some inheritance of the 'slacker' within us, but most of us will pull through before the deadline. It's pretty frustrating when The Slacker’s lies and excuses leave you in the lurch.

The Friendly Snack Person

OK, so you probably would want to be put in a group with The Friendly Snack Person – they’re clearly the group favourite. When they bring the salt and vinegar chips and box of Maltesers, it makes life oh so much better and all the stress of the group project almost seem bearable. They are also the best for celebrating once the assignment is finally over – especially when they bring beers too.

The Normal, Perfect One

Well, that’s you, isn’t it?

The truth is, group assignments are a fundamental part of uni and practising real life scenarios for whatever industry you decide to work in. Unfortunately, we will always have to deal with these types at some point in our lives. But fortunately, there are also some great types out there too – the perfectly normal ones, just like you.

Claudia Siron

Claudia studies Media Arts and Production at the University of Technology, Sydney, is a major film and television fan, and her favourite director is Quentin Tarantino.

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