Whether it’s because of our own self-righteousness, ego, insecurities or even just past experience, these two little words strike fear into students everywhere. You know the ones I mean – they invoke dread, anxiety, appeals of grades and many meltdowns in between. Even the thought of collaboration stops many a heart in fear. You guessed right – this scourge I speak of is the hated GROUP ASSIGNMENT *shudder*.
Yes, I did survive, thanks for asking.
We all know that everyone hates the good ol’ group assignment. Organising meetings, setting goals and collaborative work add to the already significant stressors we face day to day. As if getting assignments in on time by ourselves wasn’t hard enough! Instead of spending time perfecting our work, we’re wasting it coordinating everyone else’s to fit the criteria. And don’t even get me started on the incongruence in work ethic between group members!
Yes, all of this runs through my head the instant I hear the words “group assignment” mentioned.
Now take a breath for a moment, I know my next proposal may be somewhat on the scandalous side. But have you ever considered that these forced group assignments may be to our benefit? Here are five reasons that group assignments may be beneficial for us:
1. Sharing the love
Isn’t this what working together is all about? Groups can be an amalgamation of people with many different skills. Playing to everyone’s strengths not only makes everyone feel good, but also ensures the best opportunity for a good grade.
2. Different perspectives
No two people see things the same. It seems that this was in mind when the assessment was set, as it always seems to be the contentious topics that are set aside for group work. Talking it through is a great way to learn and ensure you get the material straight.
Perhaps the reason the assignment requires a group is because it’s just too much work for one person. Of course there are those assignments where one person ends up bearing the workload anyhow. But for the most part, group work facilitates sharing the load. Even if not entirely evenly distributed, every little bit counts.
4. Network diversity
Sometimes we don’t get to choose who we work with for our group project. This means that group work can be a chance to get to know a few unfamiliar faces. When assessment comes around, it’s always good to be able to find a sympathetic ear in a new friend.
5. Real life
Ultimately, university is to prepare us for the world of work. Of course, when we get our first jobs “on the outside”, teamwork is a reality. With experience negotiating the minefield of collaborative work, you’ll be set to achieve the best career goals you can.
Don’t get me wrong – I hate group assignments too. When it comes to uni though, these are a necessary evil. No amount of whinging will rid us of the dreaded group assignment. So seeing the silver lining to make the most of the experience can make them much more bearable. Next time you have a group assignment, consider what you can get out of it. It’s not just about grades; the skills practiced through group assignments are equally invaluable. If we have the right attitude, maybe together we can achieve more!