Life is one big group project

Life is one big group project

Feb 6
Sara Tondini, Animal Sciences graduate student

All but one of my classes this semester has a group project, and most of the time when we see this on a syllabus, it is followed by sighs and soft murmurs. Inevitably, one or two people do all the work, and the others just chill and sign on to the Google doc once to say "looks good guys," and then are never to be seen again. That being said, here is my insight on group projects.

It's real life. Almost every job setting will require you to work with a team. You are rarely ever doing something by yourself. If you work for a company, your work is contributing to a larger group of works, and this will require you to rely on a team. Not every team member will contribute equally, and that is just how it goes. If you do your part and do good work, you will be recognized and rewarded. Maybe by your boss, but if not, by your peers. The knowledge you’ve gained from doing your part is also a reward. Learning how to work in groups makes you a valuable player, and that will pay off in the long run. All these individual benefits aside, it’s nice to have others there to help. You have people to lean on and ask questions and double check your work and look at frantically when you're giving your presentation and forget the meaning of a concept on a slide. It’s all about perspective, and while you think a member may be unhelpful at first, they could just be seeing things from a different angle than you. When you're in charge of yourself, things seems easier because you have only yourself and your consequences to worry about. When you have a team, you rely on each other; your work is a reflection of theirs and vice versa. That takes a lot of trust, and that is an attribute not easily learned. 

There is a reason for group projects, and that reason is that life is one big group project. *wince* It’s hard to take in at first, but you got where you are today because you worked with a ton of people who helped you, challenged you, and got in your way, but all of them made you the kind of worker you are now. 

P.S. If you’re the kind of worker to sign on to the Google doc once and leave, you need more help.

My Dairy Management group project members.

Touring the dairy farm on campus.