If you’ve gone to school at any point in your life, you have felt the pain of group projects. The terror of being put in a group of people you don’t know; the horrifying disappointment when you notice that those strangers are lazy assholes; the sinking feeling in your stomach as you understand that you will have to complete the workload for five people by yourself; the nausea as you realise that everyone will have to present, and it’s a shared mark.
Group projects fucking suck. Case closed.
I’ve been on both sides of the discussion- both the person doing all the work, and the freeloader. It sucks more being the freeloader if you’re a bossy, slightly neurotic person who doesn’t trust a soul. You don’t get to boss anyone around, because there’s an even more bossy, louder person who’s taking the reins by force. And doing it badly.
Allow me to paint you a picture:
University, crammed in a study room with six people, discussing a dumb (like, seriously stupid) group project on the top five characteristics of nurses as supported by research.
The small 40-year-old man who tries to look younger by dying his few remaining hairs a vibrant blond takes charge.
“So, ummmm…Empathy is a big one, right? How about I do empathy and ummm…you…Any other ideas?”
I try to save him from his long um’s. “Well-”
“Yeah, ummmm…Also like, niceness, right?”
“I don’t think that’s a real-”
“Lisa, how about you find out something about niceness? Who can draw? We should try drawing niceness.”
“Since this is university-”
“That’s a great idea!” Someone says. “Ella should draw, since we’re all already doing stuff.”
“Now wait a minute-”
“Yeah Ella, stop being a freeloader. You should draw all the characteristics,” Three other people chorus.
I acquiesce, even though it’s a stupid fucking idea.
Another meeting, a week later.
“So here’s the dumb drawing,” I say, slapping down a coat of arms that I basically traced from my laptop screen. “Now, I think we should-”
“Wait, but where’s the shoe?”
“The shoe that’s supposed to represent empathy!”
“Fuck you and your stupid shoe! We need to talk about the presentation!”
Silence for a brief second.
“Oh yeah, ummm…what if we each present what we researched?”
“See, that would be a good idea, except not everyone researched something. Two people didn’t,” I snap at Blondie. He is the reason blonde jokes exist.
“Ummm…introduction and conclusion?”
“This is supposed to be a ten minute presentation- the intro and conclusion should be thirty seconds each,” I remind him.
During the presentation, two days later.
“Empathy is important because um…nurses need to be there for their patients, and ummm…be nice. Niceness is also important. Um…”
I jump in, thanking my lucky stars that I thought to do research for everything. “Empathy is an integral part of the nursing practice due to its importance in creating a relationship founded in trust and mutual respect. Without the impulse to care about their patient, the nurse would not think to initiate a therapeutic relationship, without which certain aspects of the client’s emotional, cognitive, and physical status would remain unknown.”
The audience claps, but my soul shrivels; Blondie has destroyed it with his utter incompetence.
Have I made you piss yourself with horror at the grossness of that group project? No? Very well then, I accept your challenge: here’s an even worse picture for you to carry to your grave. You asked for it, so don’t blame me for the heavy therapy you’ll require.
Ha, can you imagine that session though?
“Yes doctor, I’m here for my PTSD and anxiety attacks.”
“Dearie me. What do you think caused this?”
“I remember it vividly- I read this blog…and I was never the same.”
Sucks for you! Continue reading if you dare, because following is the absolute worst group project I’ve ever been involved in. It still haunts my nightmares. I have a lot of nightmares.
High school, grade 10, a debate assignment in history class with two “best friends” + me.
“So, how about you do everything, and we’ll show up at the end and follow the script?”
“What?” I ask, naive and smiling. I’m positive they’re joking.
“Yeah, that’s a great idea, Jeanie. I knew I loved you for a reason!”
“Wait, seriously? This is a huge project.”
“No, I love you,” BF#2 croons.
“I love you more.”
“I love you more.”
They cuddle, shoving their boobs in each others’ faces.
They break apart and frown at me.
“Okay, so send us an email with the script when you’re done making it.”
Have tingles gone down your spine in a not-good way? Are you shitting your pants? Have diapers become a permanent part of your routine yet?
Just kidding. I know you’re already stuck in a mental hospital, in the section reserved for fans for shows that have been cancelled.
So, tell me about your shitty group project experiences. How awful did it get for you?