5 Struggles Of Group Projects And How To Overcome Them
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

5 Struggles Of Group Projects And How To Overcome Them

Group projects are the worst, but it's possible to survive them.

5 Struggles Of Group Projects And How To Overcome Them
Erica Vanover via Scholarship Points

There are two words that, when said by any professor, can almost magically incite a chorus of dreadful groans throughout the classroom: “group project.” It’s pretty much a fact that group projects are the worst, most stressful and frustrating parts of school. However, with the right approach, they don’t have to be completely miserable experiences. Every group project has some of the same frustrating, hair-pulling problems—here’s how to deal with them:

1. Having to work with people you don’t know

Group projects often seem doomed from the get-go when the professor announces he or she is going to pick your group members for you. Usually, you end up being forced to work with people you’ve never met, which starts the project off with awkward silence and lots of twiddling of thumbs.

How to deal: Take charge. The most effective strategy I’ve ever tried in group work is this: if everyone seems to be unsure what to do, pretend you know exactly what you’re doing. If no one else steps up, be the annoying Leader Type of the group—get everyone’s information, message them, throw out some sort of plan. It may be annoying to assume the leader role, but it gets the ball rolling, and then your group mates feel like they can chime in, too, and then look! You’re working together.

2. Having no idea what the professor wants

We all know the struggles of vague directions, and for some reason, group projects tend to have the vaguest of them all. So now, not only are you struggling to figure out how to work with strangers, but you also have no idea where to start or what direction to go in.

How to deal: Ask for help. Most people don’t normally take advantage of this option because asking the professor is an extra step a lot of people may not have time for, they might not know what to ask, or, let’s be honest, it’s a little scary. But most of the time, professors are eager to help those who ask. If you’re earnest in your asking, and they can tell you’re really making an effort to succeed, they’ll most likely be super helpful. Plus, when they see you’re trying, they might even grade your project a little easier.

3. Communication

Though communication is probably the most important part of group work, it’s often the most difficult. Whether you don’t have everyone’s contact information or you just can’t get ahold of people, you end up feeling like the whole thing is hopeless because you can’t even get in touch with the people you’re supposed to be working with.

How to deal: Use a messaging app like GroupMe. This is why it’s so important in the first step to get everyone’s information; however, if you’re missing someone, you can always look them up in your school’s student directory! You could start a regular text group message, but I’ve found that GroupMe suggests more official-ness and responsibility to respond. Start the group on the day the project is assigned, and use it as a sort of headquarters for your project. It helps everyone feel like you’ve all got it together, so it motivates all of you to help out.

4. Figuring out a time to meet

In the case you can get in touch with your group members, there’s still the issue of finding time to meet up. It can feel impossible to find something that works with everyone’s schedules, and even when you think you have, there’s always that one person that ruins the plan because they can’t make it.

How to deal: You’ve got two options: either keep trying or use alternative methods of working together. The first may seem futile, but hear me out. If it’s essential to the project for your group members to meet up, don’t give up suggesting times, and eventually people might give in. Make it known that you’re willing to compromise your schedule a little, and other people will, too. Or, you can try alternative methods such as video chatting or Google Docs. Video chatting could work if the issue is making it onto campus. Google Docs works if all else fails. With this online program, you can create nearly any kind of document, share it with your group mates through email, and then you can all work on it wherever you are, at any time that works for each individual person. And since you’ve got your GroupMe headquarters, you can discuss any changes that have been made or need to be made.

5. Difficult people

The hardest part of group work, without a doubt, is having to depend on other people. Whether you know your group mates or not, having to depend on other people for your grade can make you feel like ripping your hair out, especially when you get stuck with group mates who refuse to participate, don’t know what they’re doing, or under-deliver. It can make you feel like ignoring them all and doing the whole thing yourself.

How to deal: Delegate. It's not a perfect fix because it'd be easier if everyone could do their fair share, but if some group mates are blatantly Not Helping, the best thing to do is make sure their responsibilities are easy ones, so if they don't come through, you can pick up the slack at the last minute if you have to. And make sure the people who care about their grade get the most important responsibilities. This way, everyone still has their part, but if someone bails, their part can easily be replaced.

Although group projects are more like punishments than learning experiences, there are ways to get past their many obstacles and come out on the other side with a grade you can be proud of. Take charge, don't be afraid to ask for help, stay in contact with your group, be willing to do what it takes to get it done, and be smart about delegation, and you'll have the best project in the class!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments