We’ve All Been There: The Group Project


"Ok, so I'll do all the work and you'll take all the credit. Sound good?"


It’s the start of a new school year and to honor that, we at CollegeCandy are bringing back the fan-favorite series, “We’ve All Been There.”  (We tried to get another national holiday/long weekend for you guys but it’s way harder than we thought so this will have to do.) Every week, Lauren – University of Michigan will comment on the common experiences all college women share – like the first day of classes or trying to figure out if that boy is crushin’ too. Read, relate, cringe and enjoy.

Your midterm is assigned and not only is it a group project, but you can’t even choose who you’ll work with. Your T.A. reads off your group of four then gives you the last half of the class to discuss your ideas. You pull your desks together in a mini-circle and start the introductions.

It only takes you five minutes to realize that this group is not going to work.  Between the kid who’s only showed up to class twice and the girl who speaks maybe three words of English, it’s going to be a disaster.

With only two weeks to complete both a four-page paper and a 5-minute presentation, you need to get to work quickly. The group spends ten minutes coming up with a topic and the next twenty trying to find a time to meet that works for all of you. Unsuccessfully. One kid holds an on-campus job at the library, one girl is heading out of town for the weekend and you all have 3 other midterms that you need to somehow complete.

The rest of the class starts packing up and – seeing a giant D in your near future – you decide to take charge.

“Ok, we’re going to break up the work. We’ll each take a portion of the paper and we’ll put it together at the end. Then we’ll use class time next week to write up our presentation. Good?”

The group agrees – most likely because they don’t want to spend another second in this classroom. You get everyone’s email address, divvy up the sections of the essay and go on your way.

You do your research and whip up your part of the essay the night before the next class. Only when you show up you learn you’re the only one with anything done. The boy doesn’t even bother to come, one girl was too busy to get her part done and the girl with the language barrier? You’re not even sure she understood the assignment.

You freak out. You only have a week left and half of today’s class to get the project done. While the T.A. drones on about that week’s reading assignment you zone out, thinking about your grade. “WTF? How is it fair that my grade depends on the other people in this group? I’m gonna have to do all the work myself. And then they’ll get my A? Ugh. But what else would I do? Let them ruin my GPA? I’m not gonna get a bad grade in a class this easy.”

Finally, she stops talking and you’re given the rest of the class to work with your group. Unable to count on anyone to get anything done out of class, you decide to use the time to write a script for the presentation. You’ll just do the paper on your own later. Do you want to? No. Do you have the time? Barely.

Do you trust these idiots to do anything worthy of your academic standards? Yeah right.

Thirty minutes is not nearly enough time to finish your presentation so you try once again to find a time to meet out of class. And, again, it’s a big, fat fail. So, again, you offer to collect everything via email and send out a final document before the big presentation next week.

You spend your entire weekend writing the paper, sending passive-aggressive emails to the group to get their stuff to you, taking the crap they wrote and turning it into something worthy of a passing grade and complaining to your roommates. Then you put it all into a Power Point with some fun clip art (Clip Art makes everything look better) and beg everyone to meet you 10 minutes before class to go over the plan.

When everyone finally shows up – even MIA Boy – you explain everyone’s parts to them. You run through it once, then, of course, get called on first to present. You turn in your paper to the T.A., take your place with your group and pray everyone in your group knows how to read aloud.

The presentation goes well (obviously – you did the entire thing) and a week later you learn your group has earned an A. All four of you.

Yeah, we’ve all been there.
Why anyone is still assigning group projects in college is beyond us too.



  1. Beth says:

    I HATE group projects! I just had to do one, and of course, I was the one doing most of the work… And everyone waited til the last possible second to give me their parts of the paper so I could put it all together and make it look nice. Thankfully, the teacher didn't grade the paper; we were doing it for the "experience", rather than for a grade. But still!

  2. AC says:

    I had to do one the first week of school. Luckily it was very short and not worth any more than participation points, but we had to write up an outline and do a quick presentation with a skit or visual. Not really wanting to draw a debate on the whiteboard I told my group members that I would do the whole outline and script and present the outline if they just did the skit, they both agreed of course. Unfortunately neither of them could read aloud, and had no acting skills or enthusiasm to speak of. (and we ended up with 2 pronunciations for the word "bigot", which is why I ALMOST didn't put that word in the script to begin with, ugh!)

    Group projects suck! I know they're supposed to give you experience on how to work with a team like some might be doing in their careers, but seriously! For a grade, that can effect the rest of your life, it's just not practical.

    And knowing all of us have been in this situation, WHO THE F ARE ALL THESE LAME STUDENTS!? And how in the world did they make it this far in school?

  3. Keri says:

    Why do the serious students also seem to be placed with the slackers? I have a few group projects this semester and from what I've noticed so far, none of the other students want to do any of the work. The one part of my project is due tomorrow, so I typed up the paper for it and then showed it to my fellow group members yesterday and they were all said, "Oh I thought we would work on it together in a couple of days." It's due Wednesday, we can't possibly work on it in a couple of days. So they replied, "I'm glad you did it then, I didn't know it was due so soon." Ugh.

  4. monte_krista says:

    Hey, greetings from Serbia. Okay, it's Holland now, but I will soon be home, and the moment I say the title of this text, I just knew I had to read it. We had projects like these during the previous three years of my studies, and one even worse is coming up. Only, with us, when we have to make a presentation and to give in the paper, we are given the topic by the T.A. and most of the cases obliged to go and see him / her at least once during those weeks…

  5. joy says:

    Most of the "girls who can hardly speak more than 3 words of english" are smarter than the average american.

    So what if they can't speak english? Can you speak any other language? Would you like it if you were trying to learn another language and assholes like YOU were making for of you?

  6. Charlotte says:

    "Why anyone is still assigning group projects in college is beyond us too."

    Because most people don't work in isolation on projects in the workplace, and you'll met the same slackers in any job.

    It does suck, though.

    Joy–she never said not speaking english equals stupid. But when you're at English-speaking university, taking courses in a language you don't speak, that language barrier is gonna hinder your performance and hold you back from contributing to a group.

  7. […] – We remember that group projects still suck. […]

  8. Vivienne says:

    Group Project – been there, done that.

    Joy, I'm not a native speaker when it comes to English and I totally relate to what was written. Nobody expects anyone to be perfect, but when taking classes you're getting graded in it's absolutely necessary to be able to express oneself. It's unnegotiable to learn enough of the language _before_ that class.

  9. […] experiences all college women share – like trying to figure out if that boy is crushin’ too or stupid group projects. Read, relate, cringe and […]

  10. stephanie says:

    when i recently did a group project involving making a video for a oral communications class as well as a 10 minute presentation based on said video for stupid ad campaign that will never exist in school our teacher gave us a sheet for each of us to fill out about who did what and such. of course i was the one who did most of the work. one girl is no longer able to be on campus after school hours for stealing something and the other guy is a full time police officer so yeaaa…o and on top of that i was also editing the other groups videos because im the only one who knew how but i made some money from that. anyways….when it came to our evaluations i made it very very very clear that i did most of the work, and specified who did what. needless to say, the girl who never showed up saw what i wrote because it fell off my desk and she gave me a bad review. i spoke to the teacher and she got a c on her part and me and the other person got a A. so yea, just tell ur teacher who did what later so they know to grade fairly based on everything. i hate group projects!

  11. Janay says:

    I tried my hardest to avoid group work, even partnered work with one other person. If I saw on the first day that the syllabus mentioned a group project, if I could, I would immediately drop that class and sign up for something else. Not living on campus made it even more unbearable since most of my group members always seemed to ignore me saying, "I can't meet up at 10pm" 5 times…

    I know it's to give us experience, but I'd rather avoid it.

  12. […] Discovering Google Docs: Google Docs is a group project savior in HTML disguise.  We all know group projects in college are completely bogus and meeting up totally sucks.  But if you download Google Docs, you can work on one document, in […]

  13. […] – University of Michigan will comment on the common experiences all college women share – like stupid group projects or, everyone’s favorite activity, procrastinating. Read, relate, cringe and […]

  14. […] workflow so you don’t schedule dinner with the girls at the same time as that dreaded group meeting. And if there is a slight conflict, there is even an “I’ll be late” button you […]

  15. […] A+ Slacker: The kid who doesn’t do anything but still manages to get a great grade on your group project. Seriously, he sits there in class with with his thumb up his butt as you pray to any and all gods […]

  16. spellett says:

    Group projects are hard because instructors usually dump them on students without much guidance or support. Students need to learn project management skills to get ahead in business and life.

    A great site to manage your group projects online is

  17. gamewrex says:

    Group Projects are beyond assinine. Sure, they are there to “get you used to working with groups in the workforce” but honestly, I don’t have time for the shit. I work a full time job next to school plus I act as a club president. I don’t have the time to meet with random people over some project. Nevertheless, despite my busy schedule that involves more than playing video games and getting drunk all day, I’m always the one who does the most. I don’t tend to trust these other fuckers. Hell, we have a group project now in a management class where two guys have very poor english skills, one is never there, and the other is a complete retard who I’m convinced couldn’t behave competently if his life depended on it. I’ve got them all doing “tasks” but I’m not waiting for them. I’ll do what I always do and finish it myself. Pointless shit….

  18. jay says:

    ha, im working on a group project right now. funny how some people can get things done when its their own project but can't seem to lift a finger when they have a partner to do it for them…

  19. @chancelark says:

    Just finished the 12 paged group paper for my 4000 level course. We were assigned a topic in groups of six. We divided the sections of the paper, and were each supposed to write two pages on our section. One girl, who is a native English speaker and a college senior, had the most atrocious grammar I have ever seen in my life. Who gets to be a college senior in a 4000 level course and thinks the possessive form of they is they's? Three of the other people didn't even come close to their two page total, and the last guy is from Lebanon and doesn't understand the difference between different prepositions. Needless to say I just scrapped most of their work and wrote it myself.
    Group projects DO NOT work. Teachers need to learn that.

  20. […] found this fun little article on for any of you who have spent time hating a group project just for fun, […]

  21. Annette says:

    I have to do a group project on making a Fairtrade product and a leaflet about it. We were given one week. One girl will not turn up to any meetings, do any research, the writing up or even bring in materials. The other girl is a maths genius who just will not do it! I asked her to make the packaging and she comes in the day before the project is due with a tea box covered in stickers and claims she spent the whole night. Guess I'm stuck with the work again.

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