This is going to sound strange, but when I first started university, I genuinely believed that high school marked the end of my group project days. Instead, I can tell you that I have had at least one group project every semester, so I was totally wrong. As I worked on my last group project of my undergrad degree, I can’t help but think of all the ups and downs that come with working in groups. It can be tough, but here are some things to keep in mind to avoid feeling like the GIF above.
Build a rapport with your team
You may be working with your group for a few weeks, sometimes even for the entire semester, so getting along with each other is a really great bonus. Being friendly, striking a conversation that isn’t just about the project, and trying to get to know one another can help break the ice and create a positive work environment. It’ll also make your meetings much more enjoyable, which will come in handy during moments of stress.
Be flexible with meetings
Group meetings in high school are easy to coordinate since you all have the same class schedule. But in university, no two students have the same start and end to their day. Add to that jobs and other responsibilities, and it won’t always be easy to find a time when everyone can work together. Be flexible with meeting times and methods based on what works for your team. Over the past few years I’ve had to do video chats, in-person meetings (sometimes on my days off), phone calls, and work remotely on Google Docs to finish a project. It might not be the preferred option, but sacrifices must be made to get that A+.
Ask for help when you need it
There may be times when it seems like everyone on your team is on the same page but you. In those cases, asking for help might feel intimidating. But don’t be afraid to ask questions and get feedback on what you’re doing. The longer you put off clarifying misconceptions, the more challenging and time-consuming it’ll be to have to go back and make edits later. Asking questions can even encourage your team to re-evaluate or strengthen the overall project and key ideas.
Don’t be afraid to be the leader
When in a group setting, my natural state isn’t to be the leader. But over the past four years I’ve started to get comfortable with taking on the role, whether it’s a formal or informal position. Regardless of what the project is, there will need to be at least one person who takes charge to help keep the group on track. If you think this is something you can handle or want to try, don’t shy away from the challenge. Just remember: being the team lead doesn’t mean you’re allowed to slack off on your own contributions!
Patience is key
I’ll admit that this is something I’ve had to work on a lot, but it’s really important when you’re working with others. Whether you’re working with friends or new students, remember that not everyone will have the same personalities and working styles as you. Small disagreements are bound to happen within the group, but staying calm and thinking with a clear mind can help resolve tension and end a situation quickly and effectively.
Featured Image: GIPHY