The 6 types of people in a group project

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Just when you thought you had finally pushed away the horrible memories of working in a group project in high school forever, your GSI introduces this new project with assigned group members. Gasp. But then again, maybe you didn’t think group projects were all that bad because that meant that someone else could do all the work for you. Nevertheless, despite which circumstance you’re placed in, look at the bright side: Now you’ll be somewhat prepared for the group situations your future life career will throw at you.

By a stroke of luck, the genius has been assigned to your group. (Cue angelic voices in harmony.) This person gets the best grades in class, and you know that you’re blessed to be working in their presence. They’re confident with the material, which means that you just need to be their personal assistant. With their brain, yours can definitely afford to strain a little less because you trust that they’ll do just enough to get you the grade you want. They probably won’t trust you with such an important part of their grade, anyway.

Unfortunately, there’s also the person who nobody wants to be found guilty of being, the no-show, who can interchangeably be called the slacker. Already, you know this person will come up with many excuses to not show up. They literally couldn’t care less about the project, even if it’s worth 45 percent of their grade.  Heck, you’re lucky if they even contribute one sentence to your assignment. You can’t rely on this person for anything, especially not to turn in your final project. Oftentimes you’ll find yourself wondering why this person is even enrolled in the class.

Beware of the control freak. Different from the genius, this person may not necessarily be the brightest bulb in the house, but they definitely want to be the center of attention. They not only divide up all the work, but they also assign each section to a specific person because, of course, in their minds, they have the perfect judgment of each person’s ability. Not a single detail can or will slip past their noses without their approval first. Don’t even pretend to forget about the earlier deadlines that they’ll set for you.

You know the person who shrugs at everything in life while muttering, “I don’t know,” as their life motto? This person is the indifferent member. They’ll show up, wait for the rest of the group to make decisions, contribute their “yeses” and “nos” and then bounce. To be honest, sometimes you wish that everyone could be as obliging as them in making decisions, but then at the same time, you feel overwhelmed by the disinterest conveyed through this person.

Due to the high levels of blood pressure that may rise from the tensions of working in a group project, the clown or mediator is a must to maintain a blood and tear-free environment.  Believe it or not, this person is highly accepted by the entire group even though everyone knows that they won’t be the best contribution to the group work. They’re necessary to provide a breathing hole or help with compromising when members don’t see eye to eye, which happens more times than one can count.

Needing a breath of relief, the GSI has assigned a normal person into your group. Thank goodness there’s one human being within the group who’s just plain normal. They aren’t at the top of the class, but neither are they at the bottom. They aren’t too opinionated, but at the same time they aren’t indifferent. They aren’t lazy, but aren’t super obsessive about taking over the project. They’re the perfect balance to keep the group from going ballistic and losing their sanity before the final due date.

Contact Sunny Tsai at [email protected].