Week 1: Realization. You read the syllabus and see that 20 percent of your final grade will come from a group project. You begin to regret signing up for a class in which the only person you’ve interacted with is an acquaintance you talked to once or twice last quarter. You consider dropping the class, but decide it can’t be that bad.
Weeks 2-5: Denial. Caught up in other work, the project slips from your mind. You occasionally think that you should start making friends in the class for the project, but you never get around to it.
Week 6: Mild panic. Groups have to be decided by the end of the week and you haven’t talked to anyone yet. You go up to that acquaintance and hope they haven’t found a group either. You’re in luck, but you still need three more people. The two of you email your TA to find more group members.
Week 7: Procrastination. You somehow got a group together, but you haven’t decided on a topic, and time is slowly creeping to the deadline. There’s two weeks left until the project is due, so no one starts working. You make a group chat, but it stays silent.
Week 8: Moderate panic. You make plans to meet up, but the same person flakes every time. That person is also consistently late to respond, and cancels at the last minute more than once. You’ve found the group’s flake. Every group has one. They’re probably just busy, but their consistent flakiness makes the rest of the group scared that they won’t do the work. With these setbacks, it looks like the project will never get done, and time is running out.
Week 9: Severe panic. The project is due on Friday morning, so you all meet on Wednesday to divide up the work. On Thursday morning the group document is still blank. Luckily, by Thursday night around 7 the first changes are made. The flake even proved to be less flaky than everyone anticipated, contributing some pretty awesome work. By midnight, it starts to look like things will be fine. Somehow, the project is done by morning.
Week 10: Success. It’s finally over. Sure, it was all done the night before, but it’s done, who cares. Everyone in the group agrees that the next group project they do will be different, but you wonder if that will actually be the case. You all go your separate ways and never speak to each other again.
Contact Kiara Harding at kiluha ‘at’ stanford.edu.