Words by Danny Dorito
They're two words that bring dread to all uni students: 'group project'.

They say it is supposed to prepare you for the 'real' world, but I don't know anyone who couldn't turn up to work because they went out dressed as a Smurf the night before and are now throwing up last night's dodgy kebab – true story!

For those who want to prepare or want to see if others shared their pain, we’ve looked at the seven stages of a group project.

1. The announcement


Your lecturer tells a slightly hungover class that your next assignment will be a group project and your heart sinks. You start to feel agitated as you get flashbacks of secondary school when you were up until 4am finishing off your group geography presentation about rock landscapes. But hey, you're at uni now. You're an adult. Surely things will be different. Right?

As your lecturer calls out the groups, the dread slowly sets in and you just pray that you don’t get stuck in a group with the half-asleep guy wearing a top with pizza stains down it.

2. Listening to everyone’s ideas and getting motivated

Just do it!

After the awkward introductions and small talk, you start to share ideas. Although you’ve been lumbered with pizza-stain boy, the rest of your group seem pretty cool. You start to believe that this could actually be OK and coordinate your schedules, most of which consist of napping, Nexflix and drinking. This is great, you think. You’re ahead of schedule and you’re going to smash it!

Organisation and communication are two important aspects. Make sure everyone is on the same page and plan work in advance

3. Dividing the work up and feeling optimistic

You get a project

After battling with which angle to take, you decide on a topic and the project gets split up - it’s the introduction for you, pizza-stain boy. The super-organised girl with the perfectly crafted ponytail takes the lead. She’s a bit bossy, but at least she will make sure everyone pulls their weight. You volunteer to pop it all together, because surely it shouldn't take more than an hour...

Is this what adulting is like?

There is always a ‘know-it-all’ who tells everyone what to do
– Seamus123

4. Complacency… then panic!

Emma Stone panic

The deadline seems so far away, so it drifts to the back of your mind as exams and essays take centre stage. Unfortunately, the rest of your group have done exactly the same as you.
You wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, realising that the deadline is 10 days away. An urgent text is sent to your group and you end up cramming three weeks’ worth of meet ups into two days, most of which are poorly attended.

5. Listening to people's excuses

Oh really

After a few days of passive-aggressive texts, you plan to meet up one last time. But of course, pizza-stain boy is 'locked out his house', the rugby player has the flu (code for hungover) and although ponytail girl does turn up, she leaves after five minutes to go to a meeting about the student paper. You're frustrated but as long as everyone sends you their part, it'll be fine.

6. Realising you’re going to have to carry the project


It's the night before the deadline and, after a couple of days of trying to get everyone to send you their part, it's time to just pop it all together. As you read through the various Word attachments, you find not everyone has pulled their weight and those who have, haven’t stayed on topic. You call the rest of the group so they can help, but all their phones go to voicemail. You have a sudden epiphany. Your faith in humanity has gone; you question whether you’ll ever be able to trust anyone again.

You start to think. Is a fail really that bad? Do I actually really want a degree? Why do bad things happen to good people? You pull yourself together, whack on the kettle and knuckle down. Looks like you’ll be writing this project from scratch.

“Key survival tip: be prepared to do all of the work yourself and let other people take credit for it. “

7. Getting the grade


Eight pints of coffee, six chewed-down fingers nails and a near-miss nervous breakdown later, you hand in the project.

Although you may feel cheated, getting the grade you want should always be your priority and you can live with the satisfaction that you did this. You can now breathe a sigh of relief and get a pint at the SU.

Key survival tips

  • Communication

    Create a group chat and stay in contact with each other. If you feel that you're doing the majority of the work, talk about it. They may not even realise you're feeling this way.
  • Organisation

    Plan. Plan. Plan. Make sure you bring everything needed to your meet-ups and you're prepared.
  • Time management

    Schedule meet-ups well in advance, keeping in mind other deadlines. Don't leave everything to the last minute.
  • Have an attendance register.

    Although this may feel awkward to suggest, if someone continously fails to turn up, you'll have evidence to show your lecturer or course rep.
  • Speak to your course reps

    They're there to help. If you are having issues, speak to them and they can offer advice.

What are some of your group work horror stories? Share them below in the comments