Our Opinion: Group projects, the fifth circle of hell
It’s the little things that tell you the most about people. Do they push ahead of everyone to exit the elevator first? Guilt-trip and manipulate situations so they come out ahead? Never hold up their share of group work?
Just from observing the daily activities and mannerisms of many students at the University of Miami, it has become clear that our undergrads have a problem: they believe themselves to be the center of the universe.
These individuals become the most frustrating when assigned to be your partner in class projects. Beware of the warning signs early on. Common behaviors include: pretending to do work while actually browsing Facebook, always having mysterious obligations so they can never meet to work on projects, and the elusive ghost of the group, who just never even shows up. What can be done to put these frustrating individuals in their place?
When the pushy girl in your architecture class tries to stick you with an entire group project, grab your pitchfork and revolt. If she is brash enough to attempt such boorish behavior, give it right back to her. The girl is already not cooperating with you, so what’s the worst that could happen?
However, if your confrontation does not have the desired effect, call upon lessons learned in your high school English class for reassurance. Surely you remember Dante’s Inferno, and the beauty of “contrapasso,” in which hellish reiterative punishment perfectly befits the original crime.
In the same way, students who do not learn to do their own work now will not be able to do so later in life. While you surge ahead in a successful internship, they will be left behind in the dust, still struggling with the easiest of tasks. The self-absorbed bubble of your peers will finally pop; it just might take some time.
Midterms and stress bring out the worst in people, so students must be ready to deal with “situations.” Remember to lead the rebel yell and have the strength to call out their actions. However, if you still aren’t able to get through to the egotistical students of UM, have faith. In Dante’s version of hell such people would be banished to the fifth circle, punishing those guilty of sloth; you can be sure they will ultimately get what’s coming to them.