Graduate School Group Work: It's Just Like a Video Game

    Posted on Thursday, Jul 05, 2018
    Group work is one of the most stressful aspects of many graduate school programs. While group work in high school and even undergrad was usually a sign of an easier workload or good time with your classmates, it is completely different in graduate school. In fact, group work in grad school is like a game of PUBG.
    To begin, everyone is running around waiting for something to happen. You know an assignment is coming but you are unsure what the expectations are or what the assignment will include. It’s really similar to the countdown before the game begins.
    For this kind of project, you could get matched up with a variety of characters. 
    The noob is the guy who’s never had to do a group project before; they either try to do everything or end up not doing anything. Most of the time they don’t know what they’re even doing until after they get their feet wet.
    You could get matched up with “Big Talk”. This is the person that did research in undergrad on the exact topic that your group project is about. They say they have all these resources and knowledge yet put out mediocre results. 
    The veteran is the person that knows what they’re doing and immediately takes charge. They give out assignments and feel the need to call out other teammates when they mess up. 
    Once you and your team are put together, you are completely free falling. You and your teammates try to aim for the same final project, but the noob winds up in a tree or steers way off course to the other side of Pochinki. Your professor is giving you very little direction and the team has nothing to do but fall.
    But then, you begin to gather supplies. You check all of your sources and find information and tools that can help you complete this project. Your team begins to work together and fight the deadlines and challenges that you face.
    As you are finally on the right track, taking down enemies one by one, you are attacked out of nowhere. Your team takes a hit and struggles to recover. You try to help each other and give each other assistance when you’re down and unable to get back up. Sometimes you lose a member – it’s like they just quit and can’t contribute to the group at all anymore. Finally, you are able to rise again to keep moving forward. 
    As all of this is going on, you’ve got deadlines. Every time one approaches, you and your team scramble to find the right deliverable for your professor, just like trying to find the right building/cover as the circle starts to get smaller. Sometimes your ego is bruised and you have to work even harder to cross one of the multiple finish lines of the major assignment. 
    You find yourself at the end of the semester. You and a few of your teammates are all that remain in completing the assignment. Now you have to present and compete against the other groups from your class. Some of the groups have remarkable graphics on their displays. Some teams may have a magician working the quantitative research. But your team succeeds overall.
    Your team has the best presenter in the class. He completes the presentation with speed and agility. He is cunning and sly. His strength leads your team to success.
    Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner. 

    Joseph Tate
    Joseph is a second-year Masters student at the Bush School of Government and Public Service

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