By: Sarah Kaider
So you’re sitting in class and your teacher lays the horrible news out on the table: You are going to do a group project, AND you don’t even know any of the group members. You’re sitting there with your head in your hands, rolling your eyes, and stressing out over what seems to be a huge deal; but really, it’s not.
True story: I had a group project with five members, including my boyfriend. At first, it was a struggle getting everyone to meet. I was terrible with faces and frequently mixed up a couple members’ names. But I made the effort to remember, because I got to know them and wanted to be friends with them. We spent a lot of time working on the project and just hanging out. Two of them spent time with me and my boyfriend on many occasions. One of them spent time with us every once in a while. The last only spent time with us when it was time to work on our projects. Although we knew who would actually spend time with us and who wouldn’t, my boyfriend and I invited all of the members to every hangout. To this day, my boyfriend and I talk daily with the two members who spent the most time with us. We hang out on many occasions, and I can see them as friends for life.
Your group members are people, just like yourself. They are probably just as nervous as you are about working with strangers. Some people naturally click, and others take time to get used to the idea of being friends. Sure you’ll all feel a bit awkward at first, but if you and your members mutually try these tips, you’ll be friends in no time.
Step #1: Exchange Contact Information
Before your group leaves the class, make sure you all exchange contact information so that you know where and when to meet. While getting everyone’s information, be sure to be inviting. Ask what each person prefers to be called while entering information into your phone, notebook, or computer. This shows the other person that they are not just another piece to your grade. This shows that you actually care about the members as individuals.
Step #2: Group Meetings
Make sure everyone is aware of meeting times and locations. If you are hosting the meeting, have snacks available for munching on. Be sure to get your work done, but do not make the meetings completely project-based. If you are working on your project with plenty of time before the due date, plan on breaking the project up across multiple days, having everyone participate at each meeting. Converse with your group members about the project and other things in between, the same way you would get to know your friends, you would try to get to know your project partners.
Step #3: Hang Out After Meetings, or Any Other Free Time
Spend time with your members outside of the academic setting. Get to know each member’s interests, career goals, and more. Have a movie night, go to lunch or dinner, go to the mall, have a sleepover, help each other with other homework. Just do things that you would do with your best friends, and don’t forget to have fun.
Step #4: Follow Up
Send them messages or call them to continue hanging out, or just to show that you’re still interested in being friends, and not just pieces to each other’s grades. This is especially important after the project has been presented. Some members may just want to get the work done and go separate ways; and if that is the case, you’ve tried your best and that decision is on them. But if you keep showing the members that you want to remain friends afterward and keep spending time doing things you all enjoy, you’ll be friends for a long time.
Want to be a GO student blogger? Let us know here.
Love our blog? Like us on Facebook to see more!