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The one thing about College that I will ALWAYS complain about…

October 18, 2006

There’s not much I’ll complain about when it comes to going to school. I’m there because I have chosen to do so, noones forcing me to do it. I listen to all the youngsters complain about this, that, or the other thing, and think to myself “I wonder how they’d handle all these classes and work if they had a full time job, wife, and kids”.

But there is one thing I will complain about.

Group Projects


It doesn’t matter what the quality of my group mates are. It doesn’t matter how much or little work there is to do (but generally there is a LOT of work to do with a group project). It doesn’t matter what the final grade ends up being. It doesn’t matter whether the teacher sucks ass or kicks ass. It doesn’t matter what the subject of the project is. All group projects in college just plain suck.

And why do they suck, James? Well, don’t worry, you 3 fearless readers out there, ’cause I’m going to tell you! I’m going to do my best to not riddle the narrative with expletives, but I can’t guarantee that.

George Mason University is a commuter school. A large percentage of students are either currently working full time or have worked full time in team environments. One of the stated goals of group projects is to learn teamwork. Well, what the hell have I been doing in the 9+ years I’ve been working full time, learning to screw my teammates!? Of course not! I’ve been working in teams with sometimes small, sometimes not so small, amounts of money, resources, contracts, etc., on the line. I’m not paying hard earned money (well, getting my company to pay hard earned money 😉 ) to educate some wet-behind-the-ears 19 year old who can barely do laundry and whose biggest complaint usually is “man, I don’t have enough time to study!” while their non-job-holding, non-family-having ass is playing video games or getting rejected by some chick (or guy) at the nightly kegger.

The other symptom of being a commuter school means that for the actual commuters (like me) who live some distance away from campus, actually physically getting together with teammates to work on said group project is near impossible. Especially when, as is usually the case, the other group members have jobs and/or families like me.

Are my complaints justified? Maybe not. I am attending GMU by choice, and I knew from the beginning that group projects might be required. Hell, I’m definitely expecting it for Grad School (if I ever get there!), but there’s a difference between “group projects whose primary purpose is to teach teamwork” and “group projects that require a group due to their complexity”. I can justify the latter, but the former are useless to me at this point in my career. But that doesn’t mean I can’t complain about it on my blog that noone reads 🙂

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