Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Group Projects

I shouldn't...I REALLY shouldn't. I promised myself I was going to be less evil...turn over a new leaf...blah blah blah. Last week, however, I was teetering on the edge and someone came up and gave me a giant push right off, so here we go. I've put my other book on hold to write something pertinent and useful to the general public. It's a self help book of sorts. I'd like to share with you chapter one.

Group Projects with Bridget: A Guide to Not Getting Shot
To Ryan, and all of his brilliant inspiring ideas. Thank you for letting me know it's ok to rant now and again.
Chapter One
I’m at a loss as to why professors insist on group projects. I’ve heard rumors that it helps one to learn to work well with others. That’s a nice thought isn’t it? Unfortunately it doesn’t take into account raving idiots, incompetent jokers, and hopelessly unmotivated bums. As I perused through my syllabi at the beginning of the semester, my mind quickly tallied the numerous group projects that were in store for me. Naturally, this sent a chill up my spine and it took every fiber of my being not to curl up into a ball and cry/change majors.

I feel it is important at this time to state that I have a disease which I believe is clinically termed “Over Achiever’s Syndrome.” This condition creates in me an unnecessary desire to dominate any and all school work thrown my way. Clearly this presents issues when working with the less than motivated student, which I find upsetting. The fact that I am psychotic and driven should be an added bonus to group work. Instead, it is a green light for the slackers of the world to flock toward me and immediately cease putting forth whatever minimal effort they had in the past. I realize that I am out of control and that no one should have to work at the insane intensity level I do, but is it too much to ask that people pull their weight to the best of their abilities? Past experience has shown this is indeed too much to ask. Well guess what? I’m done. The Bridget of the past who smiles sweetly when you hand her a multitude of plagiarized pages (which will keep her up all night meticulously back checking your sources and citing them properly) is no more. No longer will she hand in a project which also displays your name when you have done none of the work. Today marks the birth of a new kind of Bridget. This Bridget will no longer mutter meaningless threats on your life in the comfort of her own bedroom or fantasize about blowing a hole through your head, she actually will kill you. If you do not abide by her demands, you will get shot.

Because I am generally opposed to the idea of cold blooded murder, I have provided a list of guidelines to follow so I don’t have to shoot you…execution style…with a crazy smirk on my face and a psychotic gleam in my eye.

1) Be present and on time to all group meetings.
When I say, “Meet at the library at such and such time so we can get this project done,” you will not call me 8 hours later on your way to work after standing me up and leave a message on my phone telling ME that the project is due in two days and that YOU think we should get together and work on it. You’ll have to excuse me, but my schedule is tight and I have not scheduled in “Post Idiot Partner’s Alcohol Consumption Recovery Period Make-up Group Meeting.”

2) Do not try to conceal from me the fact that you can read.
We are seniors in college, I am well aware that you can read. Therefore, when we need to look up information for our paper/project you are expected to actually read the articles yourself and pull from them useful information. Do not send me the articles so that I can do it for you. If you are going to be idiotic enough to do this make sure the sources you send my way are ones that can be used for the project. This will decrease your chance of getting fatally shot by 31.4%.

3) Follow my outline.
I know what I’m doing. If I provide you with an outline which spells out exactly what you are to do in order to succeed, follow it. For those of you who I feel are particularly unmotivated I tend to make the outline so extensive that the only thing you have to do is add conjunction words. Do not disregard my suggestions and write three pages of incoherent babble which has no factual basis. I will not use it. I will hold down the delete button for 30 seconds and watch it all disappear before my eyes. I will then stay up an extra three hours doing the research you should have done and write your section for you. This will make me irate and the next time I see you there will be a gun in my hand, and a bullet (or five) with your name on it.

4) B.S. and Research Papers/Projects Do Not Mix
Contrary to popular belief, “Research” is not code for B.S. When a professor asks you to write a research paper he/she actually expects you to look up information. The hints I throw at you for weeks about going to the library and getting some credible sources are not some crazy side effect of the anti-kill-your-partner meds I am on. Therefore, when you hand me your half of the research paper and I ask you, “Where are your sources?” do not look at me without a hint of alarm and reply, “I didn’t really think I needed to use sources. I just kind of B.S’ed it.” Based on our previous conversations regarding the project (in which I continually have to correct you and remind you exactly what the project is about), I am aware of the fact that you know nothing about the topic, and so have no business pretending you do.

5) When the rubric indicates the need to cite your sources, do it…and correctly.
Remember that there are two parts to citing sources. The in-text citation and the actual source being cited, which goes on the reference page. Do not send me your portion of the paper the day it is due with in-text citations (which are not done correctly in the first place) and no sources to place on the actual reference page. Believe it or not there is more than one resource which (Smith, 1999) may indicate and I cannot write up the reference for you based on a commonly used last name and a date. Actions like this increase your chance of being shot by 99.7%. In fact, I’d prefer you didn’t cite your sources at all over this method. I realize that suggesting you use something like a writing guide which tells you step by step how to cite your sources is incredibly inconsiderate of me, and so all I ask is that you plug the information into The Citation Machine. At least then the corrections I need to make in the wee hours of the morning are minimal.

6) Be upfront about your issues.
If you are a raging idiot, I will find out sooner or later. It is best to just tell me right off the bat. I can work with you. I can help you. Do not wait until the project is due to tell me that you weren’t able to find any information or that you didn’t know how to do something. I need more time than that.

7) Choose your words wisely.
When I walk into class the day the project is due after staying up all night compensating for your incompetence and it looks as though I have been hit by a train and haven’t slept in weeks, choose your words wisely. At this point a coin is flipping in my head about whether or not I kill you or just maim you. Looking at me and saying in a disgusted manner, “You look rough,” will cause the coin to suddenly drop to the ground heads up. This does not bode well for you.

8) Compensate.
If extenuating circumstances (the sudden realization that not using your brain for the first 21 years of your life has brought about irreversible atrophy) cause you to not hold up your end of the project, then offset this offense with presents. I like pizza, chocolate, Border’s gift cards, money, ice cream, and expensive electronics.

9) Do not make light of your lack of involvement.
When you are contributing in no way to the project do not pretend that everything is cool between you and me. Do not try to carry on conversations about the weather or nudge me in the arm as you tell a funny joke. This physical contact might be mistaken for assault by my already hostile mind and I will respond with self defense (putting a bullet in your head). Instead, refer to number 8.

10) Become well acquainted with the bottom line.
Bottom line: I don’t hand in shitty work. If my name is on something, it will reflect the quality I am capable of producing. If you hand me what I deem “useless crap” I will not shrug my shoulders and hand it in anyways. I will fix it. It will take me hours. I will hate you. I will shoot you.

*By the way, if you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, is she talking about me?’ Yes. Yes I am. Wipe that shocked, hurt look off your face. You’re welcome for the A.


Anonymous said...

I only have two words.."Happy Thanksgiving".

I guess you will be asking for a 8mm for Christmas huh?

Rob said...

Shooting people can be theraputic. Trust me, I know. I just have one suggestion...Keep some plastic tarps handy, it helps keep the mess down.

Happy Thanksgiving

Ryne said...

When and where is this book going to be available?? I'd like to purchase it as a pre-christmas gift for a group of mine.... heck, do I get a discount if I buy in bulk?? This sucker will come in very handy!

Bridget said...

Book Available Dec. 1st. Payment can be in the form of pizza.

Ogre said...

You know, there are days when I'm like, "this girl is totally cool." And then there are these posts where I'm like, "whoa, I need protection."


onewomanwonder said...

Damn Right Bridget!

Kenric said...

Bridget. im afraid.

Bridget said...

You should be.

Anonymous said...

See what people fail to realize is that a lot of work went into the project that they have added their name to with out a single coherent thought about the subject of the project on their part. So perhaps we need to remind them so that they can try a little harder at the sucking up to you aspect. Let's face it slackers are not going to change so my thougt is to educate them on how to suck up better so that our efforts do not result in bullet to the temporal lobe of the per say group members.

slskenyon said...

I usually just operate under the assumption that people are morons. That way, I am at least never deluded into think that "this time will be different" upon the materialization of a new group project. However, that perspective rarely combats hostile feelings, intentions, and subsequent actions on my part.