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How to Survive Group Work

Posted in: Griffith University, Student Blog, Study Abroad, Study Abroad Blog, Study In Australia, Uncategorized, University Transfer
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How to Survive Group Work


For me, studying abroad has made me recognize how globalized our world is becoming. Even though Canada is multicultural, attending school in Canada is very different from other countries. I probably would have never branched out and met so many people from around the world if I had not come to Australia. Studying abroad lets you suss out(Aussie slang: check out) how cultures vary from one another not only from food and tradition but in an educational and professional setting.


One global university challenge that all students face is handling group work. In the last year and a half at Griffith I have probably worked on at least nine group projects. Some went well and some gave me my most trying moments, which included clenched fists, gritted teeth and almost pulling out my hair. There is always someone who does no work, someone who is always late to meetings, someone who tries to take on all the work and sometimes there is someone who just wants the group to carry them through the assignment for a pass.

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Here is a few tips to surviving group work!


  1. Don’t always choose your friends. Just because someone is your friend does not always mean you can depend on them (I’m sure all your friends are as lovely as daisies but let’s get real, if they let you down on a group project before, chances are they will again). And by going out of your way to meet new people for your group you are creating a bigger network (maybe even a meeting a potential romance after all that hard work).
  2. Work with people who are vying for the same grade as you. In this way the group has a common purpose and the same goal they want to attain. By having the same standard it will be easier to divide the work load and ensure that the quality of work is acceptable for everyone.
  3. Communicate all the time. Whether it’s bouncing ideas off one another or letting someone know you’ll be a few minutes late with a valid excuse, it’s important that communication is happening in order to know everyone is on the same page. Let members know if there is a problem or if you need assistance – it’s better to talk and work it out than not saying anything and feeling unhappy about the project – especially the final mark.
  4. Don’t procrastinate and don’t leave it to the last minute. Every week leave a few hours aside to do something towards the project so that you aren’t stressed at the end. By prioritizing group work, everyone can have more time to review the content before submission and the group can feel confident and at ease about meeting the deadline. Most of all if someone is not cooperating you can deal with the situation by approaching your lecturer or tutor before it gets out of hand.

Group work is one of those love/hate relationships. When it goes well you don’t mind it but when it goes horribly, horribly wrong, you’ll swear you’ll never want to see the people in your group again (just like your ex). But remember that group work is not only a university situation but will show up throughout life. So take the lessons you learn from working in groups and reflect on what you could have done differently to apply in a future career!

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p.s- remember that as more and more people decide to work abroad you will be encountering individuals from all kinds of backgrounds. Studying abroad introduces you to new cultures that help develop your understanding of working in a globalized world. Many employers take into consideration what situations you faced as an international student; it may also give you a competitive edge by already experiencing having to deal with different types of people and situations.


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