How to explain my extended absence this time, readers? It’s not that I haven’t had time. That’s my usual excuse. I have had time. It’s thoughts I’ve been short on. Senioritis. I’m at a loss for anything interesting to say about school.
I’m going to go on another rant about group projects. I know I’ve written about that before, but that was an eloquent, well thought-out post, whereas this is just going to be me bitching. Here goes. The team thing is just out of control. Senior design project: teams of five. Alternative energy projects: teams of two. Heat transfer lab: write the lab reports in teams of two or three. Heat transfer lab project: teams of three.
Could I please just work on a project by myself for once? Good god. It’s not even that I dislike my teammates. I’ve had pretty good teammates this semester. It’s the act of finding time to meet with ALL of these people, figure out who is going to do what, do it, coordinate the results and assemble the results into something that looks even remotely cohesive (you know – like it would look if ONE person worked on it?).
Some projects, like senior design, okay, I get it. It’s a large semester-long project. Students are not realistically going to do those projects alone nor would they want to. Projects like that are always going to be done in teams, whether it be in school or in the professional world. But lab reports? There is nothing remotely advantageous about trying to write a lab report in a group. It’s torture. Why are we doing it? Because there are too many students in the engineering program and the TAs can’t grade that many lab reports. So we get to do them in “teams.” Oh goodie!
It used to be that I worked alone on almost everything. Early in my engineering life I was taking mostly core academic classes and was spending time sitting in lectures, taking notes and doing homework by myself. Sure, too much of that can get to be a little lonely, but now I’m experiencing the other extreme. I knew getting an engineering degree was going to mean group projects, especially junior and senior year. I was bracing for it (not looking forward to it, mind you). And here it is! And, oh God.
What is it with engineering and group work? Last I knew, pretty much every profession required you to work with other people in some capacity. Are engineering students considered so socially inept that we need a super big dose of group work to help boost us into the professional world? Seriously. I spent ten years as a graphic designer working with all kinds of different people in small groups, large groups, groups of people in different states and different organizations, so on and so forth and et cetera. Did I have group projects in art school? I recall maybe one.
I’m a hard worker. I’m accountable. I do what I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it. I’m a good teammate. Some people are the exact opposite. Some people are crappy teammates. And you know what? They’re going to be a pain in the ass on school projects and they’re going to go on to be a pain in the ass on professional projects. I’ve worked with them in both places. They’re just as sucky either way. School projects don’t fix that. So what I’m saying is we’re being put through this torture for no useful purpose. At least in the professional world there’s a (small) chance a person might get fired if they demonstrate their sucky-ness broadly enough.
Rant over. Honestly this semester is going great. My schedule is downright leisurely, I’m taking a class about beer and liquor (for credit!) and I’m learning how to box. My senior design project is interesting and creative. School for once does not feel like prison. So, win! But, seriously, stop it with the group projects.