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Dear Sumo Skinny,
I am not anti-social. I love people, parties, and friends. But I cannot deal with the people in my group for a group project that I have. They are lazy and don’t do any work, which is common for group projects, but worst of all they haven’t given me their phone numbers and I don’t know their last names (it’s a really big class), so I can’t even bother them outside of class to do their work. Do you have any ideas about how to get them to stop being such slackers?
Group projects…yeah. I’ve almost dropped classes because they include group projects in their syllabi.
Here is the only time group projects where ever fun:
-When we were 5.
Here’s how to fix it: get their last names. E-mail your professor and just ask outright for their names—if the class is really big, he/she will understand and just give you them. Then you can e-mail the people in your group.
If they still don’t do anything even after you’ve fixed your communication issues, you should try making an ally in the group. Find one person—latch onto one of them—who you think will do work. Or even find one person just to talk to after class. Figure out what you want to get from this conversation, and talk to the person about it quickly, that way he/she won’t have a chance to just leave. That way, you can e-mail your group afterwards and say, “This person and I were talking and were thinking…” With something like that in your e-mail, you won’t sound like the only one bothering all these students to work.
Of course, that runs the risk of all these people ignoring whatever you and this other person talked about, too, but at least you have one other person on board. Some people would say to keep bothering these people, but I suggest leaving them alone. The class will talk about the project, and it’s on the syllabus, so your group knows that it has to get done. The closer the deadline gets, someone will probably realize how much they screwed up, and e-mail your group to get it together. Even if it means pulling an all-nighter, it’s better to work hard with a group of people at the last minute than to bug them all semester, do a lot of work yourself, and then the week before the project be tired and annoyed.
Alessandra Siraco, Sumo in Residence
Questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org!
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