Ah, it’s that time of year again. By my watch the leaves should be changing colors and temperatures should be retreating from the mid-80s, but sadly this is not the case in Bizarro World.
What we have now are hurricanes in Canada and gas shortages in Atlanta. We’ve also reached that unfortunate time in the semester when we as students are not only faced with midterms but also those awkward play-dates known as group projects.
As though trying to deal with individual problems was not enough, our professors have graciously decided to provide us with important lessons in both forced collaboration and unwelcome depression. What follows is a breakdown of your typical “team players” and the battle cries you will be exposed to as you desperately pray for the end of the semester.
The Reluctant Leader: “I’ll send out an email later, I guess.” The Reluctant Leader is the Shakespearian tragedy of group members. The moment the professor announced the group project, his sweat glands kicked into overdrive: he knew that there was a 99% chance that he’d be leader by default, leading to misery, anguish and the loss of countless hours of sleep.
The Reluctant Leader’s downfall comes as he timidly announces to the group that he’ll maybe, sort of, perhaps send out an email, and before he knows it, he’s just accidently volunteered himself for 962 times extra work than he has time for. Tragic.
The Human Slug: “What did I miss?” The name “Human Slug” is misleading since he’s neither a gastropod nor vulnerable to salt. In fact, the Human Slug thrives in salt-rich environments of potato chips and moves so slowly that one might assume that he is indeed some sort of gigantic amoeba.
While “sloth-like” can be used to describe him, one should note that even sloths will sometimes move. The Human Slug arrives late (if at all) to every group meeting, and oftentimes the work “produced” by him can be substituted for the inane rantings of the criminally insane.
Don’t be surprised if the Human Slug is late to the presentation; in fact, go ahead and plan that he won’t be there.
Mr. Invisible: “…” Mr. Invisible will never be at any class or meeting, yet somehow through some vile witchcraft or sorcery will manage to get an A on every test, as well as have his assigned part of the project completed on time.
While the exact whereabouts of Mr. Invisible cannot be confirmed or denied, rumor has it that he has access to the Phantom Zone currently holding General Zod for all eternity. Despite his complete absence from reality on every day but test and project days, Mr. Invisible is in fact a valuable addition to the group merely because of his uncanny ability to pull through.
The Powderkeg: “Man I’ve had such a bad week.” Stand back, because the Powderkeg is one spark away from complete nuclear meltdown. Last week, his girlfriend dumped him, his dog died, he failed three of his tests and, to top it all off, Tech Parking fined him. He will often remain silent and attentively listen to everyone until that one moment when he’s asked to do slightly more work than someone else. At this point nothing but the fetal position will save you.
Fortunately, this particular group member is rare, and it is quite easy to protect one’s self from the fallout: give him some candy.
Johnny Law: “Okay, so let’s do things this way.” Johnny Law is the most annoying and obnoxious member of any group project. His unrelenting ability to make enemies with everyone in the group is rivaled only by his desire to be the leader.
Johnny Law loves nothing more than to micromanage every aspect of the group, including the order of names on the final presentation (his name first followed by the rest in alphabetical order).
His quest to do things his way never subsides, and he will fight kicking and screaming until the very end when he inadvertently sets the Powderkeg off, often resulting in a verbal thrashing, a humiliated Johnny Law and muffled laughs from the rest of the group.
The Overachiever: “So I was thinking we could…” The Overachiever is the bane of any group project. Sure his intentions may be good, but nobody cares whether or not the five-minute PowerPoint presentation about goats has a 45 second movie clip of famous goats in cinema that is completely unrelated to the actual project.
He will masterfully show his skills at video editing on his iBook and proudly describe himself as a member of the Church of Steve Jobs.
In reality, nobody really cares; they just want to get done early to watch how House handles his most bizarre medical mystery ever. At some point along the way, Johnny Law will have a throw-down with this chronic time-waster; hilarity is guaranteed to ensue.
The Saint: “Yeah, I’ll work on it when I get home.” The Saint is nothing short of a miracle. The Saint will always finish ahead of schedule and volunteer to pick up the slack that other group members inevitably leave.
So whether you like it or not, come Monday, these champs will remind you why you drink on the weekends.
Johnny Law will reprimand your slides because you used bold Times New Roman font instead of Impact like he clearly stated (what were you thinking?), and the Powderkeg will come to your meeting with eviction notice in-hand. It’s nice to know there are always people you can count on.