Group Project Horror Stories That Every College Student Can Sympathize With

Group projects. We've all had to do them at least once in our lives. Having more than one person working on a project is great. You can divide the work up to finish the project quickly and efficiently. It seems easy, but unfortunately, things don't always go to plan. 

I asked students about the times when their group projects ended up being a disaster. Here are their stories.


Third Time's The Charm 

I was in a journalism class and we were learning how to use audio recorders. For our project, we had to take turns interviewing our partner and record it. I paired up with the person sitting next to me. We both admitted to being bad with technology, but we thought that it would be fine as long as we worked together.

The first set of interviews went great. We were proud that we were the first people to finish the project. As we were uploading our project, we realized that the interviews had to be at least ten minutes long. Ours were only two, which was why we were done before the rest of our class. We had to do them all over again.

We found an empty classroom nearby and redid everything. This time we returned to the classroom only to find that there was no sound on the audio file. We called the TA over because we thought that we broke the recorder. Apparently, we turned the recorder on but forgot to turn on the mic. We had to do the whole project, again…

We finally got it right after the third try. By then my partner and I never wanted to talk about our interview topics ever again. The plus side is that we became good friends after talking to each other so much.  -Maddie, Junior


Why You Should Always Do Your Research

I had to do a group lab report about acids and bases. We were supposed to test different liquids and then pick one to write about. My group decided that we didn't want to do the lab and were just going to write a report about why milk is a base.

I wrote up a fake lab report with my one group member while our other member made a poster. Our fourth group member just sat there and didn’t help at all.

The poster we made looked nice and our lab report seemed realistic, so we thought we were going to get a good grade. When our teacher came to look over our project, she had a confused look on her face.

“Milk is an acid,” she said.

Apparently, none of us thought to check whether or not milk was a base! She then had us each go through how we contributed to the project. When it got to our fourth member, he plainly stated that he did nothing. At least one of us was truthful.

We ended up getting a bad grade and I learned that you should always do your research. I will also never forget that milk is an acid. -Abigail, Senior


Confusion in Group Two

It was the night that my group project was due for my marketing class and I was chilling in my dorm room. Our group had split the project into sections and I had finished my part early.

I had forgotten that my phone died during the day and I didn’t plug it in until it was already late at night. When it finally turned on, I saw that I had over 100 messages on GroupMe from my group members. The time the project was due had already passed, so I was really worried as I scrolled through the messages.

The rest of my group had waited until two hours before the project was due to do their parts and were freaking out. The messages were so crazy and full of confusion that they were actually funny. I remember one guy, in particular, couldn’t remember our group number.

“Hello? Help!!!” he messaged after being ignored.

Our group number was written on the first slide of the PowerPoint for our presentation. We were in group two.

Luckily, another group member answered him and the project was turned in on time. Now I always keep my phone charged whenever I have a group project due. -Sabra, Junior

What We Can Learn

Group projects teach us how to communicate and work together with other people. Sure, they might end up being disasters, but we can learn from those mistakes to do better in the future. 

I once was in a group where a guy forgot to add me in the group chat and I didn't find out until I walked into class that they had deleted my slide. I ended up not speaking at all and just clicking the slides for the people talking. I felt embarrassed and never wanted to do another group project again.

Eventually, I had to do another group project. This time I made sure that I was included in the group chat and to voice my opinion. It is easy to shut down when things go wrong, but the best thing we can do is learn and move on. 

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3