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The 5 Stages of Grieving in a Group Project

There are very few things in life that elicit the level of complete dread brought on by a professor uttering the words, “Your next project will be a GROUP project!” The idea of you, an exhausted, unmotivated college student, working with 2 to 5 other exhausted, unmotivated college students on a project that’s probably worth like, 30% of your grade is enough to give anyone a headache. After being assigned your group and realizing how little you truly have to work with, your mind, struggling to process this grim reality, goes through the same 5 stages of grief that occur when you lose a loved one: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.


1. Denial

For a brief, blissful moment, you think, “Maybe they’re joking.” There’s no way an actual college professor teaching an actual college class would pair us up in groups like my teachers did in high school. Right? Right.


2. Anger

The professor starts reading out the groups. They’re not joking. I’m going to have to suffer through this for at least the next week. I’m going to have to delegate. I’m going to have to text people and organize meetings. I’m going to be RESPONSIBLE for another HUMAN BEING. I paid thousands of dollars in tuition for this bulls**t?!


3. Bargaining

Maybe there’s something I can do. I can talk to the professor and they’ll make an exception. I’ll say I’m too busy to meet up outside of class, and they’ll let me work individually. Or maybe I can make up some kind of medical excuse. I’ll fake a hospitalization and say I broke my leg. I’ll ACTUALLY break my leg.


4. Depression

I can’t do that. This is my life now. My weekends and evenings are going to be ruined, and there’s nothing I can do to fix it. My group is probably full of incompetent losers who don’t even know how to make a PowerPoint, and they’ll probably submit our essay in Comic Sans. I’m going to fail this project and fail this class and fail out of college. What are my parents going to say?


5. Acceptance

Whatever. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, who cares? My life is already a mess. I’ve eaten Top Ramen for three meals straight, and the last time I slept it was because I accidentally fell asleep in the shower. It can’t get much worse. Let’s just chug 4 cups of coffee and get this over with as quickly as possible.

Group projects are the absolute worst. Still not sure who decided that they were a good idea because they certainly are not. Hopefully, the rest of your semester is filled with individual projects and the dreaded group projects are put to rest. 

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