Conflict in Group Work

Some of my friends from last semester are in my class this semester. The couple girls that I know meet up in the grad lab before class. We sit around and gossip, girl talk, or talk about our classes. They asked me about my group. One of the members of my group wasn’t so receptive to group work from Day 1. I am not sure if I explained the bias that I felt, when I first met her. Well I said, it is going, we haven’t decided on a leader yet, have you? They both said, Yeah we have a leader.” These girls I think have one more semester and they are done and will have their Master’s. They are on top of things, and I like to think I am as well. I hate leaving things to chance, and not having a plan, outline, or a anything it makes me crazy uncomfortable.

When I walked into class, I took a seat at my table. I was the first one there in my group. I  was super uncomfortable. Angela was the first to walk in and take a seat. I asked her if we could add finding a leader to our agenda today at the meeting after class? She said, wow that is a little soon don’t you think? We haven’t even met yet. I said, “I have friends in two other groups who have leaders, and a plan of attack. We don’t have any of that.” I set up a doodle poll and only 3 people responded. We have 6 in our group. This is just terrible.  Well Angela said, “Okay, we will add it to the agenda.” She was not receptive and did not want to get a start on this at all, and was not proactive.

When class got underway, all my 6 members of my group were in attendance. My professor’s TA hosted the class. She broke us up into break out groups based on MBTI results. Okay, well I am an extrovert, and among the extroverts was Angela and Julie. Julie is in my group and she doesn’t do ANYTHING. She lets other people take the initiative and she bites off what she wants out of it. She doesn’t interject her opinion in our groups. She leaves it for everyone else. She doesn’t take initiative to be a spokesperson and write things down. She hasn’t researched anything. I was so annoyed by her.

After class we met as a team and we were talking about leaders and a plan of attack for this assignment. My group didn’t understand how we could go about this. I got up and asked Sarah (TA) if she would verify a few things on the assignment. I said, “How should we go about splitting up the work?” She said, “Well I would pick 4 themes and analyze them with the leader that you choose.” Okay easy enough right guys? I said, “Well I printed out some articles on Bono and Justin Trudeau and highlighted some key points that related to our articles and etc.” They were all impressed that I did that. They were like, “Wow look at you.” I thought uhh it’s grad school what did you expect? I wouldn’t come prepared?

We couldn’t reach a decision about a leader. They talked about different leaders now we are back to the drawing board what about taking a look at the things I printed out? They suggested doing Mary Robinson, or Ruth Bater-Ginsberg? We have to do serious people, not anything fun like a musician or an artist. We were to keep reading our individual books. Julie asked when was the book due? I said, “It’s in your syllabus, September 26th.” She said, “Oh wow.” I said, “yup.” I thought is she for real? Then I said, “This paper is due October 10th. I have another paper due October 1st, so I am really not trying to waste much time.” They all looked at me like I was insane. This is not my first semester, or my first rodeo. I was so anxiety ridden.

On the way home, I sent a very intense e-mail. I guess it was intense, but I was honest about how I felt. I told him wow I feel like we are behind and we need to have a leader by Friday? I just let them have it. I felt like I was the only one that is proactive. etc. Well maybe I should have slept on it…the storm was about to touchdown.

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