I got paired with the dropout :(

Published

Is it a character flaw or just really bad luck?

I always seem to get paired with someone who does not give a care in the world or has no work ethic. In my biology class, I sit on my own and pay attention and take notes. The whispering and chatting is really distracting. When it comes time for lab a girl just sat next to me so the professor automatically paired us together. She is a pre nursing student so I was hoping that she would understand that we need to do as well as we can. I had to do the heavy lifting and then she tells me the week before our first exam that she is having surgery and won't be back for the lab so if I could just text her what all we did it would help her out. A part of me said no, you aren't my responsibility but then I thought if we are going to be in the program together I might need a favor too. I felt stressed out because of it and had to do all the work alone and make an extra copy to give to her. The assignment she turned in for us got a ZERO (which I had corrected today) and ever since she said she would be out she didn't respond to my texts about that class and hasn't shown up since (3 weeks now). I'm assuming she dropped out because she would have failed anyways from all of the absences. So now I have to go the entire rest of the class without a partner. I am doing the work of two even more so. Same goes for my government class. I'm paired with another person on a project who does not study and openly admits it and probably won't contribute either.

Enough with the rant. How do you all assert yourself (without being a jerk about it) and make sure that this doesn't happen to you during critical classes? Does this just come with the territory? I don't want to be dragged down because I am quiet and tend to stick to myself.

The post about the giggly nurses got me thinking about it and how it would be my luck to get paired up with the unprofessional group and get punished by association.

crazydoglady89

237 Posts

Most of my junior/senior year projects in my business degree were partner or group work. I can't tell you how many times I was paired with lazy people or just plain no-shows. It's frustrating for sure, but after the first few times you kind of just have to suck it up. One professor gave us the option of opting out of a certain part of the assignment, but that was NOT my normal experience. We would have to make up the work ourselves, or I would have to make do without my partner.

At the end of the day, the working world is a lot like this too. I've been an analyst for about 6 years and I can't tell you how many times I've been left doing all or most of the heavy lifting after someone bailed on the project or just "didn't have the time", but has no problem taking the credit or benefiting from my hard work.

The most you can do is the best you can, and asking the professor if they have any sort of policy on this sort of issue. Be prepared for a vague answer, but it is always worth asking about. I wouldn't worry too much about your actual partner, you never know what is going on in someone's life.

Unfortunately, it's never going to be 50/50. Sometimes it's 100/0, or 80/20, or any other combination. If you work hard, you WILL see the benefits. It's just never completely fair.

That's really frustrating, I'm sorry.

Luckily for me, when we have group projects, there's always some sort of accountability check in place (maybe it's my schools policy). For A&P, we have to turn in a peer evaluation every time we turn something in, so for the most part I've had group members that are held accountable (while my grade isn't!).

I do think this is just something that has to be worked through, because that's essentially the point of group projects. To teach you how to work with different kinds of people.

Good luck!

caliotter3

38,333 Posts

I once had to drop a class because at the night before meeting, no other group member had done any work. The instructor did nothing. I was out the money, time and work spent, and the inconvenience of an Incomplete on my grade. Sometimes one gets punished because of the actions/inactions of other group​ members. That provides practice for the unfairness of life.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Take a look at the information about your grade will be determined for these types of classes/activities. If your 'partner(s)' efforts will impact your grade - e.g., everyone in the group will receive the same grade - I would recommend asking your instructor for a 're-group' if you know that your partner is not going to be able to participate due to unavoidable absence because otherwise, you will be at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the class. I (as an instructor) have readjusted groups when this occurs... once adding a third person to a partner arrangement after obtaining the agreement of all three students.

If everyone will be receiving an individual grade based on his/her efforts, it's another deal entirely. It is your choice as to whether you agree to do all the work for someone else. If, as OP stated, the other person is a very 'iffy' student, there seems to be very little to be gained for continuing to prop her up.

Specializes in Family Clinic.

Thanks for the advice! I had realized that in my CNA course my partner dropped out then too so someone else had to pair up with me and repeat things. I just always seem to get the short end of the stick. I know people don't take school as seriously as I do. I just don't want this trend to carry over into the work force where I am the nurse that has to pick up everyone's slack all the time because I am an independent worker and seem passive because I would rather be inconvenienced than let the patients care suffer. Im thinking way ahead but it has happened at my last two jobs too working as a social worker office assistant and in telecommunications training.

WKShadowNP, DNP, APRN

1 Article; 2,077 Posts

Specializes in Hospital medicine; NP precepting; staff education. Has 22 years experience.

After too many failed or unsuccessful group projects I always take the lead and outline the project from the beginning, then delegate responsibilities with expectations of parts or all at certain points prior to due dates. That way, I can identify weakness or under performance and make up for it.

TuesdaysChild

1 Article; 94 Posts

You have to lay down your terms from the very beginning. Don't wait for them to start slacking and testing your boundaries. Tell them in no uncertain terms where the boundary is. And it doesn't have to sound preemptively accusatory. You can simply lay out your group philosophy in general.

I find that when the expectations aren't clearly defined, most people will take as many inches they can get from you. Your professors do the same thing when they hand out the syllabus before class and warn everyone not to be surprised if they don't follow it and end up with a grade they don't like.

Give those freeloaders your syllabus and stick to it.

In my first semster Gen Chem class, I had THREE successive lab partners drop out. The class was a mess, overall. Less than a third of the students finished it. Fortunately, we were being graded individually throughout. By the end, we were working in groups of three or four to get everything done faster.

Anyway, Chance010507, regarding the experiences you've described picking up other people's slack, this might be an interesting read for you:

Being a Go-Getter Is No Fun - The Atlantic

It can be terrible being the most efficient one in the office!

Julius Seizure

1 Article; 2,282 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Critical Care.
I just don't want this trend to carry over into the work force where I am the nurse that has to pick up everyone's slack all the time because I am an independent worker and seem passive because I would rather be inconvenienced than let the patients care suffer.

I foresee this being a potentially significant problem in your future career, but maybe not in the way that you are thinking. See, if you have this idea that your coworkers maybe aren't as hardworking as you are and that you need to pick up their slack, two very unfortunate things will happen:

1) You will become bitter towards your teammates.

2) You will burn yourself out incredibly fast.

Learning how to be assertive without being unnecessarily unpleasant is a skill. Nurses need to be able to effectively delegate tasks and direct the people around them (fellow nurses and other staff). Doing that takes leadership skills - including knowing how to get people to do what you need them to do - without them hating you!

I'd suggest doing some reading about assertiveness, and about leadership AND management skills. It's not something that gets taught very much in nursing school, but it can help make your life easier and less frustrating (even outside of work!)

Horseshoe, BSN, RN

5,879 Posts

In the case of someone dropping out because they had serious health issues, I do not see how you could anticipate it. Many times the person who develops the health issue could not foresee it.

MierKat

112 Posts

I foresee this being a potentially significant problem in your future career, but maybe not in the way that you are thinking. See, if you have this idea that your coworkers maybe aren't as hardworking as you are and that you need to pick up their slack, two very unfortunate things will happen:

1) You will become bitter towards your teammates.

2) You will burn yourself out incredibly fast.

Learning how to be assertive without being unnecessarily unpleasant is a skill. Nurses need to be able to effectively delegate tasks and direct the people around them (fellow nurses and other staff). Doing that takes leadership skills - including knowing how to get people to do what you need them to do - without them hating you!

I'd suggest doing some reading about assertiveness, and about leadership AND management skills. It's not something that gets taught very much in nursing school, but it can help make your life easier and less frustrating (even outside of work!)

This is fantastic advice. I'm a community college professor and see team issues a lot. I'd like to add that you can set yourself up for success by developing working relationships with people in your class prior to the day that partners/teams are formed. I remember having a class where I excelled early and I had four or five people ask to be on my team. If you see classmates who appear to be strong students - attentive to the professor, asking questions and not talking or goofing off in class - when you know from the syllabus that there will be teams/partners, take the initiative to ask them how class is going for them, ask if they'd like to be partners. At the very least, sit next to someone who appears to be interested in class.

Then once the work is assigned, talk about division of labor, set due dates early so that if the other person drops or doesn't perform, you'll have a chance to recover by doing the work yourself or talking to the prof about options.