Confessions of a Control Freak: Group Projects

By: Abbie Goldschmid

I’m just gonna sit here. Don’t say anything. Don’t look up. The professor passes his eyes over every single one of us. He repeats the question: “So, how do you want to divide this up?” Let someone else take this one over. You have too much going on. I promised myself this would be the first time I chose not to take over a group project. I would just follow this time, not lead. I would do my part and nothing more. I could trust other people with my grade, right? I wouldn’t just do it all this time.

Needless to say, that didn’t work out for me. Even as another classmate began to dish out who was going to do what, I couldn’t stop myself from just volunteering to do way more than was necessary. I wanted to have my hands on at least a small portion of every element of this project. I couldn’t lose control long enough to allow other people to have some part in what grade I was going to get. Once again, I proved just what a control freak I truly am.

I’m not going to lie, I like taking the lead on group projects. Sure, it’s a lot more stress, and I’m sure my partners wish I would let them do more (well, some of them anyway). But, I mean, we got an A. They can’t complain about that, and I didn’t have to let anyone else have control. I could keep it all for myself *insert evil laugh here*.

Is control worth the all-nighters? Is control worth not allowing my fellow classmates to learn as much as they might have if I had let them have a bigger part in the project? I may have gotten them the A, but I promise that I’m not thinking about THEIR grades when I volunteer to do everything.

Control often changes my motives. Instead of genuinely trying to help people, I’m just looking out for myself. My grades, my academic appearance, my project, my control. It feeds my ego, makes me feel important. That’s sad — that I require control to feel worth something. How little I must think of myself if taking value away from others, in this case my classmates, is the only way I can value myself. Why do I doubt my classmates’ competence? Because if I think they can’t get me an A and I can, then somehow I’m more valuable than they are. I like to think that I’m not trying to do that, but if we’re being honest here, that does make a lot of sense.

So, next time the prof is eyeing the class, waiting for you to volunteer to head of that research project, maybe you should let someone else take the lead for a change. You might even have to settle for a B, but at least you can see yourself as worth more than red letter on the top of your paper. You’re worth more than control — and that’s coming from the control freak.

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