The Difference Between Whining and Having Real Concerns College Life / Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

Sometimes in group work, one of the partners does all the work “because it’s easier than asking someone to help.” But that defeats the purpose. The only thing one member learns is to be a free loader. The other teammate feels put upon. Neither learns to work as a team.

I was in a group once where we had to write a 42-page paper. I had two teammates, one of whom did not understand the concept of citing sources and the other who contributed “nice job, guys” and “my name is spelled with a “ph” instead of a “v.”

In the case of the former, I went back and inserted every one of his massive amounts of non-cited sentences (his part was essentially a huge copy-and-paste from the work of others). Yes, I had to read all of his sources at the last minute so that I would know where the citations belonged.

For the other fellow, there wasn’t anything I could do, except to deny him a letter of reference for a job he wanted a few weeks later. (Was he kidding? I wasn’t going to recommend him for a bus boy job, much less a position in academia- with apologies to bus boys!)

So what are you to do? Please let the professor know what you are going through BUT please do not wait until it’s too late for us to do anything about it. Let us know if someone is not participating a couple of weeks into a project. Don’t tell us on day two that “Matilda isn’t answering the 57 emails I sent her since close of business yesterday,” but do tell us if someone seems to be ignoring your missives.

Case in point: I had a graduate level major league project due in two days and one of the teammates posted on the team’s discussion board area, “When do you want to meet to discuss the case?” It was due in TWO days!!! It was worth a boatload of points! What was the student thinking????

Fortunately, her teammate had let me know about the issue a few weeks back and I allowed the first teammate to work alone. As for the other gal, she flunked the class.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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