Last night's American Idol episode featured the first episode where contestants competing for the career of their dreams would have to rely on others to keep them in the game. If you were one of the many who tuned in, you would have seen many of the quintessential dynamics that can occur during group work projects.
Like it or not, most, if not all collegiate level programs, will involve group assignments and teamwork to help prepare you for the work place. As a culture we rely on pop-culture for entirely too much of our youth education. Nevertheless, because I adore Jennifer Lopez and because we can continue idolizing American Idol and learn from the lessons taught: group work hurts, suck it up!
Firstly, it makes working in a group a smidgen easier if you avoid walking in declaring your upmost respect... for yourself. Any person who purposefully alienates themselves at the expense of humiliating others can assume the role of being the outcast. The shows outcast was exploited due to the vocalization of feeling superior to the other contestants at an earlier point in the competition. Now, it may not always be possible to play nice, but at the very minimum, good efforts are appreciated. Remember, if you have nothing nice to say don't say it at all. Or if you're in business school, say it in small type font with splattered compliments accompanying your petitions.
Secondly, the black sheep is often the white light. Take Jacee Badeaux for example, who was for all intents and purposes, removed from of his original singing group. It was clearly to the advantage of his newly inherited group to herd the black sheep, who was, in fact, after all their white light. Jaycee may not have been the most suited for pulling off the moonwalk, but his spirit and talent danced on its own. Not to mention, there is something quite endearing about a 15 year old who can get kicked out of a group, find a new group, acquaint himself and in the end recognize it was his old groups loss, not his. If you find yourself isolated in a group project, please for the sake of higher education -- at least TRY to mend the situation independent of professor or TA intervention. More often than not, you will find in the workplace your boss is far less enthused while playing babysitter.
Thirdly and most importantly, have confidence in yourself; if you don't believe you're capable of getting the work done, no one else will either. Do your part of the work, complete what is expected of you, try your hardest. If all else fails, tune in to the next episode of American Idol, I'm sure there are more lessons to come.