THE BLOG
10/24/2014 06:07 pm ET Updated Dec 24, 2014

6 Tips For Surviving Group Projects

Ah, the dreaded group project. Your first group project encounter was in grade school, and you haven't quite moved on from it. You had to work in groups for projects in middle school, and then high school, whether they'd been assigned or chosen.

Group projects have always been maybe the worst thing ever about school, aside from actually having to study. You're forced to work with people you may not like or work well with, or who might not always put forth effort in the group.

You were also always told that the experience would only prepare you for later in life when you will inevitably have to work with others you wouldn't necessarily want to work with if given the choice.

We all dread group projects, but they're never going to go away, and we have to just accept that.

Here are 6 tips for group project survival that will hopefully benefit anyone who will have to work on a project with a group in the near future.

1. Acknowledge the fact that you may have to assume a leadership role.

If you don't know anyone in the group to which you've been assigned, you don't know anything about how serious they are about their grades in the class, or school in general.

Upon meeting your group, you might have to assume a leadership role. If no one else is going to step up and take responsibility, better you than no one, so your group isn't left with an average or below average score on the assignment at hand.

This isn't necessarily fair, but life's not always fair, especially in the professional world. May as well accept this sooner rather than later, and get used to it!

2. Repeatedly tell yourself it's just practice for real life.

As mentioned before, this whole experience is only practice for real life (when you've joined the workforce and are actually a productive member in society). The more experience with uncooperative, lazy and incompetent people you have under your belt, the more you will be prepared for what is to come!

Unfortunately, the cliché "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is perfectly applicable here, and you just have to keep reminding yourself of it until it's over.

3. Stay positive.

This phrase gets overused, but I'm going to say it anyway: stay positive when working in your group. Your positive attitude will rub off on your peers, and it will aid in making the atmosphere all the more favorable, and hopefully ease any tension.

Going into the experience with a negative attitude won't help anything, and it will only put a damper on an already sucky situation. Don't be that person.

4. Constantly make sure you're all on the same page.

Having to do this unfortunately comes along with the leadership role you may or may not have had to take in your group. If no one else is constantly checking up on the group about logistics, you should be that person.

Make sure group members are all on the same page about meeting times and spots, what you all will be working on at each meeting, who has been assigned to present what, who is responsible for what, when everything is due, etc.

You may seem like you're playing mom, but it's better than never confirming anything, and having something happen that could've easily been avoided with a little communication.

5. Don't be afraid to stand up to group members.

Hopefully, you've all decided who's doing what and who's responsible for what within the group. However, things don't always go according to plan.

Maybe one person, or more, won't show up to a meeting, or won't have their part of the project completed when it's expected to be. When/if this happens, you should stand up and say something. You don't have to be rude or come off as condescending, but you should say something to let the person know that what they're doing isn't acceptable.

The same goes for you. You should always make sure you're doing what you agreed you would do. You can't expect others to complete their part if you don't complete yours.

6. Know that it won't last forever.

Your group project will obviously only last until it is due, or until you have to make presentations, so you don't have to hate life forever. Utilize all of the above survival tips, and remember that it won't last forever.

Group projects can be stressful at times, but they're not going away any time soon. Go in with a positive attitude, be responsible, treat others the way you would want them to treat you and know that there is a silver lining. You're learning skills that will come in handy later in life.

By: Alexandra Brown, University of Illinois