What is a Freshman Guide without a clichéd article about the archetypes of people you will have the pleasure of working with during the course of study here? Exactly, it would be NOTHING – very much like the answer a certain type of groupmate would give you when asked, “So what did you manage to find about our project’s most important feature, XYZ?”
May this list warn, as well as help you identify the type of groupmate your prof has pre-assigned you, hopefully preparing you enough to not give any pucks (the Hockey kind) when things begin to go up in flames.
We’ll start with the most recognisable one. Most teams, if not all, have one of these types. Some groups are lucky enough to get two leader types but that is as rare as catching a Dragonite twice in a row (unnecessary Pokemon reference #1). This groupmate usually has the whole flow chart operationally ready on the GSR’s whiteboard before your meetings are even due to begin. Perhaps the reason why this type of student is seen in most teams is because someone eventually has to step up and lead before they get derailed. The true leaders wittingly know how to lead the group in the direction of that A+, while the ones who have greatness thrust upon them try anyway. If they know what they are doing, help make the project a success story. If you think you can do it better, stage a coup.
Needless to say, this type of groupmate rarely clocks more than 15 minutes of actual face-time per meeting. Meetings are a chore to us all but we appear anyway in hopes of having a fruitful discussion. The only input from them comes in the form of 3 letters: OMW (On My Way). Everyone might be gathered by 9am, but at 10.15am, all you know about the whereabouts of your teammate is that they were “OMW, passing by Orchard MRT now!” half an hour ago. And then 15 minutes before the meeting is about to end, they burst into the room apologising profusely. If you find yourself in a group with a few of the OMWs, skip the meeting and just hold an online meeting on Skype or Google Drive. You can debate about the color of your presentation slides online.
The Oversharer and Occasional Ranter
An annoying groupmate did something to make life hard for the group but you forgot what their ridiculous excuse was? Or maybe your other teammates argued over something important but you somehow for the life of you cannot recall what it was along the lines of. No worries, just head on over to this groupmates’ social media platforms. A decorated three-paragraph story embellished with twists and turns is the norm for this J.K Rowling. They enjoy reporting about or griping about their own teammates on a digital platform to collect sentiment. This groupmate type is your group’s personal scribe so be careful about what you say lest it ends up online.
The Stubborn Blur Sotong
This archetype might actually be the hardest to work with. You could technically work with a serial latecomer or even without the ghost groupmate whom no one has ever really seen in the flesh, but working with a Psyduck (unnecessary Pokemon reference #2) who is adamantly stubborn might be a very unpleasant experience. These groupmates are always a good five steps behind everyone and when they finally do catch up, they argue about issues that were solved 20 minutes ago. It can be quite tiring having to baby a groupmate because of the time and energy you will end up expending, so the best way to deal with these types of groupmates is to give them a task to do to keep them busy OR discuss the issue at their pace. With flashcards.
The Dictator could give the King in the North a run for his money. And we aren’t talking about Winterfell, if you catch our drift. The dictator barks at you unnecessarily and demands for many things. This groupmate embodies the essence of a rogue Leader type, except they have no idea what they are actually doing. They only care about being the only one to call the shots, even if the shots might be misfiring. Shut this one down by telling it to them straight – STOP BEING A DICT.
The Email/Phone Spammer
If you have one of these peoples in your group, remember to turn on the Airplane Mode function on your phone before you sleep – we don’t want you waking up to this person’s 23 emails or 105 Telegram messages. The spammer usually works late into the night or at strange times (like during lunch – what???) so their brain cogs are constantly turning, which means your phone is always pinging too. We recommend muting the group, and checking it at least once an hour to the refreshing ideas they suddenly thought of while in the loo.
It is always nice to see groupmates who want the best for the team. You know they are in it together with you and that you will see each other through to a decent grade – and all while concurrently learning loads in the course of your project. But unfortunately, this type of groupmate may be a little…ambitious. They will be the one to suggest making a short film for a presentation on ‘Terrorism’ or printing a SBS bus sized poster for your Marketing presentation or even trying to land Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as Guest of Honor for a panel discussion. They have a good heart but you may need to keep them grounded, and realistic.
The Best Friends
These types of groupmates often come in pairs. You never see one without the other and when it comes to forming groups, it is literally like a ‘Buy 1-get-1-free’ deal. The best friends have their own language and feed off of each other’s energies. The best scenario sees them generating the best ideas and complementing each other with their strengths. In the worst case scenario, they constantly bicker and remain rigidly stubborn about their individual ideas, foisting an awkward environment for the rest of the group who don’t know how to react. Just make sure you don’t take sides.
The Soul Mate/Mind Reader
This groupmate is a godsend – they agree with you a lot, they understand what you want to put forth through the project, and they are in sync with the whole team. These group members come to meetings with the tasks you wanted to delegate, already done. They might be close to the Leader type seeing that they want the best for the team but this breed of groupmate would rather be on the sidelines cheering everyone on and giving them support. Grab these types and hold them tight! (‘:
This groupmate type is like the Zubat of groupmates: they are EVERYWHERE and unavoidable (also, unnecessary Pokemon reference #3). Theirs is a very important function, considering the mechanics of a project group: without them, you don’t feel the sense that you are going in the right direction. You see, Parrot types are the ones who just…parrot...whatever you say. Some Parrots actually make an effort to not just shrug and say “Oh, same as you,” right after you say something and ask for their opinion – some Parrots actually make the effort to rephrase what you say and make it a longer spiel. Perhaps these special types know the reinforcement will keep you satisfied and unsuspicious of their lack of an opinion!