Disaster At Room 108

Crowd

Disaster struck today. Not the grand-stage Hollywood-type global tsunami or a continent-sized asteroid hurtling towards mother earth makes men and women at NASA and CNSA cry ‘mummyyyyy’ and soil their pants. No, no. It was much more subtle than that. It certainly wasn’t enough to cause the bedbugs infesting the resident halls around here much discomfort, let alone reverse the spin of our planet. But it was still, by all definitions of the word, a disaster!

There’s this thing about me, it’s a blessing and a curse all at once. When I commit to doing something, I won’t be willing to let the world see or hear of it until it is by my standards, absolutely perfect…or thereabouts. (For in stance I’ve been editing this post for almost a week now, so you know what I mean) So when I was presenting in class today only for a slide with but a half-finished sentence to pop up, It’s safe to say, my world came crashing down.

Alright, I hear you complain, what’s he rambling about? Maybe a little backstory would do us good at this point. There was this ‘group’ assignment we had to do. We kept pushing it back because procrastination is just fun. It was really because we prioritized other assignments and projects over this one owing to the fact it looked menial compared to the others (it wasn’t). On the eve of presentation day, everyone in the group panicked, but no one was really doing anything meaningful, so I took it upon myself to play ‘hero’.

I spent the next four hours scouring through the depths of online libraries and ebook shelves for content, came up with a neat little report, complete with well cited references and then sent it to my team members who were to take over from there and create the final presentation. And so, my heart content and my head swimming in pride, I bedded down for a well-earned shut-eye. Cue in this stranger lady, who then decided to call me at the stroke of midnight. Thank God, I can sleep through a band parade that can be heard for miles around…except unfortunately I can’t. So I was violently and inhumanely jerked out of sleep just in time to see the phone’s screen turn off. Sleep ruined and I couldn’t even give the person responsible a piece of my mind because she hung up and never called again. Until next morning that is, when my mood was better and all I could do was respectfully let her know she was calling the wrong number.

I arrived at class only to find the fella responsible for creating the presentation had made a hash of it and created a mishmash of poor graphics and meter-long paragraphs. So, I decided to touch it up a bit to make it more presentable, but with the teacher soon calling us up, there’s not much I could really do. Time’s up.

Halfway through the first slide, our presenter craned his neck in my direction and told me he couldn’t do it because apparently he never read the assignment I sent to everyone’s email. Good grief! I therefore took up the mantle and stood there in front of the class, fifty-some pairs of eyes assaulting me with glares that seem to pierce through my head. After a minute of clearing my throat, I got on with it…quite well actually. Until the half-sentence slide popped up.

My mind went blank. I began perspiring in places I didn’t know could perspire. I tensed up like a wildebeest crossing the Mara. There’s this deathly hush in the whole room. What better time than right then for the stranger lady to call again. No, really she couldn’t have timed it better because, with the class distracted by my phone’s ringing, I slipped my hand into my pocket to hit the reject button while the other hand jumped to the keyboard to skip the presentation to the next slide. First landmine thankfully evaded. Of course, I wasn’t so thankful the next three times she called while I went on with the presentation.

I stumbled and stuttered my way through the rest of the presentation and was duly surprised when my lecturer actually applauded it at the end. However, since I presented the whole thing by myself while my team members stood idly by, the lecturer caught up very easily on our lack of preparedness. The jig was up!

He asked me to take my seat while he assaulted my team members with highly technical questions whose answers I had but my teammates obviously didn’t. This time around there was nothing I could do, and although the lecturer never revealed what final mark he gave us, I knew it wasn’t good.

It felt like a crushing defeat. Despite all I did and how I did it,it turned out it wasn’t enough. So I decided next time, I would just sit cross-arms like and simply watch my team crash and burn while I employ my most villainy most uncanny laugh. Of course those of you who know me, know that am too gullible to do that. Bummer.

What I have observed about these ‘team projects’ or ‘group assignments’ is that you’ll almost always be faced by one of two scenarios. You’ll either meet these really splendid teammates who work like well-oiled machinery, real high-flyers, and you wonder, ‘Boy, what do I bring to the table here. I’ll have to really step up.’ Or you’ll be teamed up with disheartened unmotivated members who are probably more brilliant than they realize themselves and you know here you’ll have to step up in a different way and help them get their heads in the game and possibly produce the best underdogs comeback story ever, and have people write books and make movies about you and…errr excuse me, I get carried away. For what it’s worth, at least I know what scenario am faced with so I know what I need to do.

Then again, my observation could be wrong entirely.

Or not…let’s just end this on a positive note, yeah?

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Disaster At Room 108

  1. Unfortunately, you will have free-riders throughout life and not just at college. At work, in the family and anywhere something needs to get done. Then you have the incompetent. There should always be a leader in the group who is capable of assigning work to members of the group p based on their skills. Accountability is also very important. Each member should own a certain task and deliver on time. It is never good to postpone a project because other projects seem more important. Prioritizing does not equal belittling the importance of any project. So how do you make sure you have a birds-eye sight on all projects you are working on?

    Simple, create hard deadlines for each project. Create a timeline for when what is going to happen and who will deliver which deliverables. I use a tool called Trello. It is free and it does a lot of good. https://trello.com/ Here is how it works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe5ei52usQ8

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve tried most of what you recommend up there, but still there are always a few elements in the group who lag behind and don’t offer their full commitment to their tasks because they know at the end of the semester the project is only 15 marks out of 100.
      But all you suggest above is pure gold, I think everyone faced with a similar problem should see this. Thanks!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s