Saying "I'll Start the Google Doc" and Other Ways to Assert Dominance in Your Group Project


As the semester’s halfway point rapidly approaches, you may be settling into the feeling that your grades are like, actually your grades. For the students too lazy to drag themselves to a research study in University Center C for a crumb of extra credit Sona credits and too dignified to do some good old-fashioned groveling, there are few options left to literally just pass. If that’s the case, power-posing your way through the group project worth a quarter of your final grade might be the solution for you. 

1. Saying “I’ll Start the Google Doc”

Taking on the task of bringing the group’s inaugural Google Doc to life – creating the collection of the various email addresses, advising in the group chat that everyone should “give it a look” whenever they “get the chance,” and thriving among the hustle and bustle – gives you an early lead in the race for the title of unofficial group leader. You are King John of England. This is your Magna Carta. Remind your classmates of your superiority by initially sharing a “view only” copy of the document, awaiting their confusion, and then sending a fixed link. You giveth and you taketh away.

2. Taking Home the Group Contract

Eventually, the time will come to draft and sign the group contract binding you to these five strangers for the remainder of the semester, for better or for worse, ‘til deadline do you part. Once it’s been submitted and returned by your professor, step up to take the group contract home and send everyone else a picture in the group chat. This will gain you their trust; it’s a post-verbal academic “Hey, I get it.” At this point, your post-project group member evaluations are locked TF down to your position as alpha.

3. Prefacing All of Your Ideas With “I Mean, If It’s Cool With You Everybody Else...”

This tactic is all about psychological manipulation. You’re essentially saying “I’ve already done all the important thinking, just check yes.” Not only do you position your suggestions as such clear choices that they should be the default, but your phrasing also offers you just the right amount of nonchalance to make any dissenter sound super chalant. You’re not here to make enemies, but you’re also not here to make friends. You’re here to become America’s Next Top Group Leader.

4. Suggesting an Out-Of-Class Group Meeting at Your Place

Make your group members meet you on your turf. You will not be providing snacks, but you will be providing judgment. Regardless of who is putting the PowerPoint together, it is YOUR bathroom that they’ll have to ask to use while making it. For additional intimidation points, start the group meeting in a common area and then ask “Do you wanna take this to my room?” It’s vaguely sexual yet totally contextually appropriate. Your group members are nervous, but a little turned on and unsure why.

5. Making It Clear That Group Evaluations Won’t Be Automatic 10 out of 10s

When it’s time to fill out your group evaluations, your group members probably expect a traditional, easy farewell in the form of no-questions-asked five-star reviews. You have other plans. Establish early on that you take group evaluations very seriously. When Stacey shows up five minutes late to the first group meeting (refer to #4), that’ll cost her a few points come judgment day.

The Eggplant FSU