Drawing the Line: When to Say No in a Study Group
Published on November 28, 2016 by arothstein
One important component of your support system while you are enrolled in college is your study group. Comprised of various classmates and friends, these individuals become your extended family during the long hours of preparing for tests, projects, and exams. As you work towards your degree, there is no doubt that the members in your study group will change; sometimes as often as every semester. You may eventually be faced with an uncomfortable position with a study group member or with an individual seeking to join your study group that will require you to just say no. Don’t hesitate. It will be best for everyone involved. Here are some examples:
- A well-known slacker asks to join the group. You are a member of a cohesive study group. You are close, interact well together, and are making the grades to show your strategies are working. Word travels fast, and you are contacted by a student in one of your classes about joining the study group. Unfortunately, this student is known for being late, turning in assignments after the deadline, and generally, just being a pain to work with. Instead of assuming he may turn over a new leaf when he is given the chance to work with your group, explain that the group is full and not interested in accepting new members.
- A current member has stopped pulled his or her weight. During college, everyone goes through periods where they struggle. Touch base with the individual to see if there is a specific personal issue they are going through that may explain the change in personality and work ethic. If not, explain your concerns about their lack of contribution. If the problem continues, poll the other group members about how they would like to handle the situation. However, don’t let the other individual go too long reaping the benefits of the study group when they aren’t contributing. If you do decide to ask them to leave, feel free to extend them an invitation to return when they feel they can dedicate their full attention back to their studies.
- A group member crosses a line. A group member explains that they have gotten their hands on a copy of an upcoming exam and wants to share it with the group. This is when you have to take the high road and take action that is going to be tough. You need to give your group member an opportunity to turn the exam into the professor. However, if he or she refuses to do so, you need to report the incident yourself along with any evidence you have of the incident. Regardless of how close you are with your group members, academic honesty is essential and no test is worth losing out on your opportunity to get your degree.
- The group is wasting too much time socializing. It is wonderful when study group members get along. Having a built in group of friends is a bonus. However, when study sessions devolve into gossip fests or discussions about sports, and your time is being wasted, you may need to step in and check out. Explain to the group that studying needs to come first, or you may need to consider finding a new group.
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