Friday, September 23, 2011

if you want something done...

do it yourself.

In grade school, I hated group projects. Being the "smart kid," I always seemed to be stuck with the most uncooperative, lazy, and thoughtless people in the class. I ended up shouldering a good chunk of the work, and delegating tasks usually ended up in disaster, leaving me to pick up the pieces in a frantic rush before handing in the project. The irony with that situation is that I was considered the "smart kid," and had no other personality to those I worked with. Not only was I earning a grade FOR them, but they were judging and degrading me as well. Needless to say, I didn't like grade and high school very much.
To this day, I have an issue with allowing other people to pick up responsibility for a group effort. If the project we are working on in any way reflects myself as a person, affects my grade, or holds any kind of importance to me, I usually end up taking on the whole thing, giving others minimal tasks.

Often, I wonder if I'm too much of an over-achiever. Maybe I should settle down and trust other people. However, whenever I start to think that way, I am invariably proven correct in my original assumption: that I cannot trust anyone to do anything.

I've tried my hardest to sit back and let others pick up the slack, but it seems that nothing ever gets accomplished if I wait it out. Any activity that may prove to be unpleasant in any way, or that will involve a little more than passive effort is pointedly ignored, until I give up my "vow of silence" and just do it myself. This can be anything from cleaning the bathroom at my apartment to fraternity projects. It happens in class. It happened when I worked at Walmart, or even at the GAC. It happens when I support friends who can't turn around and support me. Invariably, I will do it, because it needs to be done, and I want to do my best.

My dad tells me constantly to not worry about other people, and what may be "fair" or "right." I should just focus on the end goal, and do whatever it takes to reach that goal.
I used to think he was being less than supportive, or understanding.
Now, I know that he's right, no matter how much that philosophy sucks.

The fact that I have to shoulder responsibilities that should be shared isn't right, or fair. I shouldn't have to beg for assistance, and everyone should care enough to do their part.
This, I find, is an unreasonable expectation.
Just because I put care and effort into nearly every aspect of my life does not mean that others will. In fact, it's very rare that people actually care at all.

Everyone is so used to instant gratification. What they do not realize, however, is that things like a diploma, degree, membership, grade,  job or friendship is not their RIGHT. People just aren't earning their rights anymore, I guess. People feel so entitled.

I recognize this, and understand why things are the way they are. It sucks. I still stress out and feel crappy when I undertake things on my own without any reciprocation. I resign myself to admit that if I expected friends to care as much as I do, I would have no friends. If I trust others with my grade, I may not end up with the one I deserve. If I refuse to do something because I've "done my share, and don't need to do any more," I probably wouldn't get far, at all.

Others may coast along and use me, but the more I think about it, the more I am okay with that. In no way am I hurt by that behavior, honestly. I am learning, doing my best, and getting the things I deserve. I will end up with a good job reference, friends, good grades, and I can say I am proud of the things I accomplish. I know the truth. I know who did the work, and who deserved the outcome.

One teaching strategy I will employ sparingly, and with close observation, is the group project. Even if it goes unnoticed in every other classroom, my students will be rewarded for the effort they put forth.

I know I can't be the only one who cares.


  1. Do you not work at walmart anymore? (I read this whole blog and all I care is about walmart, bad friend. =P)

  2. Oh Megan. :)
    In fact, I quit my job at Walmart at the beginning of August. I was offered the tech position with the BHS Marching Band, and Walmart was less than helpful when it came to changing my schedule so I could work both I quit!