Each week I struggle to balance my schedule as a full- time student, an editor at the paper, a part-time babysitter and a girlfriend. Like everyone else on this campus, I am incredibly busy. Each week is an onslaught of quizzes, papers, interviews, articles, studying and my least favorite of all — the dreaded group project.

Unlike Stephen Kline in Editorials, I am vehemently opposed to group work of nearly any sort. While I agree that working together and relying on others is an important life and career skill, I am far from convinced that the reason professors assign group work is because of a desire to teach students how to interact and work as a team.

I cannot tell you how many times my professors have stood in front of the class, lamenting the class with the sad tale of how many papers and quizzes they have to grade each week. I am not contesting their hard work and dedication, I understand that being a professor consists of so much more than showing up and lecturing.

But my sympathy only extends so far. Often, when professors design their syllabi to lighten their work load, they push the burden off onto their students.

For the fourth time during my college career, I am in a class where I have been assigned a group research paper. In this instance, five of us are responsible for putting together a cohesive assignment with a mutually agreed upon hypothesis supported by strong research. Five opinions, five schedules and five work ethics have made the project miserable for everyone involved.

This class is no different than several others I have taken in both college in high school. When group work is assigned, professors often recommend that the team splits up the work into stages or independent parts.

There are two major flaws in this design. One, splitting the work into parts makes the team so reliant on each other that the structure of the project can easily cripple. If one student misses their deadline or does a poor job on their portion of the assignment, a weak foundation is laid down for everyone else involved. The model of group projects also deters students from being involved in and learning each step of the process, as they are responsible for only one part of the assignment.

Professors, I ask that in the best interests of your students, you ensure that your courses and assignments are designed to facilitate true learning and understanding. I know that this can be a difficult task, especially in general education courses filled to the brim with students who would rather be in bed and grade grubbers. President Cabrera’s new vision for the university, which stresses a need for innovative learning speaks perfectly to my cause.

I do not want to make hasty generalizations. I realize that group work can be an important facet of many classes that utilize the strengths of different students to create one project. As long as the purpose of the assignment is meant to benefit the students and encourage learning, I am a whole-hearted supporter.

*Editors note: Broadside reached out to the Registrar’s Office this week to follow up on the stories that broke in the Washington Post about students battling their in-state status. They were not available to speak with us this week, but look for a story in the upcoming weeks on Connect2Mason.com.