Home Opinion What Darwinism and Group Projects Have in Common

What Darwinism and Group Projects Have in Common

by Heather Berzak

If you’ve sat through an average middle school science class, the topic of Darwinism was bound to come up at one point or another when discussing evolution.

Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, developed a theory of natural selection called “Darwinism,” also known as “survival of the fittest.”

In other words, depending on the environment surrounding a set of species, only the species most suited for the environment will survive, evolve and reproduce, while the rest of the species die out.

Little did I know sitting in my middle school lab chair that Darwinism would present itself in more settings than just science class. In fact, I’ve experienced Darwinism all 3 1/2 years of college in the realm of group projects.

It’s very rare to hear an outcome of a group project include equal distribution of work with all parties involved.

Realistically, in a group of four, half of the team carries the weight of the project while the other half ignores the group. In a pair, one person takes control while the other either takes orders or makes excuses and doesn’t contribute.

For natural born leaders like myself, I take a lot of pride in my work, and understandably, want it to be done correctly and diligently. Unfortunately, in most instances I can’t get what I want unless I take on virtually the entire project myself.

This can prove itself to be very frustrating, and being a perfectionist, I do it anyway because I will not let my grade drop due to the irresponsibility of others.

I found myself getting into the habit of asking “Why me?” I tend to conclude that it is my fault for choosing the wrong group mates every single time.

Fortunately, through “group work Darwinism,” I’ve since taken a new angle on carrying the biggest weight in group projects.

The working world has its own set of diverse “species” (employees), with all different types of “traits” (work ethic), and depending on the “environment” (industry), there are the species that “survive and evolve” (hard workers) and the species that “die out” (slackers).

If you are stuck feeling like you always carry the weight in group projects and lack the empathy you deserve, just review the theory of “group work Darwinism,” and realize that a strong work ethic will defy the odds of natural selection over people who just get by.

You may be the boss of one of your group members one day. So pat yourself on the back, push through the agony and get ready to take a breath when you’re at the top of the corporate ladder.

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