I am a grad student.

I am taking a course wherein we were asked to do a group project. I asked around a few people but people seemed "paired up". I found a group of two people willing to take me in.

First few days it was fine. Then the presentation came by, one member vanished and the other one "deleted" the slides he was supposed to discuss, made up an excuse, and in the end I ended up giving the presentation. The person was also controlling the slides while I was talking and at a point pretended that he couldn't move the cursor as the system hung up. We had to abort the presentation then. Moments later, another person came to help us out and as it turns out the system was perfectly fine. The guy only did that to sabotage my presentation. Why would he do that? Also the person who actually didn't show up got to the presentation last moment and started talking about it as if they knew everything about it(they made some wrong facts).

Its only later I found out that the aforementioned person (ppt killer ) is actually a really dishonest person (fabricated data due to which was kicked out of his phD program, got a masters instead and will be allowed to graduate sooner) and the other person is chums with him. Now we're working on something only I'm knowledgable about because of my previous work in the field (they are completely relying on my expertise, even the project title and content was chosen by me). This weekend we were supposed to have a meeting, just before the meeting I sent a paper which would form the crux of the whole project. After making it to the place, no one showed up and they suddenly made up excuses of not being able to make it.

I feel cheated, like they're only using me for my knowledge and excluding me out of all the real discussions and work for the project.

Should I ask the professor to change my group? As its still early on. Is this the right thing to do? Crossing those two seems bad, they look like the department "shitmouths" to me, always engaged in the latest gossip. What should I say to the prof, please give me some advice.


  • You might be able to keep the question open by asking, if I want to change groups, what's the best way to proceed, or by asking what the pros and cons are of requesting a change. // Universally useful euphemism: not a good fit. – aparente001 Mar 27 '17 at 22:04

I can give you some advice based on similar group dynamics I had.

While working in one of my thesis courses in industrial engineering/quality, I was paired up with a group that was fairly cohesive from the beginning. All, except one member, really made the effort to try on this project.

The one member, a gal, was not culturally and academically on the same page as us. I had her in a previous class and was known to cheat and probe for answers. It also showed she happened to be a bit crazy.

About a fourth of the way of our semester-long project, she went rouge and stopped showing up to our meetings, which in turn led to a lack of quality work, then a lack of work all-together. Come time for one of our presentations, we had clipped her powerpoint chart which had no meaning to our project and presented in front of the class. She immediately started presenting slides that weren't hers unannounced, obviously looking as if we were unprepared. We got an email, CC'ing the professor stating how we were "(explicit) this and (explicit) that for deleting her slide prior to the presentation."

Rather than confronting the issue, we built a case, with screenshots, email threads, and evidence proving she was not contributing any work. Solution? Present the evidence to the professor and have them facilitate the discussion. Chances are they'll ask you to stick it out but may be lenient on grading you.

With the professor there, we were able to have the tough discussion and bring it up to them because chances are your group member's poor character has also rubbed off on the professor. You'd be surprised to find out what your professor is thinking.

tl;dr version, come to your professor with concrete evidence on why this is happening, and see what options there are. The point of group projects in college are not to work with your friends, but rather be able to make difficult decisions with individuals you may not see eye to eye with.

I"m positive after this experience, you'll be able to cope working with people you don't necessarily agree with, morally or otherwise. My recommendation, finish off the project with poise and build a case against your bad apples so they'll be barred from ruining another perfectly functional group project.

Best of luck.

  • You gave me an interesting perspective on things! So you think that they might have been talking about me like that while telling me openly to my face that "since you know more, you give the presentation; we want to do nothing, jus for this time, please". Holy shit! That's just so low and ... sad. – B Poe Mar 27 '17 at 19:51

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