~You walk into class on Monday morning, eyes drooping, wondering how you managed to get out of bed. You give a nod to your friends as you sit down and scroll through your phone for the last three minutes until class starts. When the professor walks in, he says, “Good morning, class, this week we will be getting started on our group projects.” Your ears perk up when you hear this. Immediately assuming the professor will let you choose your group, you and your friends look at each other with excitement, already starting to scheme an awesome group name. Then, the professor kills your vibe as he announces, “These groups will be posted on Blackboard by the end of the day.” You begin to worry, how can you work with random people? Our answer is, you get to know them: 2018 style. No face to face interaction required. The following steps will instruct you how to find out everything about a group member just by knowing their name, through a mock scenario.~
Step 1: Find Their Names
Throughout the day you are constantly refreshing your Blackboard page to see if you possibly missed a notification from your professor. Suddenly, a red notification sparks up on your desktop. You rush over to the computer to access your Blackboard page and you see your name followed by three other group members and their phone numbers. You immediately add these names to your contact list; however, none of the names seem familiar to you and you begin to panic.
Step 2: Match Names To Faces
The next day in class, you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for the professor to call attendance. You have the three names in mind and repeat them in your head, patiently waiting for your group members to say “here” as the professor calls their names. You hear “Bridget” being called and glance over your left shoulder as the professor looks over in that direction. Then, you hear “Joey?” As you look on the corner of your eye, he is sitting right next to you. Finally, “Alex?” Alex comes running into the room.
Step 3: Observe
Now that you have identified each group member, Bridget, Joey, and Alex, you keep an eye on them throughout the class. You begin to observe what supplies they bring to class and how their supplies are organized. Bridget, Joey, and Alex all take out their notebook and pen; as they do so, you make a mental note that they come to class prepared and they do not have papers falling out of their notebooks. Bridget takes out her laptop and it is filled with stickers. She has stickers of her sorority, Habitat for Humanity, Bruce Springsteen, Hawks vs Cancer, and other fun ones such as a lion, flowers, and sunglasses. Now, you feel like you know a little more about Bridget because of what she has identified herself with through those stickers. You now have a face to their name and have observed their behavior as a student. However, this is not enough information to make you feel comfortable about working with these people for the rest of the semester. For this reason, you go about the “2018 style”.
Step 4: Get To Social Media
After class, you walk back to your dorm feeling worried and anxious. Once you get home, you begin to think about how you can get to know your group members. As you scroll through your phone, you immediately check Snapchat to see what your friends are up to. You go to “add friends” and all of your group members immediately appear on your screen because you just added their numbers. You think “Hey, I will be working with them all semester, might as well add them now” and hit the add button. Snapchat has a feature of tracking your friends on “Snap map” where you can see where they are located. Once you have added your group members, you notice Bridget and Alex are in the sophomore housing, so you assume they are sophomores or they are friends with sophomores. In addition, you notice Joey is on the baseball field.
Then you see your best friend sent you a post on Instagram and you decide to go check it out. After looking at it, barely laughing, responding “LOL”, and scrolling through your newsfeed, you decide to look your group members up on Instagram. Despite the fact that all of their accounts are private, you already learn who their friends are and what associations they are a part of just from their “bios” alone. Joey is a junior who is in Sig Ep and is on the baseball team. Snapchat detected that Joey was on the baseball field, but now you have confirmed that he is on the baseball team. Alex is a sophomore who is on the dance team and does acapella. Bridget is also a sophomore who is in Sigma Sigma Sigma, from California and loves her dog. Without even following your classmates or knowing them for more than one class period, you already know what year they are and what clubs and organizations they are apart of. You give them a follow, because why not? Any form of social media platform can lead to endless discoveries: friends, relationships, pets, vacation spots, favorite meals, and much more.
Once this process has been completed, there is a feeling of ease. One may now feel comfortable with who they are working with. In addition, knowing these basic facts about your group members allows you to have good conversation starter, just in case things get a little dull! Try not to tell them everything about themselves though, they might find that a bit strange.