Patton: Group project member from 2014 finally responds to email

Davis Patton

Editor’s note: This is a satirical opinion piece. The names of some people mentioned are fictional. All of the quotes used are also completely fictional.

Yesterday, after five years of silence, a group project member of mine from a lower-level business course in 2014 responded to my email.

In March of 2014, I emailed Jordan to check in on the status of our project. We had split the work among all four of our group members, and a few days before the large project was due, we hadn’t heard from Jordan. Absent from class and unresponsive, we assumed he would at least be working on this project since it was 40 percent of his final grade.

A day before the project was due, we still had not heard back from him, so our group had to team together and complete all of the work that we had trusted Jordan to complete.

If I’m being honest, I was a little upset with Jordan. Sue me. I could not believe that Jordan would receive credit as a “group member” and earn the same grade as the rest of the group. Thankfully, at the end of the class our professor reminded us about the peer evaluation; the fail-safe way to expose bad group members. Hooray!

This peer evaluation would account for 10 percent of the total project grade, so 4 percent of a student’s final class grade. Finally! I was overjoyed to find out that students like Jordan, who didn’t show up to class and ignored my group’s communication on the correct assumption that somebody else would have to fill in the work he ignored, would not be able to earn more than a 96 percent in the class. The professors obviously understand that such a low level of effort is not worthy of a 97 to 100 percent, but potentially 96 percent.

Hearing back from Jordan yesterday was truly a blessing. He said, “Hey man, sorry that I didn’t get back to you earlier. Stuff just kept coming up but thanks for finishing stuff for me, I was able to get an A! I gave you all 100 percent on the peer evaluation, hope you did for me too thanks! Sent from my iPhone.”

Professors at Iowa State frequently utilize group projects to give students a taste of the real world, and they definitely do. They have helped us grow in communication skills, time management and building a team mindset. 

But most of all, our tenured professors’ group projects have assured us that if one day we decide that we’d rather not show up to work, ignore our co-workers’ communication and really just stop working for an indefinite period of time, we can still expect a near-full salary like the other hard-working people that will have to complete the work we’ve ignored.

Thank you Iowa State professors. We are all eternally grateful!