If you’re experienced with seminars, you’ll know that where you sit in the first few weeks can be crucial. Yes, this insane high school rhetoric can still be at large even at university. But not for popularity points, oh no, if only it were that simple. It is a matter of survival. The survival of what you ask? The gruesome, disgusting, terrifying thing that is group work. When I started at university, I thought this heinous form of assessment would be over for me, especially as an English student. And yet, here I am as a second-year student still being plagued with this terrible task. And so, this is where the seating plan comes into play. In my experience, tutors often do the easy option of grouping people in 3 or 4 people based on whose sat where. You hear them say the dreaded ‘you four, you three…’ And there we go, before you even know what’s happening you’re paired with potentials for disaster.
The keen bean
There are four main archetypes of people you can be landed within group work. First, you have the keen bean. The person who is very on schedule wants to meet up every other day to discuss the texts, who annoys you but inevitably saves you from getting a 3rd.
The not so keen bean
Next, you have the opposite, the person who doesn’t give a fuck, never replies to messages, and who you are forced to start to care about because that’s right, you’re marked not individually, but as a group. Before you know it, you’re getting the details of this person’s housemate drama and THAT’s why they haven’t been doing anything.
The in-between bean
Third, the in-between bean. They’re happy to meet up and will do what’s asked of them, but they can’t help but remember that this assessment is formative and a complete waste of everyone’s time (it me).
The golden bean
And last, you have the socialite, who is always suggesting to meet at The Impy and ends up convincing everyone to get pissed. This gem is rare, but when you get this one, it makes this painful that much less painful, with, well, drunkness. And chips.