I am on a rampage.
That’s right—I’m mad. Spitting mad, if you want to know the truth [though the spitting part has more to do with the phlegm I always seem to wake up to every morning, and less to do with my actual anger, but anyway…].
Let the record show that in school, I DO NOT LIKE GROUP WORK. Specifically in English classes. In my life, I have taken one geography class wherein I found a group project to be beneficial. Notice, if you will, that’s 22 years of life; I’ve taken a lot of classes, participated in hundreds of group projects, and could only come up with one that was actually worthwhile? Pathetic.
I am a rock. Image from here.
Here’s my theory: Group work in school is often hailed as “a good way to get ready for the real world.” I will agree with that, insofar as the specific course’s subject literally does utilise group-think in the “real world.” For example, surgeons often request second opinions of colleagues and utilise a network of nurses in the operating room. Surgeons should learn how to work in a group setting. Or perhaps forensic specialists, who regularly put their heads together to solve crimes—they would benefit from experience with groups. Another person who might find group work helpful on a regular basis is a police officer, who may interact with hundreds of human beings during any given shift.
But English, people? Writers? Writers [generally speaking—there are always exceptions] sit with a computer (or typewriter or quill) and…write. They don’t talk. They don’t cooperate. They don’t address juries. They don’t even have to be personable with their editor, so long as the job gets done. Writers write. In solitude, usually: They write in the mountains, on benches, at Starbuck’s™, in caves. They write alone, and that’s that.
So why the group work in an English 101 class? I could have come up with a ballad in half the time that would’ve sounded twice as professional, had I been able to fly solo. My professor is really nice, and I respect her very much…but I do not work well in group settings when I’m trying to write.
I am an island. And not a tropical one, either. I’m a dreary island. I am Ellis Island—I am Alcatraz. Image from here.
With group work, there are so many opinions to heed—and I don’t really like heeding opinions—leastwise, not when my writing is concerned. To write a ballad in 40 minutes, with all those ideas floating around, and hurt feelings to consider, and syntax to mind, not to mention a fluid rhyme scheme and—oh yeah—a plot…
…well, is it any wonder I got frustrated? Of course then I became a laughingstock to the kid in my group who wore the backwards baseball cap and a pen tucked trendily behind his ear—you know the type.
“Relax,” he laughed, “why you stressin’, girl?”
Why I stressin’? I’s stressin’ cuz this yo yo to the hip hop flip flop stuff actually matters to this beeyotch [me]. I’m stressing because I know I could crank out a fantastic four-stanza ballad in record time, and it would rhyme. It would be funny and light, and perhaps slightly cynical. It would be perfect, if I could do it by myself.
In fact, I think I will…