The Project Work fever is alive and well – or at least, it seems to be, from the frenzied printing of GPPs that have been going on in the computer lab lately. In this article, we take a look at everyone’s favourite subject (Editor’s note: I hope that’s a joke), and debunk some of the myths that surround this mystical and awe-inspiring entity

Myth 1:

“It’ll be easy to get along with my group.”

Just like a model answer for most economics essays, the best answer to this (and a lot of other questions) would be that it depends. In this case, on your group, and on yourself. In the end, don’t count on getting the group of your dreams, where you are chummy with everyone. In fact, you can’t even rule out the possibility of being placed in a group with none of your friends at all. Ultimately, since this is out of your control, the only way to handle the situation is to have an open mind and be prepared to work with anybody in your class.

Myth 2:

“PW will ruin my friendships.”

PW is in fact the test of your friendships. PW reveals the true nature of a person, at least in terms of their work ethic; but for a project that requires so much work, that might be enough to tear friends apart.

The stress that comes with this year long, graded project can get intense at times, and unavoidably, people with clashing personalities or strong opinions will not always agree. This is especially true in the face of seemingly endless criticism from your ST, or in the case of unbearable freeloaders. (Dear reader, please don’t be one of them.)

However, while some friendships will be strained, others will inevitably be forged. During PW, as a group, you will go through blood, sweat and tears together, as you try to collectively obtain your A. If all goes well, all these shared experiences – all the sleepless nights and rejections and prototyping woes – can make for some positive memories of teamwork and growth, or at the very least, some laughs. In fact, I dare say that if your friendship survives the whole journey, then it will emerge stronger and more long-lasting.

In the end, it boils down to how you deal with your groupmates. Differences and conflicts are not irreconcilable, if everyone involved puts in the hard work. Who knows, you might even come out of it with new friends

Myth 3:  

“It’s the end of the world if I don’t get an A.”

This really depends on what your expectations are for yourself. Sure, the sky won’t fall if you get a B, but it does impact your rank points at the end of the day, and it really sucks to get anything other than an A after all the hard work you’ve done. Sad, but true: to get the ever elusive 90 rank points, you do need your A grade for PW

Ultimately though, a lot of factors can come into play that affect your final grade in a subject as subjective as PW (pun not intended), many of which are out of your control. So don’t beat yourself up for not meeting your goal. Getting an A is for any subject is not as easy as one might assume. Just dust yourself off, and use this as the impetus to charge forward to ace your H2 subjects.

After all, as the cliched saying goes: It’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. If not the desired grade, at the very least you will be able to take away the lessons learned about project management, society and yes, other people, which you can carry with you for the rest of your life. (If all goes well, though, with 10 ranks points in the bag as well.)

Myth 4:

“Everyone will play an equal role in the project.”

That’s what we all hope, right? Let’s be real though: Not everybody is a great group mate. There will always be that one (or more, if you’re unlucky) person who doesn’t contribute as much as everyone else in the group, unabashedly freeloading and allowing the other more hardworking people tank his load. As much as we may try to push for equal distribution of work, it is inevitable that some will suffer more than others and, as unfair as it is, there’s not much you can do about it.

In the end, maintaining a good working relationship with all your group members might be the most important, to make sure that no huge conflicts arise because of someone’s lack of contribution. Working around your group is equally important, to make sure everyone is satisfied with the contributions and the final result of the project.

Myth 5:

“PW is just an ordinary project, but extended.”

Although mostly true, as Project Work spans almost the entirety of your J1 life, Project Work consists of both individual and group-based assignments – Calling it an extended, normal project would be underestimating its overall aims, which are to “acquire collaborative skills through working in a team to achieve common goals.” In addition to this, sometimes, PW can be something more, something of meaning and value. Some of the ideas people have in PW go on to become actual, real-life projects that go on to have positive impacts on society!

All in all, no matter what any of us think about PW, we can all agree that it a unifying factor for all of us who went through it. We would have tales, both horrific and hilarious, to reminisce and recount to friends, children, or even our grandkids on our deathbed or a rocking chair. So to the J1s, enjoy PW while it lasts, for better or for worse, because next year this time, you would be wishing you still have it instead of the crazy workload of pure mugging-ness.

Elizabeth Wan, 15A12

Pye Sone Kyaw, 15S44

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