I’m a third year in the Commerce School. It’s everything I hoped it would be except for one big problem. I don’t feel like my Integrated Core Experience group works well together. There’s one guy there who always shoots everyone down, and he’s super rude about it. There are two girls who don’t do any work. It’s awkward, and I feel like it keeps us from doing anything really productive. I’m also worried about my grades. How can I handle it like an adult without running to my professor?
McIntire’s Most Frustrated
Dear McIntire’s Most Frustrated,
After you’ve spent the last two years fighting off the other thousands of your pre-Comm classmates for a coveted spot in the all-mighty Comm School where jobs, success and a superiority complex about plebeian College students can all be yours, you have to come back to reality and recognize the Comm School is not without problems of its own. Your classmates are going to be the highly motivated, ambitious students who survived the accounting, economics and statistics classes required for McIntire admission. If a grade distribution of only 8 percent As didn’t take them down, little will. Group projects are never easy. Group dynamics are often frustrating, but working with other people is an unavoidable part of life — engineers excluded — and the ability to compromise is an invaluable skill to possess. The best way to deal with the condescending group member is to prove him wrong — do your work, provide good evidence, present it clearly and don’t give him the chance to shoot you down. As for the girls who don’t do any work, start assigning individual responsibilities to each person so everyone is forced to pull his or her own weight. It can be disappointing when something you have dreamed of for so long turns out to be different from what you thought, but try not to start stressing out just yet. Remember that if all else fails, you can always get your M.R.S. or M.R. degree.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail one of my classes. I wanted to drop it, but totally forgot and missed the deadline. I don’t know where to go from here. I’m pretty sure no amount of effort would help me pass the class. Do I have options?
Dear Delayed Drop,
We’ve all been there before: stuck, for one reason or another, in a class that we really didn’t want to be in. There are the chemistry classes that seem like they should count for a foreign language requirement instead of science, French classes where the graduate student from Paris spends the entire first class screaming at everyone in French for not knowing enough about the French political structure and history classes where you have a 30-page paper due at the end of the semester. Some classes just aren’t going to be for you. Dropping the class in time would have been ideal, but you do have other options. If it’s the material you don’t understand, go to either the professor’s or the TA’s office hours and ask them to help you with the more difficult concepts; if nothing else, you’ll get brownie points for trying. If it’s the work you’re worried about, try breaking each assignment into smaller segments — writing two pages a week is a lot more manageable than 30 pages at once. If you find that after trying everything you’re still hopelessly failing the class, then you always have the option to withdraw. Withdrawing from a class doesn’t look great on your transcript, but failing looks worse. In pre-Commerce classes, however, SIS doesn’t even give you the option of withdrawing, so if this class happens to be a Commerce School prerequisite, you should probably just speed up the process and declare your economics major now. Right now, just give this class your best shot, and remember that for most classes you always have the option to withdraw.
Fight the power,
Dear Mr. Poe,
I’m a fourth year feeling the pressure to start applying for jobs. I know there have been a lot of career fairs recently, but I just don’t understand how they work. How am I supposed to talk to these potential future employers? What if I don’t own a suit? Is my résumé right? Clearly, I’m lost. Please help!
Was that profesh?
As far as I know, and I’m always in the know, there have been only two career fairs so far: Commerce and Engineering. So, you haven’t missed the boat entirely — far from it! Your first step is finding out what resources are available to you. University Career Services is a great place to start. You’ll want to schedule an appointment or stop by during their drop-in hours Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The folks at UCS can help you prepare for the Graduate and Professional School Fair next Tuesday, if that’s an option you’re considering. But Edgar’s not just pawning you off on UCS; if there’s one nugget of wisdom he can offer you, it’s that old cliche: Fake it ‘til you make it. You may not feel perfectly professional based on your résumé or style of dress, but these are things that can be improved. And when they seem more impressive, you will feel more impressive. And swag like Edgar never fails.
Disclaimer: Edgar is not a medical professional nor a psychiatrist. Edgar listens to your problems and offers what he hopes are constructive comments. By taking his advice, however, you accept full responsibility for your own actions.