Saturday, January 31, 2015

Working Alone

(FYI: Names have been changed. I figure I have no right to embarrass anyone besides myself in this post, ha ha. . . .)

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Photo mine

I hate group projects.

The professor of our Business Writing class had told us to come on Friday with rough drafts of the “Methods” section of our proposals. Thursday night, I sent an e-mail to the other members of my group about that. No responses. So I chose one subsection and woke up early Friday morning to whip it up.

The professor never asked for the drafts, so I’d lost sleep for nothing. And I didn’t get much of an explanation from the other group members.

I like them as people. But that’s the problem with group projects: you can’t depend on people—even likable people—to be as committed as you are. It’s safer to work alone.

After class, I walked to the Wilk and picked a table. I generally go straight home, but I needed to work on my internship application, and I get more done on campus than at my apartment. I chose the Wilk because I’d heard James sometimes hangs out there at that time of day. Pathetic, I know.

My pile of work hadn’t shrunk much by the time I got home, but my patience had. So I spent the next hour curled up with Gretchen on her bed finishing her favorite webshow: “The Lizzy Bennett Diaries.” They’re a hundred short clips portraying a modern version of Pride and Prejudice.

I always forget that Gretchen is four years younger than me. She comes off as pretty mature, even with her purple-streaked pixie cut and taste for things like webshows. Maybe it’s her smile. It emits a casual wisdom: earned but taken for granted. She also scored a boyfriend last week—something I’ve never done.

Gretchen eventually headed off to meet said boyfriend somewhere, leaving me to watch the last couple episodes on my own. Of course, the resolution scene (in which Lizzy finally admits her feelings to Darcy and starts a kiss fest) was my favorite. I watched the emotion leak from their eyes and drank it. Clicked “replay” and drank the backwash, too.

When I wandered into the kitchen to grab dinner, all five of my roommates were gone. I took my food back to my room and sat on my bed.

And suddenly I was bawling. It wasn’t my usual cry, or anyone’s, really—the best comparison I can make is to the squeaky hysterics of the Spanish princess in Ever After. I heard my own jagged sobs and wanted to slap myself.  

“Why am I even crying?” I thought. “No one has hurt me.” I forced myself to stop and pinned the whole thing on the combo of sleep deprivation, a hard day, and an evocative video.

A couple roommates and friends made it back from some social event a few minutes later. Apparently I’d gotten all the mascara off, since no one asked about my eyes.

“Anyone up for a round of Nertz?” I asked, holding up one deck of cards and looking for another. You can’t play that game alone. 


  1. I can relate to the experiences you shared here, especially the frustration of group project. I like the details you include, it created some unique images.

  2. I love that I went into the post with one idea that led to something else, seemingly unrelated to me, and then was tied back together with the common theme of alone-ness. So relatable! It made me want to keep reading to find the connection. Good work!

  3. On a side note, I also detest group projects. One of my teachers gave us an option of a personal project or a group project and that was the easiest choice I have ever made. Your descriptions and comparisons (specifically the Ever After one, hilarious) were so clever and really brought out your voice which I quite enjoyed!

  4. Love all of this.

    I love that you don't try and explain you crying in hindsight, but yet you give us clues.