Alex: Comes to class early and lingers late desperate for the teacher's attention. Might be a borderline psychopath, definitely a narcissistic asskisser. Will gladly destroy another human for an A- to become an A. He's going on to grad school regardless of you three anchors.
Teresa: A middle-aged mother of three living an hour away in a part of the state you did not know existed. She doesn't trust any of the younger students and makes it perfectly clear once she shows up fifteen minutes late. Parking was bad today.
Lizard: That's not his real name, but it's what he wants you all to call him as he sits in the back with red eyes and dried ramen crusted to his t-shirt. You aren't sure if he's actually enrolled in the class, and based on his attendance, neither is he.
Alex: This is a perfect opportunity for him to show his superiority over the common riffraff of class. He scribbles some ideas to himself, but doesn't bother talking until the professor comes around. Then it's unnecessary, forced Foucault quotes and, like, the entire first chapter of Walden all spoken with his back to the group and his pretentious, fat face towards the professor.
Teresa: Her work has a major deadline coming up and she really doesn't have time at the moment to read the assignment. She says she'll try to do some work over the weekend, but unlike the rest of you, she has a list of real life demands about a mile long, so who knows.
Lizard: "Wait," he says, looking up from his phone. "We're working together?" He then proceeds to watch the same Vine eighteen times in a row.
You: Reads the requirements and try breaking down the project to make everyone's work easier. You create a little outline with preliminary schedule and share it to no one in particular.
Alex: Stays just long enough to introduce his plan on restarting the entire thing to fit his other schoolwork. He glances at the research you've done so far and does this weird scoff that you only ever see in period French movies. He never supplies any information or actual work, but is certain he could do better than anything you have thus far.
Teresa: Misses five meetings, but it is not her fault. Work, a mortgage, plus three kids with what looks like chickenpox. You wouldn't last a day in her shoes. Did she mention the parking?
Lizard: Has skipped every meeting and class since the first time you grouped up. There is a new WoW expansion and only so few hours in the day. You still see him around campus running between the food court and the dorm, but he looks at you like he's never seen your face--which is fair given his drug addled short-term memory.
You: You show up at the library as planned with your quarter of the project finished. There is no one there. It's pretty good, you say to yourself as your eye-twitch starts up.
Alex: Doesn't supply his portion of the project even though he promises it's fantastic. See, he's set up a special assignment with the professor, so he's just going to focus on that work for the final grade. During the group presentation, he stands beside you rolling his eyes as you try to introduce the topic.
Teresa: Doesn't supply her portion of the project even though she promises it's nearly finished. See, what she thought was chickenpox might actually be smallpox, so she's working on real life--something that you've never had to experience. She stands beside you, shaking her head when you try to point to the lines for her to read.
You: Doesn't sleep for three nights trying to churn out a semester's worth of work even though it was supposed to be split between four people. See, at the group presentation, you point to the lines for them to read, but they still somehow mess it all up. Somehow you feel invisible to their dumb asses, but hyper aware of the few dozen sets of eyes watching from the seats.
Alex: "Thank you so much, Prof. What an amazing semester of knowledge--I've never learned so much. I wish the group project went better, but another person submitted it without considering the rest of the group. Still, I would greatly appreciate a letter of recommendation"
Teresa: "I worked really hard, but one person really dominated everything. Never got a word in."
You: Hold back your frustration and end the semester with a simple: "It was educational."
With college finals approaching, it's time once again for Microsoft Word autosummaries of all the old, boring books you were supposed to read.
"Don't you get it? What we have to understand is it's them or us. It can't be all of us, or one. It's got to be us, or they become it. Then we lose what makes us we."
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.