Pulling Sticks: A Satire On Group Projects


(Graphic by Eva Mayrose)

I feel my cheeks flushing red with nervousness as my teacher, Mrs. Pine pulls out sticks to assign us groups for the final project. 

Finally, after what seems like an eternity, she pulls out a stick and reads my name out loud. 

Relieved, but knowing I’m not safe yet, I sit in anticipation waiting for the next four people called who will be in my group. 

I sit in my chair, dripping with sweat, thinking of all the people in my class, all the people who I didn’t want and all the awkward situations that I would be faced with if I got a bad group. Mrs. Pine mixes up the name sticks for what felt like a century.  

The sound of wooden popsicle sticks clanking against the glass jar echoes in my head. 

During that century I looked around and locked eyes with Carolyn; the smart girl in class. She kind of looked back at me, not sure if she wanted her name to be called. If she did get called she probably would’ve done most of the work. But her name wasn’t the one called by Mrs. Pine. 

Instead, she read out Daniel. The worst possible name that could’ve been called! He never even comes to class! I might as well have gotten a ghost as one of my group members. What a surprise he’s not even in class today to hear his name called! 

Whatever, Mrs. Pine continued with the next name, it was Peter. At least he’s actually in class and I know him, so we could probably do the project at his house. But ugh, he’ll probably do nothing and it’ll be awkward to ask him to actually participate in his own darn house.

The next popsicle stick Mrs. Pine pulled read Jane’s name. The only thing I knew about her was that her last name was Whopper, like the burger. 

I had her in my last project. She’s okay I guess. She helped at first but then left me to finish the rest of the poster because she had finished “her part”. “Her part” being 10 percent of all the work. 

Finally it comes to the last stick, I was praying someone would come save me and my grade. Mrs. Pine said Carolyn, Carolyn the smart girl! Phew, thank god, someone who actually will help. We might have a good chance of getting an A on this project.