How to Underachieve Your Way Through that Horrible Group Presentation

In a heartbeat you’d trade this for an exam, a second final, even extra assignments. Really, when you think about it, you’d consider swapping this for community service, should that option suddenly exist and provided said service involves no manual labor or touching of any elderly butts.

Technically, not dropping the class by this point kinda-sorta counts as consent. Don’t worry; it’s your fault for not bailing; it’s not because of anything you wore. Still though, you are just going to have lay back and let the prodding reality of being assigned an awful group presentation do its thing to completion.

Of course you don’t know anyone by name in the class. You don’t go to class to make friends; you go there to make silent judgments about strangers, avoid the potential guilt of not going, and occasionally learn a fun fact or two. So when you’re thrown into a group with five other classmates based on nothing except alphabetical proximity it’s awkward to say the least.

In a perfect world, you’d exchange email addresses and all go home, hopefully without any small talk or even eye contact. Once home, you could all take your respective pants off and lounge about while you each watched an entire season of The Wire, had a personal nacho fiesta, and intermittently monitored the group email thread. In actuality though, there’s always the one person who ruins it. With their color-coordinated sticky notes, highlighters, and pens, you’d usually treat them like any other obsessive person and walk away without acknowledgement, but you’re not so lucky today.

Fancy Highlighters starts in immediately, assigning sections and scheduling meetings like crazy. You can blame on their nature or maybe just blame it on them being coerced into settling for their safety school, but they’re failing to realize that a group project is like a dentist visit or an NCIS episode—we all just want to get through it as fast and as with the least amount pain possible.

You’ve only been in this pseudo meeting for six minutes, but the looks on the faces in the circle are dragging like they’re Chilean miners worried they’ll never again taste freedom. So, with many of our elected officials flip flopping and the NHL taking a staunch position against fighting and fun, you make the decision that you will be the hero this country needs. With a quick throat clear the floor is yours and you deliver the four most convincing words these people have heard all day: “Does it really matter?”

Fancy Highlighters is stunned, but everyone else is immediately sold. It’s a near out-of-body experience; you’re going on about how nothing really matters and that, even if we just phone this one in, we’ll probably get at least a passing grade. The professor doesn’t want an issue; he’d rather pass a thousand terrible students than argue over a grade with just one. Motivational speeches certainly have more than their share of places in history, but you can bet these five Americans won’t soon forget this perspective-grasping, poetic de-motivational tirade any time soon.

The silent majority is loving it. You’ve freed up their calendars until maybe two or three days before this it’s due. Fancy Highlighters makes a last ditch effort to guilt you all into working hard out of fairness to them, but, calmly and fittingly, you shrug and say, “If you want to do more work that’s fine; I don’t care.” Broken and in the midst of an existential crisis, Fancy Highlighters slinks out of the room. You give the group a nod, a way to say “thank you for your apathy,” and step out—you’re itching to get home and pop those pants off.

Justin Gawel is an adult baby from Michigan whose articles appear on BroBible most Thursdays and some Tuesdays usually. Look for more of his writing, his archive (which can be found by clicking his byline at the top), and his updates at or follow him @justingawel on Twitter.