Illustration by Sophie Sargent

People that lack passion. People that don’t participate/ lack of apathy in teamwork & leave you to do all the work (but everyone gets graded well just for your efforts). + generally the overall lack of passion among other student in our year  

Dear Disgruntled Reader,  

I accredit your genius. Within this submission you have included two needless abbreviations, excessively employed the term ‘lack’, and even pointedly misused the term ‘apathy’ itself.  Thus you have adequately demonstrated how languor can infuriate. 

I must admit, when I first read your ‘problem’ I thought to myself: ‘this isn’t a problem at all.’ I am of the firm belief that apathy is the ideal trait in any project partner. You have been granted the gift of fulfilling your creative vision without any obstacles – I mean people – getting in your way. However, when I comprehended that you receive a shared grade, I shuddered. This situation is dire.  

So, what should you do? Well, my dear friend, I think you must embark on a noble quest to develop some apathy.  To taste this nectar, approach group project meetings like a stoner; sit back, zone out and occasionally interject with revelations such as ‘we are in a society.’ Perhaps, read some Heidegger. Soon you will learn that we are indeed in a society, ‘constitutive of asymmetric cognitive relations’ or if you’re a STEM student ‘if you do nothing, someone else will do it.’ Without your competence, I am sure that others will feel the requirement to take a leading role. Granted, my last group project was left where they belong, in primary school, but the initial agenda was always to confirm who was a) going to do the project, b) going to sign their name at the bottom, and c) probably going to require some help signing their name at the bottom. Much like me in Victoria’s Secret, you’re an A but you want to be a C.   

In the interest of being completely candid, my initial response to your query was ‘shut up, shut up, shut up, I am on it I just haven’t had the time yet!’ Therefore, as I play ‘devil’s advocate’ you can understand me in the way the ‘devil’s advocate’ should always be understood – as my genuine opinion. Judging by my bulging submission box, Oxford students have a lot going on. Literally none of my comprehensive, brilliant, life-changing (?) answers would involve the statement ‘I think this would be sorted if you immediately applied yourself to your geography (let’s be real, it’s probably geography) project.’ Your teammates may be overwhelmed, stressed, busy or homesick right now. Knowing my readers as I do, I am sure they will get round to it. That being said, like all ‘devil’s advocates’, I am entirely clouded by my own vested interests. It is equally possible that your teammates are no good cretins.  

Regardless of their motivations, it is unfair that the majority of the workload is falling on you. Have you communicated your concerns with your team? It is possible that they do not understand the effect that their leisurely lifestyle is having on you. It is also possible that they assume you have it sorted and don’t require any help. I think that if you can work out a way to jovially motivate them into action, ie. ‘hahaha guys, have you heard what kinda workout lazy people do? diddly squats, hahaha, just a thought’, they may spring into action.  

Regarding the ‘overall lack of passion amongst students in our year,’ I would urge you to stop socializing with the Geography and Chemistry kids. To be fair to them, it is difficult to monologue about ‘oxbow lakes’ or ‘alloys’ – be grateful: you have been saved. Ask a mathematician when they will finally get into a relationship, a historian about the ‘Slaughter and May’ drinks, or a theologian about their job prospects. Trust me, you will receive a passionate response.  

Best of luck Frazzled Reader, 

Dream Come Blue