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Freaking out because I am not going to be able to help group like I thought I would

MefortunetellerMefortuneteller 15 replies6 threads Junior Member
So I am a Geography major and I am in a senior capstone class (basically a class where you just work on a big final project the whole semester). More specifically I am GIS & Catography major which means I should have better technical background in GIS software and map-making. So I am in this project with 2 other Geography majors with no GIS background. So naturally I was assigned to be in charge of all things GIS and map-making which is going to be a huge part of our project. It's my job to do the map-making and GIS work/analysis for the project. They want me to have this done by end of next week.

Well basically I know what I want to do and have all the data, but not exactly how to do it. I have spent several long nights working on the project but I cannot figure out how to do some of things in the GIS software and it sucks because I can't ask any of my group members for help or advice. I have had our professor last semester for a similar GIS focused class which had a big final project and my partner and I did really well, and our project was really good so our professor knows me and thinks I'm really good at GIS and a good worker, but basically my partner and I were really complementary of each other and were able to help each other out through the GIS problems.

I'm planning on going to my professor tomorrow and telling him that I am really lost, and need some technical guidance or else we will be screwed, however I know he will expect me to be able to do all of the stuff I need help with because it really isn't that advanced of GIS stuff. I'm really freaking out because my professor will know that I'm a fraud and not very good at GIS and my group members are going to hate me. Please help me with advice
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Replies to: Freaking out because I am not going to be able to help group like I thought I would

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5612 replies1 threads Senior Member
    One of the lessons that you find out when you meet the "real world": Almost everything is more difficult that it seems like it should be.

    As one example, in university we (me and one classmate) did a lab project where we analyzed the vibration of a guitar string using the highest frequency string (which should be a high E). We found that it vibrated at one cycle per second. Obviously this was off by a factor of a bit more than 300. It turns out our entire apparatus vibrated at a frequency of once per second. This set us back by several weeks. We still eventually got it to work and at the end of the semester we still ended up with A's. There were a couple of late nights involved.

    A similar theme comes up all over the place -- there are many, many ways that actual tests can go wrong.

    You are learning this right now. Your professor should be willing to point you in the right direction to get your maps to work correctly. I hope that your chat with your professor went well.
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  • stradmomstradmom 5041 replies50 threads Senior Member
    It's a senior capstone - it's meant to be challenging. And your plan to meet with the prof is exactly the right thing to do. Hopefully, they'll connect the dots for you and help you move forward.
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  • StPaulDadStPaulDad 452 replies1 threads Member
    edited October 11
    @DadTwoGirls is correct, this is just life, which is what makes capstones so important.

    You need to get with anyone who can help lay out your data. Starting with your teacher sounds right, but your team should not be let off the hook so easily. They really have nothing to offer? No other GIS-skilled friends? Do you get to put your feet up once the data gets mapped? Also, who gets a geography degree these days without GIS skills? That sounds really odd.

    edited October 11
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3414 replies11 threads Senior Member
    Your partners will be satisfied by your attempts to get help with your part. It seems like you could give them a few paragraphs describing your part if that would help move the project along.

    I just directed a capstone where one guy did all the data work and the problem was that the person writing the intro sections didn’t have too much knowledge on what the data guy was doing. You should expect to contribute to the writing of the paper as well.
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  • svlab112svlab112 600 replies7 threads Member
    I think you should communicate your challenges with your team and that you are seeking help from the professor.

    You should give them the opportunity to help resolve the problem.

    I don’t mind if a teammate runs into trouble. Problem is when they conceal it and we run out of time to resolve it.
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  • EconPopEconPop 228 replies6 threads Junior Member
    edited October 11
    @Mefortuneteller ,

    I agree with all the advice so far. Capstones are a preview of real life. I can't tell you how many work projects I started that went wrong four different ways before I managed to salvage the projects. The failure is not losing your way -- the failure is when you give up and stop trying.

    I really like @CheddarcheeseMN 's comment about all members pitching in (or at least being knowledgeable about every part of the project. I'd take that one step further for my participation. I'd ask my teammates if they need help with anything. Do they want me to review their part -- and I'd ask them to review mine. Basically, I'm checking behind them because if my grade is based on their work, I want to make sure they are not waiting till the last minute to do a poor rush job. Part of being a good teammate is being aware that all your teammates are producing quality work, and taking a leadership role if you discover they are falling short.

    Good luck!
    edited October 11
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  • HPuck35HPuck35 2013 replies15 threads Senior Member
    One of the most important lessons to learn is when to ask for help. It does no one any good to just sit there and spin your wheels because you aren't sure what to. Be thankful you are learning this lesson now.
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  • browniesundaebrowniesundae 260 replies2 threads Junior Member
    In addition to the professor, could you also ask your partner from that previous project for help? Good luck!
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