Open Letter to Those Ruining it for the Rest of Us

Tess Martin
5 min readAug 4, 2021
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When I was in school, there was little I looked forward to less than the dreaded group project. Teenaged me operated beneath a relatively simple directive: get all schoolwork done and behind you so you can move on to the things you actually enjoy doing, like hanging out with friends or reading for pleasure. That’s not to say I wasn’t also a habitual procrastinator, but it helped that neglecting schoolwork wasn’t an option. The crackdown from my folks would have been swift and all encompassing if I brought home poor grades, so I chose to simply handle my business, even if I was handling it at 2 AM the night before an assignment was due. But group projects added a layer of complication to this straightforward formula of powering through until I reached the lightweight feeling of momentary freedom at the end of a pile of homework. I (mostly) had control over myself. But I had zero control over the actions of others. When they decided not to shoulder their share of the work, there was very little I could do about it besides just pick up the slack if I wanted a good grade.

Think of American society as the ultimate group project. First, no one has a choice but to be part of the group. Second, no matter how much you keep your head down and focus on simply handling your business, someone else can come along and fuck the whole thing up. Then we all get a failing grade. Now we’re all grounded! Or, worse, we get stricken with a deadly virus…

So, yeah, this is for those of you who are actively fucking things up for the rest of us.

Just a point of clarification before I lean all the way into my tirade: this is directed squarely at those who have adopted a loud and proud me first and fuck everyone else mentality, not those immune-compromised folks that can’t actually get vaccinated. Herd immunity is what’s supposed to protect these folks, so it’s even more infuriating that perfectly (and momentarily, TBH) healthy people are selfishly refusing to protect them and all kids under 12 years old that can’t yet get the shot.

Okay, back to the rant.

We were forced to start a new and rather challenging group project in the beginning of 2020. No one was given a choice, but we were all fully in control of how we responded to the unique parameters of the project…

Tess Martin

I’m a writer, runner, functional introvert, and herder of cats. Find me at or on Facebook @ theundercoverintrovert.