If you haven’t learned by now, communication is the key to, well, everything. Communication is life. Communicating effectively will get you a long way with peers, professors, and advisors. I learned far too late in my freshmen year that I must take initiative to achieve my academic and educational goals. It wasn’t like high school, where teachers and counselors would chase me down; this time I was on my own. It was something I was not used to, and it took me a while to adjust.
College gives you the opportunity to hone your communication skills by speaking to and listening to professors and other students.
Knowing how to articulate yourself is a quintessential life lesson, because how will you ever get what you want if you can’t say it? Luckily, college gives you the opportunity to hone your communication skills by speaking to and listening to professors and other students.
Communicating with Peers
Learn more about yourself
For the most part, you will probably be spending the most time talking to your peers. This means classmates, students in the same clubs, and any other college students in general. It is important to communicate with these people because they have similar interests, goals, and attitudes as you. I remember feeling reluctant to admit that I was really unsure of what I actually wanted to study, but feeling instantly relieved that many people felt the same way! That is exactly why we are here, to learn about ourselves, and sometimes it takes another person with the same struggle to help push through those sentiments. There will also be times where you meet individuals that have their 10 year plan already mapped out, and that is okay too. Learning about each other is all about communication, and you never know who can be that support system you need to help you find yourself.
I remember feeling reluctant to admit that I was really unsure of what I actually wanted to study, but feeling instantly relieved that many people felt the same way!
Learn more about others
Even in class discussions, it is important for you to share your thoughts with the rest of the class. Sharing your ideas with everyone else helps give other students a look through another's perspective, especially if it is different than their own. Thanks to one class discussion in my English 101 class, I restructured my entire thesis on an essay about love and hate, which took my essay in a more logical direction. If there weren’t students exchanging their views on the topic, my thesis would have been on the power of hate instead of a refined analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s use of hate in his stories. And remember, almost every professor will encourage discussion, because sharing and communicating each other’s viewpoints is a key input to finding your own analysis. Communicating with other students will give rise to your ideas, while expanding both your horizon with theirs.
Peers are like co-workers
Student-to-student communication is also practice for future communication in the workplace. Chances are, you will not become best friends with every single student you meet and communicate with. This means that you will not talk to other students like you talk to your best friend since middle school. I’ll admit that how I speak to my friends is completely different than how I speak to students whom I have never met. You will have to shape your voice and communication to be more professional, so that it can reach more people; one that you will most likely use when you get a job.
Communicating with other students will give rise to your ideas, while expanding both your horizon with theirs.
Communicating with Professors
Make sure everyone is "getting it"
Your professors are also there for you to communicate with. Most, and certainly honors professors, do not limit their jobs to solely lecturing their students. This goes along with participating in class. Remember, most of us haven't been paying for school up until now, so make the most of it. Professors are there to teach you, and talk to you. Ask questions when you don’t understand the material, contribute to the class discussion, flex your intellectual muscles. For myself, it was difficult to ask questions in math classes, for the fear of being the only person who did not understand the concepts. But almost every time, the class would share a sigh of relief, because they weren't the only ones who were completely lost trying to read the hieroglyphics on the whiteboard. There are always students who have the same questions, so if a professor sees multiple students struggling with one concept, he or she will make an attempt to spend more time on these concepts.
Leave an impact (hint: better references)
Make yourself memorable, communication is all about leaving an impact.
Also, remember that your professors give you their office hours for a reason. Go visit them, ask them questions about your essay. If you want to drive home a point about your essay that you feel they skipped while grading the first time, go show them again. These professors are teaching multiple classes, some in multiple campuses. Make yourself memorable, communication is all about leaving an impact. There’s a huge impact to be made if you are a student who keeps in contact with professors, even after the classes are over.
At the end of the day...
For most majors, a communications class is required to get a degree. This class will teach you many ways to come across in a logical, professional way. However, college is a perfect platform for you to build the communication skills you will need for the future. The most important real life application to being a good communicator is helping you get a job. In my case, I was lucky enough for my boss to be as interested in short stories as I am, which is almost all we talked about when he interviewed me for a job as a server. And to tell you the truth, I do not remember how that subject came up. But it goes to show how important it is to be able to talk freely to people, which is an important skill learned in college. So do your best to talk to everyone, there are many things to be learned from others.