Communications: Why Take this Class?

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Dallin Nelson

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Communications has been one of my favorite and most beneficial classes in high school. It is a class where you learn just that: how to communicate. It is such a simple concept, yet so hard to grasp how to do it well. People are so very different, and everyone has their own unique ways of communicating, as well and certain ways to communicate to a certain person. This has been a great semester to learn how and why we communicate and what we can do to make our communication better and understand others. It has been a super fun class and has forced me to step out of my comfort zone over and over again.  

When the class begun, it was hard for me to really be interested because my friend recommended the class because it was CE and she said it was easy, so I decided to take it because I wanted to get an easy college class out of the way. As we got a couple days into the class, I realized how fast the fees added up in this class, as well as my other classes. There were fees to register for the class and enroll, and a fee for the book, which I didn’t know about and all that money made me want to drop the class. I realize that it is a lot cheaper than taking it in college, but since I was paying for it all, I didn’t want to waste all my money. I soon figured out that I couldn’t drop the class because I had already signed up and enrolled, so I had to suck it up and do the class! I got the book and went to the class for a while as we learned about communication in the 21st century and verbal/non-verbal communication. We did modules almost every class and when it wasn’t a module, it was a lecture, and I hate lectures and busy work.  

It wasn’t until we started learning about listening that I started paying real attention to myself and how I was using this class to help me. I realized that I wasn’t doing a good job of listening and I was just letting the material pass right through me. We learned about hearing versus listening how they are very different. We talked about all sorts of different distractions including situational distractions, source distractions, and medium distractions and how to deal with them. Looking back, I know that I was very distracted and having a lot of trouble focusing on the actual message. The book states that “Focusing on the message can be exceptionally hard in the Communication Age. While technology has allowed for new ways to find information and communicate with others, it has also created even more ways to fail at focusing on the message.” (Listening, 109) and that hit me and made me want to put my phone away in class. 

Another huge thing that I learned about in this class was relationships: how they form and the stages of development in a relationship, types of relationships like interpersonal, group, and workplace relationships. We learned how to deal with conflict in all types of relationships, the biggest form of problem solving being a perception check. We learned how to control our emotions in relationships, and all of this seemed to really help in my everyday experiences with people around me. I performed a perception check on my best friend, which solved the biggest problem in our relationship and I also talked to my girlfriend and learned how to better communicate to her, as well as her to me.  

There is so much I learned over the course of the semester, but my favorite part of the class at the end of it all was the TED talks that we watched and the brain games episodes that took a different look at a specific aspect of our material. For example, when we talked about self-concept, our module had us listen to a TED talk about vulnerability and how it can help us be happier with ourselves. Being able to listen to these videos that made me think about communication differently, made the modules so much better and easier to fill out notes.  

My personal favorite topic in this class was Self-Concept, mainly because we are all trying to be better as people and we all need help doing so. An interesting part of perception is Interpersonal Constructs, which are schemas that we use to organize our perceptions. “interpersonal constructs are bipolar dimensions of judgment used to size up people or social situations.” (Perception, 32). We use these constructs to categorize people into boxes, like outgoing versus shy, nice versus mean, attractive versus ugly, ect… “In this view, we are scientist-like creatures who gather evidence and engage in observation with the goal of making sense of our realities” (Kelly, 1955).