Reflection Essay

Introduction: My Communication Studies Pursuit

At this point of my Communication Studies career, I feel that obtaining a degree with either an Interpersonal or Organizational focus would help with my goal of becoming a Director or Coordinator of my own non-profit educational center. With my current experience combined with a future degree in Communication Studies will give way to my aspiration of fully running a non-profit educational center; ideally being responsible for directing student services. Thankfully, when studying at De Anza College, I was able to make great connections with my Communication Studies instructors. In return, I focused on how they communicated and mediated to provide a working environment that cultivated a stable learning process inside the After School center I co-founded. Thankfully, I owe my entire success within Comm. Studies to Dr. Dennis Jaehne. It was his Communication Studies Initiation at De Anza College in 2005 that helped me solidify my want to become Comm. Studies major at San Jose State University. With that experience along with many others, I feel I made the right scholarly and future career choice by becoming a SJSU Communication Studies student and prospective graduate.

What is Communication Studies: An Overview

The field of Communication Studies consists of many key concepts, theories, and divisions concentrating on primary areas of communication between people. According to Frank Dance, a communications theorist, there are over a hundred definitions of communication proposed by Communication Studies experts (Wood, 2005). One concise definition for “communication” would be, “A systemic process in which individuals interact with and through symbols to interpret meanings (Wood, 2005). With that, communication experts took on the task of creating primary areas of study within the field of Communication Studies to help one better understand the complexity of human relations. The primary fields of Communication Studies are as follows: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Small Group, Organizational, Intercultural, Public/Mass Media, Performance, Health, Education/Instruction, Rhetoric, and Technology. With the many concentrations of Communication Studies readily available, a Communications Studies graduate could be a part of many lucrative and rewarding professions.

Outcomes: What is Available to Comm. Studies Scholars/Graduates

There are many professions for Communication Studies Scholars and Graduates to get involved with while in or out of school. To elaborate on the available outcomes for both scholars and Comm. Studies graduates, three available professions are highlighted. The first profession that comes to mind is Public Relations with a focus in Advertising. A person in this field would be responsible for pitching an idea or product to the public in a manner that would benefit the establishment and stakeholder. Personally, this is an exciting career in the sense that there is always something new to learn. Another great career that comes to mind is teaching. Teaching is a rewarding career where one could express their knowledge in a strong and meaningful manner. Communication Studies adds to the rewarding feeling by providing a firm foundation for the teacher or professor to express his/her years of education and experience to his/her students. The last career that I find important to express is Human Resources. My last Human Resources manager used all of her skills and knowledge to help keep a multi-million dollar business operating with ease. I was so impressed seeing her at work because no matter how hard things became; she always managed to smile and made sure to communicate to her employees in a motherly, yet professional way. This type of motherly/professional communication establishes the basis for the family environment that the company displays.

Achievement: Personal Achievement as a Comm. Scholar

For the positive impact bestowed upon me by the former Human Resources manager, I fulfilled one of my long term goals by co-creating and coordinating an After School Center working with a population of K-12 students from low SES families. I chose establishing an After School Center to be one of my long term goals because as a high school drop out, G.E.D. earner, and a former gangster, I learned the hard way how important an education is. Because of the hard road I took during my teenage years, I made a pact to myself to do everything I can to help others not go down the same path as I did. Further, helping others has always been something important despite of past bad choices; therefore, establishing an After School center was a great and positive start to helping others in need. It was a venture worth taking that resulted in many people getting the help they needed.

The pursuit was cultivated from my interest in the following fields, Interpersonal and Organizational Communication. Specifically, more focus placed on Interpersonal Communications while adding an Organizational Communication twist. With the interpersonal skills taken from Interpersonal Comm. Studies, I created a work ethic and rapport that benefited the organization, employees, tutees, and their parents. This work ethic is based on keeping the communication lines open and making sure to work as a team to achieve goals or work through issues. Further, with key aspects taken from Organizational Comm. Studies, such as establishing a working chain of command and producing a network that provides clients with the help they require to prevent communication breaches facilitated a working environment between staff, tutees, and their parents within the center. These mentioned methods used to keep the communication lines open and to stay organized coincide with the following reading. The literature was chosen because it provides solid advice and methods on how to stay cool during heated conversations. This is important especially when the goal is to develop long lasting and working relationships with people either professionally or personally.

Commutation Studies: Through a Scholar’s Lens

Everyday we communicate. We express ourselves through means of speech, symbols, codes, verbally, and non-verbally. Anyone can speak, but not everyone can get their message across as intended. With knowledge in Interpersonal Communication studies, one can become more aware of his/her communication style and communicating environment. For example, in a one-on-one meeting with an employee who requires reprimanding, if the reprimanding is done poorly then the intention for that particular employee to understand what was done wrong on his/her part may develop into heated debate. Cooperation would not be developed in such a scenario, instead a spiteful employer and employee relationship will manifest. To prevent this kind of scenario it is highly advisable for all management personnel to enroll in Interpersonal Communication courses with a concentration in Organizational Communication in order to learn how to get messages clearly across members of the intended audience/organization. To further explore this recommendation, the following article will provide concrete evidence to how knowledge in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication is important to have when dealing with others regardless of the setting.

Keeping it Cool While Under Fire written by Kare Anderson, provides useful methods to employ while involved in a heated argument. I chose this article because its focus is on how to keep cool during arguments. Keeping your cool during an argument is important because it helps one to preserve their mental peace. It is so easy to get mad and react. Unfortunately, the ramifications of lashing back are not pretty at all. She covered topics like, “Lighten Up”. The “Lighten Up” topic deals with taking the positive role during a heated conversation. She suggests things like staying present, focus on current issues, never blame, use gestures of acknowledgment, and maintain eye contact (Anderson, 2007). She also covers another interesting topic titled, “Presume Innocence.” With presuming innocence, it deals with not pointing out that a person is wrong while he/she is angrily venting (Anderson, 2007). She advises to look at the positive intention of the person who is angry (Anderson, 2007). Instead of taking the role of lecturer or corrector, she suggests to take a more settle approach by listening while giving the speaker a chance to listen to him/herself in the process, he/she will eventually figure things out on his/her own (Anderson, 2007). The last focus of the article is titled, “Dump their stuff back on their lap.” She expresses, under this topic, ways to not react in a negative manner when someone tries to dump all their problems onto your lap. During such an encounter, it is always easy to dish things back; unfortunately, if carried through the aftermath is destructive. With that, the person who is having things dumped upon them, should remain calm and show attentive listening (Anderson, 2007). By remaining calm and showing attentive listening and asking questions like, “Would you like to add to that?” in a calm manner, would cause the angered party to look at his/her actions and eventually stop doing the dumping (Anderson, 2007). Concisely, the article did a great job in providing key pointers especially regarding mediation. Pointers such as remaining patient while mediating, the mediator is there to help with problem solving; therefore, do not take things personally, and do not take sides while mediating. Focusing on the article and its emphasis on mediation, I strongly feel that Communication Studies is the right field of study for anyone who considers building strong bonds and relationships both professionally and personally, important.

Conclusion: A Breath of Fresh Air

Communication Studies has taught me how to be a better communicator, listener, and observer. As a better communicator I am able to get my message across efficiently while establishing long-term professional and personal relationships. Because communicating requires being a good listener as well, through my studies, I have learned how to listen actively rather passively or selectively. Lastly, Communication Studies has shown me that, effective communication and listening skills together, produces a keen observation during one-one-one or one-on-more conversations. It is a means of controlling the surrounding environment.  Overall, being a Communication Studies student was a breath of fresh air.