(01/21) Stepping Out Of Our Comfort Zone Helps Us Grow

(01/21) Stepping Out Of Our Comfort Zone Helps Us Grow

Even if that means staying enrolled in a course that makes us feel a little bit like Elle Woods on her first day of law school.

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The first day of the semester is almost always one of the most intimidating, no matter what classes you are taking, what major you are, or what year of school you are in. Syllabus week is usually pretty laid back since the main activity is getting the course schedule and outline. However, with those documents comes the academic and personal expectations that school has officially begun; it is time to get back into the routine of attending classes and staying on top of course readings, which feels neverending, with that first day back. We also get a better understanding of the true nature of those classes on our schedules. Usually, the blurb in the course catalog and the reviews on Rate My Professors does not really do the course justice.

I am a communication management major, which focuses on interpersonal communication dynamics and how communication impacts daily encounters on both a personal level and a professional level. I fell into the major when I transferred to Cleveland State University and realized all the courses I was interested in met the requirements of the communication management degree program. Last semester, a course I had signed up for as an elective was not at all what I was expecting, due to the fact that I mixed it up with a different course, so I ended up dropping it and adding a different elective for the following semester, a course called Communication and Negotiation. I was intrigued by it because it dealt with conflict resolution and fit perfectly into my degree program.

I didn't really know what to expect with the course, so I went into the first day of classes with zero expectations. I waited in the hall and talked with a girl I had seen in a few of my other communications courses. The professor was running a few minutes late but once she opened the room up, we all filed in. I chose a random seat somewhere in the middle. We all know how the first day is choosing our unassigned assigned seat. The professor passed out schedules and the syllabus, stating that getting a copy on yellow paper meant nothing special. Already, I was caught off guard.

She began to explain the syllabus and how this is a "skills-based" class, not lecture-based, meaning that there would be many opportunities to learn the material through exercises in negotiation. The professor has a pass/fail requirement for journal reflections on the in-class negotiations, meaning that students need a passing grade on all journal assignments to receive full points toward the final grade. There would be four opportunities to turn in journals and the actual amount of journals to be counted towards the pass/fail grade were to be determined. In-class participation meant showing up prepared to participate in discussion with educated opinions, and if you don't say anything, then you don't get marked as present. To top it off, exam format was also to be determined, or rather, negotiated.

The tentative course schedule, yet rigid expectations were incredibly intimidating to me. The professor has a strong background in mediation, conflict resolution, and negotiation, and is passionate about the students learning the principles behind negotiation so that we can apply them in all sorts of situations. With all this information thrown at me, as well as the unusual and tentative nature of the course, I was so tempted to log onto my phone, search for alternative electives, see if there were any spots left, and drop the class then and there. The intense series of ice-breakers with fellow students did not help.

However, with all this going on, I realized that this is a course I genuinely wanted to take. Conflict resolution has always been so fascinating to me. I am all about people just getting along and being happy, but that is not realistic; ignoring and avoiding conflict is not healthy, either. I realized that in learning ways to resolve conflict and negotiate, as uncomfortable as it may feel initially, can actually help me not to be so afraid of it, just like taking this course. Even though it may be scary and intimidating at first, I know it will help me grow and will offer an opportunity to better myself, while also helping me finish my degree and prepare myself for the real world.

Here's to staying in this course and seeing this semester through with hard work, time management, and patience with the process, I know I can succeed in this course, in this semester, and in life. Personal growth is not meant to be easy, though it is absolutely worth it.

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Are Soulmates Real?

Is your perfect other half out there?

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Lately, a question that has often plagued my mind is the concept of a soulmate. Is there a soulmate in the world for every individual? The idea of a soulmate is a fascinating thing. The dictionary defines a soulmate as "a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner." It's quite a phenomenon that in a world of seven billion people, one individual is your ideal counterpart. As I grow older, I observe my friends in long-term relationships and the feelings that they've developed as time has progressed. It's interesting that people my age have committed themselves to another individual devotedly for long periods of time. I often wonder if I'll encounter such a love anytime soon.

When friends talk about marrying their current lovers after college, I feel panicked and wonder if the clock to find your soulmate has already begun ticking and I'm moving at a pace far too slow. It's good to believe in soulmates because it gives hope to people. If I believe that I have a soulmate in this world, I can live believing that someday everything will fall into place and my perfect partner will stumble into my life. Sometimes I wonder how love even works because it's crazy that two individuals just happened to both like each other and decided to see where this initial liking could take them. Often though, many people experience one-sided loves and it makes you wonder if you're doing something wrong compared to people who have coupled up. I'd ideally like to chalk up unrequited loves and romantic mishaps to the existence of soulmates. I tell myself that things didn't work out because it wasn't meant to be. I often glaze over the mishaps afterward and wonder why it didn't work out. I'm a dreamer and I'll paint these picture-perfect love stories in my mind which left me disappointed. However, living with the hope that soulmates exist helps.

Do soulmates exist in this world? Maybe all my mishaps and one-sided loves are the result of the world telling me it was not meant to be. The idea of soulmates gives me hope that one day, everything will work out in the end.

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Poetry On Odyssey: Musing

I wondered if she ever made it to Paris.

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Today I saw a woman on the bus

She walked like the weight of time was tied around her neck

Her skin was creased like worn paper and had an orange hue to it

I am pretty sure it was the $20 dollar tan

Her hair the color of burned toast so thinned out by the years of using chemicals hung limply on her scalp like a dying man clinging to life however futile, I wondered if they still stood up when she felt excitement.

As she slowly took her seat I wondered,

I wondered if she ever made it to Paris, if she saw the rolling hills of Scotland and danced on the green fields of Ireland

Did she see the world like she promised herself she would as a little girl clutching her red teddy

I wondered if she told the boy that made her giggle that she loved him and if he loved her back

Did she finally get that house in the country along with that truck she always wanted

I wondered if the world finally saw her as beautiful and if she finally saw beauty when she looked at her reflection

I wondered if the world gave just as much as it took from her

Did she ever find her tribe

As I wondered all this I saw her get down at a bus stop just as slowly as she came on and in her place was a young girl with skin the color of walnuts and eyes the color of melted chocolate her hair which hung all the way down to her waist was weaved perfectly into braids, her skin was smooth like cocoa butter and it glowed like the sun had personally kissed it,

She walked into the bus like the world owed her something,

As she raised her phone to check her reflection I knew she wanted the world to see her as beautiful

As I slowly put my phone down, I giggled because of something the cute boy beside me had whispered and for a split second I wondered if I had just seen the future

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