How to: Avoid awkward family conversations

Hi everyone it’s Katelyn again!

Has anyone ever encountered a time where a family member asks an embarrassing or private question during a holiday family get together?

Well I have an it can lead to a tough conversation!

With Christmas break quickly approaching, many college students fear answering these difficult questions from their family members. Some of these questions can be distressing and awkward for students.

I have been asked questions that involve my dating life, graduation, how my classes are going, my eating habits, and my future career plans. These questions are fine to answer but can be challenging when your family members put you in the hot seat. College students are already under a lot of stress, so the holidays should not be a time to stress about family conversations!

Luckily, I have prepared a list of some ways to POLITELY talk your way out of these situations.  Time to put those communication skills to the test!

-Reply back with a question

-Start a new conversation 

-Avoid the question

-Talk in circles

-Make a joke of the question 

This article below features some more funny questions that students get asked by their family members and how they handle them! Check it out.

Thanks for reading my blog posts, and remember these suggestions when you get into an uncomfortable conversations this holiday season. If these suggestions do not work for you be sure to read this article below for more suggestions.

I wish you a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable Christmas break!

-Katelyn B.


What My Practicum Taught Me – Part two

By Jia Song


Hey! Thanks for coming back and reading part two.

Today will be my last day work at the School of Communication Studies. And I want to talk about the skills for applying an internship.

First of all, I think the most important skill for any intern is communication skill. I am pretty sure that every comm studies student is good at it. Taking comm studies class is really helpful to improve your communication skills. For instance, interpersonal communication (COMM 20001) teaches you how to talk to people face to face efficiently, high impact professional speaking (COMM 45807) gives you a lot of opportunities and experience to be a public speaker, and also, non-verbal communication (COMM 45959) can let you have a better understanding about what people doesn’t tell you. All of that knowledge is so important in the workplace. Good communication skills can enhance your work abilities and help you a lot.

Second, and also the hardest one for me, is writing. I know not everyone is a strong writer, even if writing in your mother language. But writing skills can be improved by doing more practice – being able to write concisely is valued in any field.  In a survey done by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the ability to create and edit written reports was one of the top ten skills employers sought out in applicants. In the workplace, verbal and writing skill are both necessary. Basically every job needs to write emails and memos, and the organizational communication (COMM 35864) is a great class to help you improve your writing skills. The only thing we can do about writing skill is practice. The more you write, the better you will get from it!

The last one, is learn about yourself. It doesn’t matter what position you are in, you always can learn something from your job. It is always helpful to figure out your career path. Even if you don’t like your job, at least you know what you dislike about your career. The work experience give you a chance to know yourself. From this internship, I realized I still have a big space to improve my English, but I really enjoy it. I can see my progress and it makes me feel satisfied. And also, I have a better understanding about public relations, I never thought about being a PR professional before because I thought it would be boring. But now I know what exactly to do and how to do, I am even thinking about getting a master’s degree in public relations! Getting to know yourself and develop your strengths will help you to find the best position for yourself.



What My Practicum Taught Me – Part One

By Jia Song


Hello, readers!

It is already week 13, I still cannot believe it. This semester is going so fast! Hope everyone’s semester is going well.

I am almost done with my practicum for this fall. And I would like to talk about what I learned from my internship. Although it is required to graduate (for applied communication major students, a related internship is required), I really enjoyed my time here! I am so glad that we have this requirement so I can have this opportunity to improve my abilities.

The most exciting thing for me is I got a lot of first times to experience during my practicum. For instance, first internship, first time to manage social media, fist time to post a blog and so on.

This was my first internship. To be honest, applying for an internship is scary – at least for me. But an internship is a first step before you get a real job. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, when employers recently named the most important elements in hiring a recent graduate, college reputation, GPA and courses finished at the bottom of the list. At the top were experiences outside of academics, such as internships, jobs, volunteering and extracurriculars. I don’t mean that we should not care about GPA anymore, a great GPA can strengthen your competitiveness if you go to graduate school, and it is also an essential measure of academic study. But grades are not the only thing we should care about, activities outside of the classroom are important for us. If an internship or job is too much for you, try to join some societies, for example, KCS and Lambda Pi Eta

Internships are so important before we go to the real world, and it also a good way to know yourself better. For me, managing my time reasonably and balancing my work and study is important while completing my internship. How to finish work on time and get a good grade a challenge for all of us.  I am not the person who can always finish homework and assignments super early, and honestly, I am not a good time planner. So I am trying to make some changes.  I use a calendar to remind me all of my assignments and tests, and make a detail to do list every day, too. Everyone has a busy schedule so improving work efficiency can let us have free time to enjoy life. Doing an internship can let you realize your weaknesses and your strengths. Academic study is not your whole life in college, be ready to face the real workplace and make yourself more competitive.


Using Comm Studies Skills to Approach New People

By Vincent Siciliano

As comm majors, we are inundated with communication and psychological theories that help explain how people interact. It can sometimes take some thought as to how this can be applied directly to practice; however, it is possible. Not only is it possible to use theory in everyday life, but it is a huge help!

For me, the arena that comm studies has helped the most is in both mediated and in real life (IRL) interpersonal communication. Primarily, these skills have helped in promoting a new salon where I currently work. I have been able to build a clientele for the salon by approaching random people with business cards as well as encouraging current clients to spread the word and get others in the salon.

My comm studies curriculum has taught me about social exchange theory, where relationships can be created or maintained if the perceived benefit of the relationship exceeds the costs. Since the perceived benefit does not need to be huge, I have had no problem offering new and existing customers a small discount (no more than $5) as an incentive to come to or return to the salon. Applying this comm studies theory has actually built a lot of great professional relationships and translated into the success of a business!

Now I understand that this particular example does not apply to everyone, because not everyone works in the type of business that I do (hair salon). But that’s not to say that these same or similar communication skills cannot be used to introduce yourself to a prospective employer, a new romantic partner or other people who have the possibility to bear personal importance (you never know!).

Here is another author’s advice about approaching random people from a less corporeal perspective.

Remember, always think about what you are learning in your theory classes and how you can apply it in real life. There are numerous factors to account for in interpersonal situations including nonverbal signals, intercultural frames of reference, persuasion, symbolism, etc.

I hope everyone is able to use what they learned in their courses to maximize any communication experience. Happy communicating!

Stress? What’s that?

Hey guys! It’s Jowan again.

So, as our semester winds down to the final five weeks, we can all collectively agree that this point in the semester is always very stressful. With the pressure of midterms, bills, and other factors – life as a college student can indeed be stressful at times.

However, no matter what your disposition, you should always remember that you are here for a reason. As a college student, it is imperative that we learn to pull up life’s bootstraps and lead the day with positivity. Think about it – If you’re having the worst week of your life, but each person you come into contact with receives a smile from you – your life can become that much better. We have to learn how not to wallow in our irritation and stressors and live the best way you can. For myself, financial stability has existed as an issue since I’ve enrolled. According to results from the National College Health Assessment, finances were ranked as being the second largest stressor amongst students. I have learned that it is important to just keep calm and learn about the resources that exist around you. Things such as financial aid, scholarships, and personal loans – all things that can help you better navigate through college without worrying so much about money.

Here are a few tips to reduce stress levels during classes. I’ve used some of these methods for some of my more stressful Communication Studies courses – I think you will appreciate them!

Disclaimer: This list includes chocolate.

1. Meditation. Although this may be a foreign concept to some, it really helps when you feel you have a lot on your mind. Take about 10-15 minutes a day and sit in silence. Close your eyes, maybe even start by reading a calming book. I promise you – it really works!
2. Fitness. A complete opposite from the stillness that is meditation, but for some people, running on a treadmill might seem a little more relaxing than sitting pretzel-style with your eyes closed. Work out daily to get the adrenaline pumping, then cool down with a nice healthy meal after.
3. Talk about it. Sometimes, the best way for me to deal with my issues is to share them with those who want to listen. It only takes a second to talk to a close friend or family member about what is bothering you. They may not have all the answers, but they can surely provide support.
4. Write about it. Take about 30 minutes out of your day, maybe even right before you head to bed and write out all of your worries. It’s good to get those out of your mind before you head to bed. A restless mind is a useless mind!
5. Eat. Chocolate. Chocolate produces tiny little neurotransmitters in the brain called endorphins – otherwise known as happy sensors. Chocolate literally makes you happy. Try it! Personal favorite: Lindt’s

If you are interested in more tips about how to reduce stress, check out these two links below!

HanNa, L., Heckman, S. J., Letkiewicz, J. C., & Montalto, C. P. (2015). Financial Stress, Self-Efficacy, and Financial Help-Seeking Behaviors of College Students. Journal Of Financial Counseling & Planning, 25, 148-160.

Take Summer Classes, Graduate Sooner!

By Vincent Siciliano

Hello everyone. I just want to share with you how I will finish my degree in three years without having to schedule 18+ credit hours per semester. Taking summer classes will let you shave off nearly a year from your bachelor’s degree, as you are able to take up to twelve credit hours per summer.

I recommend taking two classes during Summer I and two classes during Summer III. Some classes are Summer II, which runs most of the summer, and would overlap with any Summer I and Summer III classes. Summer I and Summer III classes, on the other hand, have a weekend in between so you would have some time to get ready for your next set of classes!

I recommend taking core classes or classes not related to your major. Try to avoid taking too many writing classes during this time, as you only have 5 weeks to complete a semester’s worth of writing assignments. It helps if the classes are 10000- or 20000- level courses, because they are typically more straight forward, have less writing and less projects. Many of us have to take electives anyway, and this is an optimal time to do them. Here is another author’s advice about taking summer classes.

My Summer 2014 and 2015 schedules:

Summer 2014 Session I:
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
College Writing II

Summer 2014 Session III:
The Roman Achievement
Principles of Advertising

Summer 2015 session I:
Introduction to Conflict Management

Summer 2015 session II:
Organizational Communication

Summer 2015 session III:
Dance as an Art Form
Introduction to Geography

These two summer schedules worked pretty well for me. They were all taken online, and most had short video lectures (shorter than if they were traditional classes). The writing courses took more time than the others, but it was still steady enough that I could work full time during both summers.

If you are interested in taking summer classes to graduate early, you can talk to your advisor and schedule strategically!

Benefits of face to face communication

Hi everyone!

Hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous fall weather we are having!

Have you ever gotten a text message from someone while they’re in the same room as you? Do you find it odd? Maybe I am old fashioned, but I still prefer to talk to someone face to face than over the phone.

Conversations can often times be misinterpreted and taken out of context while communicating over the internet. People’s tone and sarcasm can be misjudged while reading on the internet or via texting.

Texting conversations can cause arguments just because the other person misinterpreted or misread the message. Using face to face communication, that problem does not occur. Face to face communication is my preferred way of speaking because there is never a time where you have to guess what the other person is trying to communicate. You also get to bond with the person and make a personal connection.

Our generation has made communicating via phone so easy. We can connect with others across the world in a matter of minutes. Although I love the convenience of communicating via phone, I still believe face to face communication is more beneficial.

Meeting face to face gives people the opportunity to notice nonverbal cues the other is expressing, and it is more efficient to speak in person.

This article above had an interesting quote that stuck out to me. The article mentioned this woman CEO and how she would communicate with people all over the world but when she actually traveled to the different countries was when the best communication happened.

“These face-to-face interactions built trust, understanding, and a real sense of a shared mission, and this has made all the difference in the world.”

Next time, remember to speak with your words and not with your fingers. I promise it is worth it!

Below are some funny text messages that have been misinterpreted, be sure to check them out!

Thanks for reading.