Not long ago, I wrote a post about grad school and found out Stephanie was also a communication studies graduate, which is akin to getting a degree in making stuff up. Sure, I learned stuff, but what other major allows you to take classes about things like non-verbal communication?
One of the more ridiculous classes I took in graduate school was conflict communications. That’s right, folks, a class about how to fight with your significant other, friends and family in an effective way. The professor was the least qualified person to teach a conflict communications class, as he had recently been involved in a scandal in which his wife was cheating on him and instead of communicating with her about it, he took out all his pain on his female students.
The class met on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9 in a small auditorium in a building on campus. No one could understand why we met in this particular place the first day of class, but as we gathered it became clear that we’d be participating in some role playing. Listen, people, I’m more of a backstage, behind the scenes, standing-up-in-front-of-people-gives-me-anxiety kind of girl, so role playing in a class of 35 people wasn’t what I signed up to do. But knowing that I was already starting out with a less than stellar grade from Professor Misogynist, I took my chances.
The first day of class, each person wrote on note cards about three different arguments they’d had in the past. The notes were thrown into a hat and each meeting, students volunteered to “act out” the scenarios the way they were written, and then act them out again the way we should act them out if we weren’t all hot headed college students. Most of them were the typical boyfriend/girlfriend arguments. I'm pretty sure none of us actually succeeded in this little educational experiment.
In addition to the role playing, there were lectures and a textbook. I am a note taker, so I wrote down every word, I highlighted, I circled words and bookmarked. I was determined to learn how to be a better person, to learn how to argue in an educated way. I thought I'd wow friends and future boyfriends with my intelligence and honesty. I thought this class would do it for me.
Until the last class of the semester.
That night we learned that forgiveness, she is a tree. The trunk is the transgression or conflict, and one branch leads to forgiveness through "internal processing", while the other branch leads to forgiveness through dialogue. And these two branches can connect to form a reconciled relationship.
And if I may say so, THAT WAS THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF BULL SHIT I HAD HEARD IN A LONG WHILE.
The class was also a split level, so we had graduate and undergraduates in the same place. My professor had to lecture the class, which is comprised of undergrads and graduate students, how to properly cite articles in APA format (even though there is site on the MU Library site that DOES IT FOR YOU). He needed to mention that it is not acceptable to write a sentence beginning with "Our text says..." BECAUSE TEXTS ARE INANIMATE OBJECTS THAT CANNOT SPEAK.
Ahh...the joys and sorrows of communications classes.