So much about grad school surprised me. What–I have to take statistics? But I’m a Communication student. Now we’re talking about numbers? I didn’t understand, but I faked it and did perfectly fine in Statistics during my first semester here.
That same semester I took Quantitative Research Methods. I mean, I still didn’t quite understand why this was necessary but my professor was entertaining and I could wrap my head around the concepts. So again, I did perfectly fine… I just had no practical application of all these numbery things in the Communication research that I’d done in the past. So the few articles I’d read for the class seemed like the kind of research other people would continue doing, but not something I would ever choose to conduct myself.
The next semester, I knew enough to take the numbery things into consideration while I kept playing with class topics. But I kept thinking the way I did as an undergrad in Communications and Information Technology: New Media. I would describe the goal of the research I did and class discussions I participated in as an undergrad as searching for a deeper understanding of theories through discussing phenomena in new media, literature and the humanities.
I was talking with a professor sent from heaven yesterday and she described the work I did as an undergrad as more rhetorical and the work we do here as more scientific. Angels were singing in heaven as the professor handed me the holy grail that will help me complete this Master’s program.
Things I’ve learned from this experience… I need to ask more questions early on if there’s a disconnect. I also realized that I couldn’t figure out what was missing on my own. It was missing because I didn’t recognize what I was looking for. The differences were right under my nose, but since I didn’t know what to do with them, I couldn’t make sense of it all. I’ve also learned that a person has to make me believe they’re really listening to me and trying to help before I feel comfortable talking with them in a way that will actually be productive.
Most importantly, I need to be persistent with everyone regardless if they’re not wrapping their heads around what I’m saying, because if something is important enough I can’t be just as confused after talking to them. We all need to communicate clearly and confidently. We have no choice but be inquisitive in order to make sure we’re having the same conversation as the perception of the conversation held by the other person.