16 Thoughts About My Communications Class

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m enrolled in a communications class this semester. It’s a college-level class that I’m taking for dual-credit, which means it’ll count as part of my transcript/grades for both high school AND college. Pretty cool, huh? I’ve taken a total of nine classes like this since the fall of my sophomore year… and communications has definitely been one of my favorites.

Huh. I surprised even myself with that statement. Because honestly? I didn’t think I’d enjoy that class. Like, at all. It’s all about giving speeches and learning how to communicate effectively, and I… I am uncomfortable with that sort of thing.

Or maybe I should say I was uncomfortable, because I think I’ve really improved over the past few months. I mean, I still wouldn’t say that speech-giving is my favoritest activity on the face of this planet, but it doesn’t terrify me as much as it used to. It’s actually kind of fun!

Today I gave my final major presentation (more on that later) and while the class isn’t quite over yet – there’s still a group project and some impromptu speeches (more on those later, as well) – we’re close enough to the end that I’m going to do a post about it now.

So here are some of my thoughts on comm class! They’re in a list because, well… I love lists, and I was thinking just the other day, “I should do more list posts! Like, ones that aren’t just about books!” And then I ended up reorganizing this post into a list instead of a boring essay format.

But I digress. Here’s my list.

1. I was SO FREAKED OUT during my very first speech, which wasn’t even a major assignment for that class. I had to talk about myself for about a minute, and I said “um” a lot. Also, I was probably super quiet.

2. I am constantly bewildered by the number of people who don’t bother to come to class. Like, if you’re sick… I get it. But I’ve overheard conversations about how my classmates just didn’t feel like coming to class and… that is so not me. Even if my grade in a particular class isn’t that great – I’m not doing as well in Spanish 202 as I’d like – the least I can do is show up. If I’m getting points towards my grade just for attending class, then why wouldn’t I?

3. Side note: It is kind of hilarious to hear my classmates complain about how “the teacher picked [insert day here] for the in-class extra-credit assignments just because I wasn’t there.” Dude. Dude, no. She announced that stuff, like, ages ago. And even if you cut class on the day she announced the stuff, it’s on the syllabus.

4. My first major assignment was a commemorative speech. I talked about my grandpa, and how he’s pretty cool for an old person, and how I’d like to emulate some of that when I’m his age. I earned 48/50 points on that speech and I was like YAAAAAAAAAAAY because I was so so so so worried and freaked out the night before I gave it.

5. Things I still need to work on, according to my teacher: Not playing with my hair during a speech, and using “upspeak.” (Which is when you turn a statement into a question by raising your voice slightly at the end? She says it makes me seem less confident and knowledgeable about my subject, so.)

6. Things I have improved upon, according to Me Myself & I: Eye contact during public speaking, and actually being loud enough for everyone – even people towards the back of the room – to hear!

7. Also my teacher says my speeches have “an excellent conversational quality” and that I’m very animated with my gestures at the podium. Who knew?

8. My second major assignment was an informative speech, and I talked about the production of and uses for swords in the modern day. My speech was adapted from a paper I wrote for a college English class in the summer of 2013, and you can read the whole thing as a blog post right here, if you’re interested. SWORDS ARE AWESOME, PEOPLE. Also, I received 96/100 points for that speech! (And if you’re wondering why I keep mentioning that stuff… it’s because I am RIDICULOUSLY PROUD OF MYSELF FSDJHGDJH I HAD NO IDEA I WAS EVEN CAPABLE OF GIVING A SPEECH WITHOUT RUNNING FROM THE ROOM IN FRIGHT.)

9. All of my major speeches required the use of an outline and notecards. I’ve discovered that I’m much more comfortable – and less likely to freak out – when speaking from notecards than I am without them. I’d never used them before in speeches, so that was interesting.

10. One thing I’ve noticed about my classmates’ speech is that most of them need a lot of practice when it comes to organizing their ideas logically. They’re loud enough, cited enough sources, et cetera – but sometimes it’s very very hard to puzzle out the main points of their speech, or they explain things at awkward times in the speech when they probably should have done so right at the very beginning, or whatever. And it made me wonder: Has all my writing practice given me an advantage in this regard? I’m not trying to sound like a know-it-all (and I sincerely apologize if I do), but I write something pretty much every single day. Whether I’m writing stories or blog posts, I practice and practice and practice. I mean, tons of my past blog posts are literally just me telling you why you should read a particular book, and then supporting my statement with various points in a logical manner. And it makes me wonder – do some of my classmates struggle with this because writing is something they only do for school?

11. I completed my third and final major assignment, a persuasive speech, today. I talked about why people should read graphic novels and comic books! (My main point was that they’re very quick reads and therefore perfect for people who don’t have much free time.) I had sooooo much fun during this speech, as I did during the previous two. I love geeking out! I love persuading others to become my small geeky minions. And OMG I RECIEVED 98/100 POINTS ON THAT ASSIGNMENT THE ONLY REASON I MISSED TWO POINTS WERE BECAUSE I USED UPSPEAK HA HA OOPS. Anyway, I got to talk about fun things like Captain America and Gene Luen Yang, and I cited Stan Lee (co-creator of Marvel Comics) as one of my sources. KHGDKSFGKDFHGDFG IT WAS AWESOME.

12. My group’s prompt for the (short! informal!) collaborative speech is “how to help feed the hungry in northwest Indiana” and I’m pretty excited for it – I’ve helped out with a lot of food drives through 4-H volunteer projects and my aunt’s job, so I feel prepared to talk about some of the basics. Also, I’m pleased to see that everyone in my group (of four people total) is putting in their fair share of effort, unlike some other “group” projects I’ve done in other classes where only a fraction of the group actually did anything.

13. I have no idea what I’ll be expected to talk about during my impromptu speech. That’s kind of the point.

14. I am really, really happy with my overall grade in this class – an A!

15. My awesome experiences in this class may have even persuaded me to sign up for the    4-H Public Speaking project this summer. I’m not 100% sure about this yet, though.

16. One very important (not to mention helpful) thing I realized very early on in comm is this: It’s just a different kind of English class. Once I realized this, I wasn’t quite so intimidated by this class and even began to enjoy it. It became a fun challenge for me. After all, I’ve had plenty of experience – both in and out of the classroom – with literature and writing, but up until this semester I had not had much exposure to other facets of language arts. So it was nice to try my hand at something new!

-~-

Have you ever taken a class in communications? (If you’re from outside the US: Are such classes even a Thing in your schools, or is comm stuff lumped in with a general language arts course? I’m curious.) And what is your opinion of public speaking – does it terrify you, or do you enjoy it?!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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20 Responses to 16 Thoughts About My Communications Class

  1. We don’t do much speaking at school, really 🙂 We had one speech for English this year and the rest of our assessments are essays. HOWEVER, I do drama which is tons of fun, and have definitely made me stop caring about making a fool of myself. We do both scripted pieces and playbuilt pieces (as in, starting from improvising and making up the play on our own). COMMS SOUNDS SO FUN. I love the idea of doing college-level courses! I wish we had that 🙂 ALSO YAY FOR TALKING ABOUT EXCITING THINGS. Our speeches are just about boring books from hundreds of years ago. Boo.

    • nevillegirl says:

      OK, that’s what I was wondering about – I didn’t know if all that stuff (speaking, reading, writing) is in just one class for your schools. 🙂

      Ooh, I soooooo want to try drama. Maybe in college? 😀

      Yeah, for our speeches we can basically pick any topic. 🙂

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    We don’t have classes like that, but then, we have a completely different system. (I’m pretty sure you can’t take uni classes without being at uni or whatever, so yeah.) You have loads of things as actual classes that would be extra-curricular here — I’ve heard people talk about taking band or choir in high school and I’m like, “Wait, you get credit for being in an orchestra? Dude, I had to do those after school for no reward except being in the band!” Your system confuses me.

    We did have to do some public speaking in English, though, and when I did my Extended Project I had to give a presentation at the end. And there was a public speaking contest that happened at one point, which started out in front of the class and then went to being in front of the year group and things.

    • nevillegirl says:

      *nodnod* A lot of kids here take college classes while still in high school so that they can skip those subjects in college and possibly graduate early. (IDK if I’ll graduate early, but it certainly helps to be able to skip some classes – I’ll need plenty of time/classes if I want to double-major!)

      Indeed. They’re not /required/ classes, though, they’re just electives (meaning that you’re allowed to choose some classes outside of the regular requirements like English, math, science, social studies, and a foreign language), but yeah. I suppose in other places those would be extracurriculars.

      (But then, like… for your… A-Levels? You get to choose from all kinds of cool subjects that we can’t even do until college. Archaeology? Classical Civilization? History of Art? Consider me officially jealous. 😛 We just have, like, American history. And plain old Art.)

      Ooh, what was your presentation about?

      • Miriam Joy says:

        I am 99% sure that Archaeology does NOT exist as an A-Level, and History of Art is only taught in a very small number of private schools, as far as I’m aware — I’ve never met anyone who took it at A-Level. The vast majority of our sixth form options were totally normal. (Class Civ is pretty standard where I live, both lower down the school and at A-Level.)

      • Miriam Joy says:

        Oh, my bad, apparently Archaeology does exist as an A-Level, but I’ve never heard of anybody actually doing it. It’s only offered by one exam board, which means it’s pretty minority — mostly at least two exam boards offer them and then they compete to try and make the schools teach that syllabus so they get money. But yeah, only AQA does Archaeology so I’m fairly sure hardly anybody ever does it and very few schools offer it. Again probably private schools. They have the funding for that kind of thing.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh, OK. Hmm. Private schools, got it. Well, I’m still jealous that Classical Civilization is a pretty standard class for you – as far as I know, no schools around here offer anything like that? It’d be mentioned in passing as part of a World History course, but other than that? No.

      • Miriam Joy says:

        Class Civ isn’t so much a history class? Well, it kind of is. But some schools do Ancient History which is much more History based, whereas Class Civ is a mixture of lit and history. In yr12 I did City Life In Roman Italy (history) and then satires by Juvenal, Horace and Petronius and the letters of Pliny (lit). In yr13 it was Roman Britain (history) and then the Iliad and the Aeneid (lit). So it’s a much more mixed course.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ohhhhh. Well, that still sounds awesome. 🙂

  3. Oooh, Communications sounds interesting! I am- other than around my friends- an extremely shy person (like, if somebody I don’t know as well asks me something I’ll most likely only give them a stuttered, one word answer) so that class would probably be good for me XD Public speaking terrified me until this year, when I got to do a commencement speech from the POV of Louis Armstrong, and I actually did surprisingly well! But yeah, I’d definitely agree with you on the thought that being a writer helps a lot with speeches, because I felt the same way when listening to my classmate’s speeches. Your sword thing was awesome, by the way!

  4. F says:

    I have to admit I thought a communications class would be about IT or email, so to answer your question I think Communications is a US thing! I love the idea of it, though, especially if you can choose the topic yourself!

    We don’t have anything similar to Communications, I know it is an option to study formal Debates/Speeches (not speaking) for Irish but we don’t do it in my school.

    Interesting post 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh yeah, that makes sense – I think IT stuff would be a different class in the American school system?

      Thank you! 🙂 It’s fun to find out more about how education is so different from country to country.

  5. Erin says:

    Ugh, I wish I could pick a cool persuasive topic for my Speech class! We have to pick a claim of policy (so a law that we agreed/disagreed with or want to amend), but I didn’t want to pick something super controversial, so I’m giving my speech on why farmers should be able to legally sell raw milk in Wisconsin. I have to give it next week. 😛 Your persuasive speech sounds wayyyy cooler.

  6. orphu44 says:

    Heyy, I also got critiqued for upspeak in my Communications class! (Which also serves as an answer, I guess, in that we do have Communications courses. Mine was mostly about business writing, though, such as breaking bad news over E-mail, writing a recommendation report, etc.)
    Congratulations on your Communications success, too!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ooh, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has troubles with that. 🙂

      For some reason my eyes focused on only the words “breaking bad” and took it completely out of context, so I was all confused and wondered what Breaking Bad had to do with a communications class. Silly me. 😛

      Thank you!

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