In engineering and life in general, communication is key. If you can’t articulate or voice your opinion, you fail not only your associates, but yourself. The staff of The Poly isn’t perfect, but, as a medium for communication, we think the student population generally may have communication issues.
Students here have a variety of methods to express concerns, yet a vast majority don’t employ them. A common problem that the current student administration is dealing with is apathy, though we don’t think that is truly the sum of the issue. We think many students have strong opinions on what happens on campus but are not confident in their ability to express their views.
This issue is not specific to campus events or Student Government. Many have had problems with group projects where cooperation and open talk is crucial to completion. If even one person is hard to reach or uncooperative, it makes the whole assignment more difficult than it should be. Since this student population is supposed to comprise the future workforce, students should work harder to better their communication.
We believe this is why college is important: not just to learn the knowledge to attain a job, but also social skills to maintain a healthy work and personal environment. RPI requires communication intensive courses to teach students to express themselves in the correct manner. This is the time we should find our voice and have the confidence to speak up.
Required classes shouldn’t be the way people learn good communication; they should be a gateway. Those who want to improve can join on-campus groups or projects that not only help themselves, but others as well. You can make friends by trying to get involved in a group with people who share a similar interest. It doesn’t look too bad on a résumé when you’re a member of a constructive community, either.
Communication isn’t easy, it is something that takes time and patience to become good at. However, if you keep communication in mind during your time here and try to gain the confidence to make yourself heard, you can immeasurably better your life and the lives of those around you.