All About Conflict Resolution: A senior reflects on one of her favorite classes.

Conflict is an inevitable and uncomfortable part of life for everyone, though very few would consider themselves adept at handling it. An issue arises and perhaps you say things you did not mean, you find yourself apologizing though you have done nothing wrong, or maybe, you run and hide until the problem “resolves itself.” Even if you feel comfortable with conflict, there are ways for anyone to
improve their communication skills in order to better resolve interpersonal issues in the future.

This is why I am quick to recommend Conflict Resolution whenever a friend of mine asks for class recommendations. Conflict Resolution, or COMM 340, is a communication course typically taught by the one and only Dr. Julie Morgan. Though the class is a requirement for Communication majors, it offers valuable real-life application for everyone. There is minimal communication studies-specific language, making it easy for other majors to jump in and join the conversation.

In Conflict Resolution, students learn about different kinds of conflict and their causes, as well as practical strategies for how to deal with them. Students are encouraged to bring real-life situations to the table to brainstorm and receive information-based insight on how to best manage the conflict. While it can be daunting to share personal experiences in a classroom, the learning that comes from being
vulnerable is genuinely helpful and often applicable to many other instances.

The structure of the course enables students to connect to the material in a personal way and, in some
instances, can even act as an outlet. Assignments allow students to understand themselves and their
relationships better, process situations in their own lives, and use practical skills that will help them in
future conflict. The relationship check-up assignment, which is a semester long project, is an incredible asset that can be used to maintain and check in on the meaningful relationships in a student’s lives.

Personally, this course taught me that the way I had understood conflict should be managed was all wrong. I used to be someone who avoided any kind of conflict at all costs, and when it was confronted, I could never seem to say what I meant, instead absolving the other person of any wrongdoing and putting it all on myself. In my mind, this was the best way to keep the peace, as conflict seemed to only bring destruction and discomfort.

However, in Dr. Morgan’s conflict resolution, I found the opposite to be true. Conflict does not disappear when avoided, and it certainly does not when not properly addressed. I discovered that I was not resolving conflict at all, but that in many instances, my strategies had only made matters worse.

Conflict Resolution gave me a deeper understanding of what conflict is at its core, how to approach it gently and honestly, and methods for finding a resolution that works for all parties.

I have seen a difference in how I handle conflict with others and how I feel about it. Very few classes in college provide information that is directly applicable to student’s interpersonal lives, especially in such a pertinent way. This rare and invaluable experience is why I will always recommend that my peers enroll in
conflict resolution.

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