Top Menu

relationships on campus photo

Handling Relationships in College and Classes to Help You

Entering college is like entering a new phase of life that is completely different than anything you’ve experienced so far. Living with people you’ve never met, being taught by adults who are more than just teachers, and navigating potential dating interests in college are a new territory of relationships that seem daunting. Luckily at Grove City, not only is the fact that we are outwardly a Christian school influential in how college relationships are formed, but there are also a few helpful classes to open the discussion about how to handle all these new relationships.

Interpersonal Communication

Within the communications department is a course called Interpersonal Communication, taught by Dr. Todd Allen. This course serves as an elective, so all students have the opportunity to take it. Dr. Allen said, “This course is so practical and relevant that it’s one students flock to from different majors. At the end of the day, I want students to walk away having a more informed understanding on how theory is in practice of what we do.” With underlying information taken from communication theories, this course teaches students how to deal with difficult conversation, understand friendships, and become better listeners.

communications professors, interpersonal relationships

Communications Professor Todd Allen

As we communicate as college students, there is a certain stigma connected to what we say and how we say it. Dr. Allen said, “People do [certain] things [when they communicate] but they don’t know why and don’t understand the history, science, and communication theories behind it.  It helps to understand what’s going on when you engage in interactions with others.” This class goes beyond the classroom, and has taught me the importance of realizing the implications of your interactions. Whether in professional, romantic, or family relationships, we as college students have the liberty to make our own decisions in how we interact, and that can be extremely challenging. But thankfully, Dr. Allen agrees that college is not the end all be all, and we should be continuing to challenge ourselves to communicate beyond this campus.

Courtship and Marriage

Professor of sociology, Dr. Martin Bright

Professor of sociology, Dr. Martin Bright

There are other courses on campus that are designed to inform and discuss deeper issues within specific relationships. One of the more popular courses called Courtship and Marriage is taught by Dr. Martin Bright. Now this is NOT a class to tell you how to find a husband or wife, or even how to ask someone out, but it’s a course for students to become aware of what that looks like when considering furthering a relationship. Dr. Bright explained, “What I like about this course – as well as many of the social science courses – is that it teaches both academic and things you can apply on a personal level.” This course can be beneficial to students considering marriage or engagement to discover on a biblical standpoint what a relationship like that might look at.

Courtship and Marriage also focuses on other relationships, such as families and friendship dynamics. Dr. Bright said, “Ideally the student leaves the course with a better understanding of sociocultural trends occurring that affect dating, marriage, families, as well as students themselves.” He continues to explain, “following self-exploration [students] have a better idea of what they are seeking, and the important building blocks of a lifelong commitment. The focus is on relationship building, so you don’t have to wait until marriage to apply the concepts discussed.” The great thing about courses like this is the conversation opened that allows students to learn from one another and ask questions.

With courses like this, you can imagine the types of questions these professors get. When asking what kind of questions are commonly asked in class, or what professors observe about college relationships, I got some pretty interesting responses. Dr. Allen said he noticed a couple things, but specifically recognizes the relationships between faculty and students. He said, “I wish so many more students would take advantage of getting to know faculty and staff. They can be such a great sounding board as you navigate all other relationships, plus you influence us.” Referring to the way students influence faculty, Dr. Allen explained, “I don’t think we often make students aware of the things you say, the thoughts you have in class, questions, and even casual conversation come at just the right time for us sometimes.” With a course like Courtship and Marriage, Dr. Bright gets questions all the time from students. He said, “Dating experiences of students range from none to several, so questions are varied.” One of the most common questions asked in his course is something like, “at what age is (varied topics) appropriate?”

Not saying our professors are matchmakers, but they are excellent resources for understanding all types of relationships and learning how to navigate them. I highly recommend taking a course like Interpersonal Communication or Courtship and Marriage early in college to answer questions about college relationships you might begin with.

Follow and like us:
Visit Us

, , ,

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes