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Jan 10 2018
by Lily Cao

7 Ways to be Diplomatic in College

By Lily Cao - Jan 10 2018
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There's a lot of commonly held beliefs about the college life and the college experience. Many people say that college is the most formative time of their life; it's a time when they gain a lot of knowledge and develop the most profound friendships and relationships. While these claims may be true for some and not for others, there's not doubt that there's certain ways to navigate the world presented by college in order for you to avoid drama and channel yourself positively. These are a few tips to follow if you wish to deal with situations diplomatically and cleverly during the four or so years.

1. Try to minimize the gossip you partake in.

As in any social circle, try to minimize the gossip you participate in during your college experience. Evade passing on rumors about other people behind their backs because no matter how secretive and sly you think you're being, word gets around. This is an essential rule to follow especially if you want to create a positive self-image and gain favor with your peers and professors. Additionally, you wouldn't like it if the tables were switched, and you were the center of false rumors. 


2. Be aware of how your commentary affects other people's feelings.

Although it's extremely necessary to speak up and voice your concerns about important issues, just be aware of how you're phrasing certain commentary or strong opinions. You're entitled to your own opinion, but remember that others are too! Give peers or teachers with different perceptions the opportunity to state their stances and respond in a respectful, but confident manner. It's inevitable that you will encounter people you don't necessarily agree with, but this doesn't mean that you should be insensitive to how words can hurt. 


3. Compromise is key!

You will find yourself in small disagreements with friends but beware of these small disagreements turning into huge fights and arguments that could put a wedge in your social circle. Keep in mind that compromise is the most diplomatic and considerate solution. Compromise allows you to not completely back down, but also shows your respect for the other party or opinion even if the disagreement is over something as small as where to order takeout from. 


4. Look the part and play the part! 

Your self-image in college all depends on the vibe you give off and the level of confidence you portray. If you're always negative and stressed out, you likely won't make time to forge great relationships with others, and others probably don't want to be around your dark cloud. On the other hand, if you're enthusiastic and confident, you will likely find the right balance between academics and socializing and attract many friends with common interests. Additionally, confidence is essential to forging solid relationships with your professors. Even if you're not completely sure about what you're learning in your classes, professors appreciate it if you confidently pose questions or participate in discussions. Just make sure your confidence doesn't become arrogance.


5. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

At the end of the day, your professors and other college faculty are there to ensure you get the most out of your education. Don't be scared to go to office hours or tutorials frequently and ask any questions that you have in class. Putting effort into your courses and showing interest in what you're learning is a great way to demonstrate your social and academic abilities to professors. If professors are able to observe your passion for understanding more, additional extracurricular and research opportunities could come your way.


6. Offer a helping hand when you see someone in need.

If one of your peers is struggling in a class and you happen to understand the material, communicate with them and see if you have time to organize a study group together. By being kind and helpful, you're increasing your chances of meeting new people and creating friendships. The same rule of thumb applies to the staff and faculty on campus. 


7. Show gratitude for the little things.

There's a lot of people who aren't often recognized for their work on college campuses in order to ensure the comfort and success of students. These people include custodial staff, mailmen, dining hall staff, etc. Gather signatures and donations for a thank you card or gift once in a while! This little act of kindness conveys how important these hardworking people are to the college experience and also shows your thoughtfulness for those around you. 


The key to being "diplomatic" in college is to be mindful, open-minded and thoughtful. As long as you work toward your social and academic goals while adhering to these golden rules, you're sure to forge profound connections and broaden your network.

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Lily Cao - Rice University

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