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Fiat Lux and the importance of communication

By Derrick Jean-Baptiste

At Florida Southern College, all students have a chance to take part in a unique research symposium known as Fiat Lux. It is an opportunity for undergraduate students to take part in a process that occurs often within the realm of academia.

Hosted by the Association of Honors Students (AHS), Fiat Lux will be held in Christoverson rooms 210 and 112 for the oral presentations from 9:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.. The poster presentations will be held in the lobby from 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This showcase is open to all Florida Southern students and is a requirement for Honors students completing honor requirements and senior theses.

Some of the presentations are a class requirement and are not specific individual research projects of choice, such as is the case for the students in the Honors 1173 class. There will be 33 15-minute individual oral presentations and 28 individual and group poster presentations.

The topics being presented range far and wide. From math subjects, such as algorithms and geometry, to social subjects, such as the cleanliness of freshman girl dorms and Greek organization victim-blaming, there will be a topic to interest everyone.

While research, scholarship, and creative performance are important aspects of Fiat Lux, they are not the most important. As with any form of presentation or performance, the most important aspect is the communication itself. Many Fiat Lux participants have found that they are not entirely ready for the communication aspect of Fiat Lux. Senior philosophy major Assia Angelini has had trouble with the communication aspect of Fiat Lux.

“I thought I had it all together,” Angelini said. “But the presentation part is really getting to me.”

According to Judy C. Pearson and Paul Edward Nelson in their book An Introduction to Human Communication, communication is key to your success—in relationships, in the workplace, and across your lifetime. Your ability to communicate comes from experience.

We all share a fundamental drive to communicate. According to Pearson and Nelson, communication can be defined as the process of understanding and sharing meaning. You share meaning in what you say and how you say it, both in oral and written forms. If you could not communicate, what would life be like? A series of never-ending frustrations? Not being able to ask for what you need or even to understand the needs of others?

Being unable to communicate might even mean losing a part of yourself, for you communicate your self-concept–your sense of self and awareness of who you are–in many ways. Do you like to write? Do you find it easy to make a phone call to a stranger or to speak to a room full of people?

Perhaps someone told you that you don’t speak clearly or your grammar needs improvement. Does that make you more or less likely to want to communicate? For some, it may be a positive challenge, while for others it may be discouraging. But in all cases, your ability to communicate is central to your self-concept.

Take a look at your clothes. What are the brands you are wearing? What do you think they say about you? Do you feel that certain styles of shoes, jewelry, tattoos, music, or even automobiles express who you are? Part of your self-concept may be that you express yourself through texting, or through writing longer documents like essays and research papers, or through the way you speak.

On the other side of the coin, your communication skills help you to understand others–not just their words, but also their tone of voice and their nonverbal gestures. Even the format of their written documents provide you with clues about who they are and what their values and priorities may be. Active listening and reading are also part of being a successful communicator.

Being an effective communicator goes beyond Fiat Lux–it impacts us daily and we must always attempt to be better communicators.

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