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College Conflict: Chippewa Edition

College style conflict is by no means a new concept; however I would like to explore five specific and unique types of conflict that are bound to occur during a Central Michigan University Chippewa's time on campus. Journey with me to explore some typical and comical CMU student conflict, varying from least to most severe.

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1. On your way to turn in your first exam for your PSY 220 class, you trip and fall in front of everyone in your massive lecture class.

Every college student’s worst nightmare: self-inflicted public embarassment. While this is likely an experience between you and a room full of strangers, the internal humiliaton you feel and external response of sweaty palms and rosy cheeks, also known as an intrinsic code, are evident (Class Notes, Communication Code Perspective, 09/05/17). Due to the nature of your lack of relationship with your audience, this event is particularly bruising to your ego because you have established very little rapport with your classmates. Also, this will become a formative memory when you think about this class in the future. As you stand up and shake the dust off, hold your head high and walk out of Pearce 127, you portray to your fellow classmates that you are “cool, calm and collected”, even if that may not be what you are experiencing internally. As you make your way to the door, a friendly face gives you a soft smile, therefore offering comfort and empathy. Perhaps your public embarrassment has gained you a new friend. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, right?

2. The line at the Bovee University Center Starbucks is too long and if you wait for your coffee you will be late for your class.

If you are a Chip, then you know that you have to get to Starbucks AT LEAST a half hour before your class if you want to get your coffee and your favorite seat. All too often the line reaches to Burrito Bowl, which puts everyone in a time crunch. However, your problem lies in your co-dependency on the coffee that you so desire and the necessity to stay awake in your upcoming three hour class. You are standing in line with roughly fifteen others who are in the same boat as you, thus your tapping feet and eyes wandering to your watches are all indicators that you and your new group of your fifteen closest, stranger friends have shared meaning. Shared meaning is “communication that does not take place unless the intended message is essentially- though not precisely- the same as the one received” (Class Notes, Discovering the Dark Side, 08/31/17). In this instance, the meaning being shared is a) you all need coffee, and b) you all need to go. The hopeful ending to this all too often scenario is that everyone gets their Pumpkin Spice Lattes, nice and hot and on time to their classes and meetings.

3. Someone steals the spot in Lot 22 that you have been waiting a half hour for and class starts in 5 minutes.

If you want to talk about fired-up Chippewas, let’s just talk about Lot 22, commuter parking at 2PM on Monday-Thursday. The severity and frequency of the traffic and rage in Lot 22 exponentially grow as the semester continues and stress rises. The “norm”, or regular procedure to be carried out would include the following: 1) Person in car is exiting the parking space, 2) the person who has been waiting with their blinker on takes the spot as person one leaves. However, interpersonal conflict occurs when an unexpected car that was waiting whips into the spot before person two has a chance to start turning their steering wheel. According to class, the intentionality behind this action can be interpreted in three different ways: 1) no harm meant, 2) harm intended, or 3) incidental offense (Class Notes, Influences on Perceptions, 09/07/17). Who you are communicating with often determines the intent behind the interaction based off of past experiences, or lack thereof.

4. “Oh you go to that party school.”

There is a pre-concieved notion and stigma from those who do not attend CMU that we are a “party school”. Quotes from real people who have posted on Unigo include the following “CMU is a party school and all of the students here just get wasted all the time” (What is the stereotype, N.d.). A typical conflict conversation that a Chippewa has to have with someone who is removed from CMU or is merely exposed to surface level information is to shut down any rumors or false telling of what Central Michigan University stands for. Because we live in a media-driven society, perception, interpretation and exposure all play vital roles in what creates and causes conflict, especially in a college setting. Comments that degrade the integrity of Central Michigan University would be considered aversive interpersonal behaviors, falling into the category of what was once bright is now dark. While comments such as these are considered morally appropriate, they are functionally destructive and potentially ruin relationships and the furtherance of education for future Chippewas (Class Notes, Dark Side Criteria, 09/07/17). With that being said, when people start spreading rumors, shut them down.

5. Your roommate starts to date your Leadership Safari crush.

Upon entering CMU as a new student, over 2,000 students are provided with the opportunity to experience Leadership Safari. During a weeks time people form bonds, friendships and romantic interests. The most aversive college conflict as a first year student at CMU by far is when your roommate starts to date your Leadership Safari crush! When you find out that your crush isn’t interested in you, but rather your new roommate, you are totally devastated. Demoted to the friend-zone, you discover that you are in the middle of a case of unrequited love. Unrequited love is “passionate love felt by one person toward another person who does not desire romantic involvement with the would-be-lover” (Bratslavsky, Baumeister & Sommer, 2007, p. 308). Since your roommate knew that you were crushing, it is now super awkward between the two of you. According to the Cosmopolitan article you read, you should address the issue sooner, rather than later (Schreiber, 2016). When we allow aversive interpersonal conflicts to fester it only furthers aversive behaviors and produces more conflict and negative outcomes.

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