Communication and Intellectual Person

As a history and psychology double major, I write more essays than take exams during semesters. Writing historical analysis always exhausts me because sometimes I spend hours explaining why I think Puritans are awful people but fail to meet my expectation and receive an average grade (radical Puritans are pretty cool, BTW). My history professor told me that the key to writing is all about imagining that you’re writing for someone who is intelligent but knows very little about the topic you’re talking about. I consider this concept as the center of talking to a general audience.

Few strategies could be developed based on “communicating with the intellectual audience but knows very little about the topic.” The first is to explain fancy terms. It doesn’t have to be a concrete definition, but some simple examples of what that term means or does could help a general audience understand the topic. For instance, I can say that childhood adversity is events happen in childhood that affects a child’s well-being. Things like neglect or abuse could be an example of childhood adversity.

Another thing we talked about in our seminar was using an analogy. I think it is a very efficient way of getting the audience involved. I noticed that when people use an analogy, I feel more relatable to the speaker, regardless of their topic. I would actively look for similar examples in my head to help myself better understand the concept. My research focuses on developing a new measurement of socioeconomic status. In my case, I could describe my study as making a cake or writing the recipe for the cake. Each indicator of SES is an ingredient. To make a really good cake, I’ll need to choose different ingredients to add more layers to the flavor of the cake. For example, a chocolate cake may seem a bit boring, but combined with matcha and cherry, it is delicious and memorable in terms of flavors. Thus, to develop the new measurement of SES, I’ll need to select multiple components that may help me evaluate SES more comprehensively. Eventually, I’ll have the latest measure, like the recipe for making a good cake.

Regarding my professional goals, I think I will be communicating with adolescents a lot in the future. Our lab studies depression in adolescents, and I interact with many participants during study sessions. Every time meeting a new participant, I feel like I learn something from them—seeing how depression impacts a different child or how they cope with their symptoms and energy. Thus, I would love the opportunity to work with adolescents in the future.

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