Students assert their way to success

By Joshua Patton

Students assert their way to success photo 3: Ann Mitchell, a graduate student intern at DCCC, explains the different scenarios for a group activity, during a workshop titled “How to Be a More Assertive Student.” Photo by Joshua Patton.

DCCC’s Marple Campus hosted “How to Be a More Assertive Student,” on Nov. 17, in Room 2185, from 11:05 a.m. to noon, to help students navigate their academic career more effectively.

The event, hosted by DCCC Counselor Jennifer Kalligonis and graduate student intern Ann Mitchell, focused on the three different types of communication, including passive, aggressive, and assertive.

In addition to a slideshow presentation, attendees participated in a group activity, in which students were given a scenario and asked how they would respond.

The scenarios included a friend asking for a ride, receiving a wrong order at a restaurant, and a friend forgetting to give back money.

“Students had great questions and were very honest,” Kalligonis said. “They put a lot of thought into their answers.”

The slideshow detailed the verbal and nonverbal signs of each style, including posturing, body movements, and eye contact.

Mitchell and Kalligonis also discussed how these styles could help or hurt a student’s academic career.

Positive outcomes of the assertive style could include better grades, respect from professors, and increased career involvement, while the passive style results in fewer opportunities and potentially wasted courses, according to the slideshow.

Kalligonis recounted the story of a DCCC student that failed to graduate, due in part to passive communication.

“He had a $30 balance,” Kalligonis said. “All he would have had to do at the window was ask [about the balance.]”

During the presentation, Mitchell had a student volunteer act as a professor to demonstrate how aggressive communication could be harmful to academic success.

Although aggressive communicators stick up for their rights, they may make an uncomfortable atmosphere for other students, and may anger their professors, according to the slideshow.

According to Kalligonis, the assertive style is what students should strive for.

“The assertive style is kind of your goal,” Kalligonis said. “You’re standing up for your rights, and also maintaining for the respect of rights for others.”

Attendees also recounted times they confronted professors and tried to determine what style of communication could have been more effective.

According to Kalligonis, starting sentences with “I” instead of “you” is a great way to confront professors in an assertive, respectful way.

“I definitely enjoyed it 100 percent,” said Christopher Caltabiano, 21, a liberal arts major. “I plan on using the assertive method on asking a girl out on a date.”

Kalligonis offered her email for students that had further questions.

“I’ll take the [training] and bring it into the real world,” Caltabiano concluded.

Contact Joshua Patton at

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