OPINION: Academics are important, but don’t forget emotional intelligence | Opinion

What does it take to succeed in college? Anyone who has ever been a student knows that there are many ways to answer this question. From time management skills to organization, there are myriad traits that are important to a student’s success, but I’m sure no one disputes that intelligence isn’t important.

Yet, as many of us know, there is more to life than calculation and European history. Beyond every internship and career opportunity, there is a person, or group of people, that we will interact with and work alongside. For this reason, it is important that we turn to a dying art form – interpersonal skills or emotional intelligence.

There are many models of emotional intelligence, but they are all rooted in an overarching idea. Broadly speaking, emotional intelligence is “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others”, according to psychology today. In other words, emotional intelligence is what allows us to recognize when someone is stressed, to pause to think before yelling at our housemates, and to put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

While the idea of ​​emotional intelligence is very appealing, there is debate surrounding its validity and application. Critics argue that emotional intelligence is not a true form of intelligence; rather, that it is ill-defined and ill-measured, and that its claims are exaggerated.

Yet individuals who possess characteristic traits of emotional intelligence experience a range of positive effects. Some benefits include improved relationships, job satisfaction, leadership skills and overall welfare.

The ability to recognize and understand emotions can even improve academic performance, according to a meta-analysis published by the American Psychological Association. From 160 studies, researchers observed that students with high emotional intelligence tended to receive higher grades and test scores than their less emotionally intelligent counterparts, regardless of their age or intelligence. base. They noted that this may be because people who score high on this measure experience less boredom and disappointment, two factors that contribute to academic failure.

Although emotional intelligence is important for personal and academic growth, it’s on the decline among college students, according to a meta-analysis from the Journal of Personality. Specifically, well-being, emotionality and self-control declined over time, all of which encompass emotional intelligence, the authors noted. They reasoned that this trend may be due to increased use of social media and increasing academic pressure.

With this in mind, it is clear that the development of emotional intelligence is more important than ever. While some researchers claim emotional intelligence is innate, other evidence suggests it can be cultivated. Some basic tips for improving this skill include listening to others, expressing empathy, and reflecting on how emotions influence decision-making.

If you’re looking to develop your emotional intelligence even further, look no further than campus. At NC State, we have access to several opportunities that can help us develop this important capability.

For example, the communication department offers courses that focus on relationship skills and development. One class that I found beneficial was COM 112, or Interpersonal Communication. Despite the poor reviews on Rate My Professor, this course provided me with important insight into my relationships and ways to improve them.

Another resource that students can use is the advice center. In addition to individual and group therapy, the counseling center offers free workshops that cover a range of health and wellness topics, from healthy relationships to managing conflict. Students can even request workshops tailored to the needs of a specific audience.

Going forward, we should all take a moment to step away from our screens and personal bubbles. As college students with so much to explore, there’s no better time than now to make connections and develop our interpersonal skills. For the betterment of our lives, let’s be emotionally intelligent.

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