Vrinda Agarwal, Penn State University
The Multiverse of Communications
As Public Relations students, it is natural for people to think that communication comes easily to us. For the longest time, I thought it was easy to be adept at this skill, but as it turns out, it's not.
Belonging to a very different background than most of my friends at my university, I always leaned on words, primarily written ones, to communicate who I truly was.
When I was growing up, I had a difficult time adjusting to school as I was struggling through the dreaded teenage transformations. As an introvert who was lost, unconfident, and still figuring out how to settle into my own skin, communication was even more difficult where I grew up. While discovering who I was and learning how to deconstruct previously known habits, I always struggled with sharing how I imagined the world around me.
Given my experiences as a queer woman striving to change how I am viewed by society, I often find myself trapped in the closet of my own thoughts. Unsure how to express me without being bound by the traditional communication we are all taught while growing up.
However, when words did not come easily, I often wrestled with my thoughts and my ability to express who I am. While wandering around, I encountered many opportunities, people, and places that allowed me to understand and learn what it means to be a proficient communicator. More importantly, they allowed me to experience it while absorbing it.
Although that understanding is still a work in progress, my trip to Los Angeles with the NMGZ community highlights the people and places I found along my journey. Meeting people and traveling is now second nature since I inherit a certain part of everyone and everything I encounter.
This trip allowed me to visualize the art of communication in an amorphous, abstract, yet powerful multi-dimensional form. Through tears, words, art, dance, music, expressions, or just silence, the trip challenged my way of learning; it allowed me to explore non-traditional ways to communicate; It taught me that who you are, who you surround yourself with, and how you express yourself can be so fluid.
Communication is an infinite realm connected by a community of observers, listeners, and storytellers. The freedom to express myself in ways I could never have imagined changed my outlook on communicating in any setting.
The NMGZ community allowed me to shift my perspective on being a better storyteller in my life and in an ever-evolving industry. My story, empathy, and lived experiences are integral parts of who I am, and this trip allowed me to dive deeper and explore those parts of me.