Connor PW McAleney | St. Lawrence University Performance and Communication Arts

Connor PW McAleney

Class year: 
PCA (Rhetoric/Communications)
Scarborough, ME

     Of the roughly two and a half thousand St. Lawrence students there are seven of us who are enrolled in the ROTC program. It is safe to say the community I belong to is a minority here on campus. Being a part of the Clarkson ROTC program means that upon my graduation from St. Lawrence I will commissioned as an officer in the United States Army. I will immediately be placed in a leadership position in charge of forty young men and women from all walks of life. It is my belief that to be an effective leader you must first be an effective communicator. When you are placed in a position of power over individuals with different backgrounds the best way to gain their respect is through proper communication. This is what has inspired me to pursue communication as a major here at St. Lawrence.
     I have currently completed both intro to communications and intro to rhetoric and public speaking, through both of these courses I have been able to transfer skills that I have acquired from class towards my ROTC program. Public speaking and giving presentations is one of the main tasks of an Army officer. One of the hardest challenges for many cadets is finding a college major that will aid them in their future careers, the flaw in the ROTC system is that no matter what your college major is it does not have any impacts on what branch we are placed in. This means that a psychology major could end up branching finance, a field that they have no skills in. However, no matter what branch we all end up, we must know how to present ourselves both clearly and confidently.
     My personal desire is to branch Aviation and become a helicopter pilot. This job entails many briefings and constant communication over mediums to direct soldiers efficiently. I am pairing this major with an environmental studies major to allow myself to have access to other career fields upon my retirement from the army. One of the biggest issues with many individuals in science fields is poor communication abilities due to the isolation from the average day American that their jobs entail. The majority of the people I will talk to in this line of work will be able to relate and understand what it is I am conversing, but if there is a message I need to get out to the general public I will have difficulty expressing my message and ideas.
     I am currently taking my third, fourth, and fifth communication courses this semester and am starting to enjoy this field of study more and more every day. My two current classes are intro to acting, rhetoric of life and death, and research methods. Each of these courses have given me skills I can translate in my future career. Acting has helped me to open myself up and become exposed in a way my highly masculine gender performance is not okay with. Rhetoric of life and death has given me a better understanding and appreciation of how death is viewed throughout the United States, something that I will likely be exposed to numerous times in the very near future. Research methods has shown me ways that I can not only conduct studies in the field of communication but also in environmental work. I could use some of these methods to better assimilate myself to local weather patterns, wildlife behavior, and other such environmental phenomena. In short, I see becoming a communication major as beneficial in many aspects of my life. Primarily in the future I want for myself.