Like, what Sigmund Freud meant by his theory of dreams was that, like, dreams are, like, spy holes into our unconscious mind.

Count the number of "likes" in the sentence above.

Now, how often do you think that same thought while listening to your friends and peers speak their mind?

I was sitting in class the other day with another gnawing headache caused by the overuse of the word "like" by my peers when a professor finally called out a frequent user in a subtle and humorous way.

He noted she had just said "like" four times in one sentence, then asked her to take her pen, write down the word "like"- and then cross it out.

"There," the professor proclaimed. "It is on record that you've crossed it out of your speech forever."

The student continued making her previous point, obviously being very careful to omit "like" from her speech and her words became so much more powerful, not because they had changed, but because there were no longer three or four "likes" haunting the silent spaces in every sentence.

Many people who integrate "like" into their speech are very intelligent, but their opinions become washed out because listeners are so distracted by the overuse of the word.

Think "like" is just valley girl language?

Wrong.

This stereotype is completely false because nearly everyone I know, including myself, resorts to using the word at some point.

"'[Like]' has become conversationally popular. It is now the trendy way to vocalize dominance in verbal communication trends," explains Dr. Jerold Hale, a professor in speech communications

"It started as a means to serve any number of functions - a vocalized pause, an opportunity to gather thoughts or a transition episode for someone to finish what they're saying."

But, the truth is, when I hear the word it jumps out and drives me crazy.

I'm not the only one.

Employers, professors and parents alike say this as a common problem amongst college students they talk to that will hinder their future.

"To further your career, [your language] must accommodate or appear to be similar to the people you are talking with," Hale said.

Students must realize that our language is a passport to reaching our goals.

The only way to overcome this annoying habit of speaking is to make a conscious effort to omit "like" from your speech. Tell your friends that if they hear you saying it, they should point it out to you every time.

If you are in class or in an interview, practice speaking more slowly so you can catch yourself before casting "like" into every silent space or transition period.

The point is that Freud didn't "like" mean his theory, he meant it.

- Kori Price is a senior from Glenns Ferry, Idaho majoring in newspapers.

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