Let's Talk About Being a Communications Student

Let's Talk About Being a Communications Student

We get a lot of grief about our "low work-load" and easy classes, but let's get the stereotypes out of the way.


Everyone and their mother have opinions about different college majors, which ones are easy and those that are more difficult. Going into communications, more specifically public relations (PR), was a simple choice for me. I have loved to read and write since a young age, and have developed more skills in presenting and public speaking. After choosing my major I got a lot of questions about what exactly public relations is and what types of jobs it would offer.

That the number one problem when people assume things about communications majors is that they don't really know what each major entails or the work and skills it requires.

I have heard many different guesses about what PR careers are, varying from Olivia Pope on Scandal to C.J. from West Wing. The truth is you can't really believe what you see on TV when thinking about any profession. Take Grey's Anatomy into consideration, there are so many articles and videos explaining how the show really doesn't show the life of a surgeon at all. Which is kind of the point, these shows aren't documentaries or supposed to depict real life. They are centered around drama and romance, with intense scenarios to keep the viewers hooked. So long story short, what you see on TV for any profession isn't a version of reality for anyone.

Another large issue about stereotypes for communications students is that we don't do any difficult or 'real' academic work and breeze by the college.

My god, this one of the most irritating assumptions of all. Being a communications student doesn't mean we have fluff work or do things with hallow meanings. We have work, from 12 page papers to 20 minute presentations. Things like this aren't easy, and if you assume they are you haven't done them to a communications standard. When we write a paper every single point and sentence is closely looked at for grammatical errors and accuracy. We don't get to fill our papers by citing academic research and call it a day. (I am in no way saying doing papers like this is easy. But in reality they are in a completely different ball park from what we are expected of in the communications school.) There are few majors outside of communications that require the dedication and detail to such specific things.

Every class is easy and our professors really only teach us things the common person would know.

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what I actually learn in class I would have a good lump-sum. People think communications is simply writing, reading and talking, and how far from the truth they are. Currently I take a class on persuasion, where just today we learned the techniques cult leaders use to 'persuade' members to join. (Just to be clear, while what cult leaders do can be considered persuasion, since it takes away free will and choice researchers consider it more mind control.) While in my international advertising and pr class we are focusing on different countries and how companies must chose how they promote a product depending on different cultures. In sports promotions we have had speakers from the Golden State Warriors, Green Bay Packers, ESPN Milwaukee, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Chicago Cubs. All of which have given us an insight to the communication world within sports. PR strategies has us focusing on different companies who have had recent controversy and creating a case study on the aftermath and response to public opinion. Explain to me how a psychology or bioengineer would do in those classes. That doesn't mean I think either of those majors are easy, I would probably fail an upper level psychology course and would drop out the first day of any bioscience class. But I don't claim either of those major are easy, so why do people get to do it to mine?

We don't have to worry about getting a job after graduation because there are so many in our field.

This one is just a big fat lie. I don't know a single communications student that isn't worried about getting a job after graduation after their sophomore year. We all do internships in the hopes the company will higher us on after we graduate or recommend us to another company who will. The thing with communication jobs is that it's all about who you know and the connections you make. Just take a look at our LinkedIn profiles, they can be pretty intense. Jobs are hard to come by, despite almost every company needing a communications department or person. Getting a job in the field you prefer while heading in the direction you want is really difficult. So let's stop downplaying the job search for communication students, we have it just as rough as you do.

In the real world, anyone can do what we do.

One of the hardest parts about being a communications major is constantly being told that anyone can do what you do, basically making your major and work in school useless. For some reason, everyone outside of the communications school thinks they can read and write just as well, so that means they can do everything we do. I'm not trying to be cocky, but they can't. A history major can't write an advertising campaign for a company or give a speech on persuading people to give them money for a nonprofit organization. Let's be real, you can't do what we do, because it DOES require hard work and effort to learn how to succeed in it.

To wrap things up, it would be great if everyone could give communication majors a break. Yeah, we joke and laugh when you rag on our majors and our work load, but that doesn't mean we're okay with it. You discrediting the field we are paying money to study and want to work in feels like shit. At the end of the day, you don't have the right to say we have an easy work load because you don't actually know what our workload is like. You don't know what goes on behind the scenes at the communication school or the work and dedication it takes to be a communications student.

From, a proud communications student

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Getting Straight A's In College Is Not Worth Failing Your Mental Health

A's are nice, but you are more than a letter.


The idea of getting an A on every paper, every exam, every assignment, seems great. It can be known as a reassurance of our hard work and dedication to our 4+ classes we attend every single day.

Losing sleep, skipping meals, forgetting to drink water, skipping out on time with friends and family; these are the things that can occur when your letter of an A is what you are living for.

You are worth more than the grade letter, or the GPA number on your transcript.

Listen, don't get me wrong, getting A's and B's definitely is something to feel accomplished for. It is the approval that you did it, you completed your class, and your hard work paid off.

But honey, get some sleep.

Don't lose yourself, don't forget who you are. Grades are important, but the true measurement of self-worth and accomplishment is that you tried your best.

Trying your best, and working hard for your goals is something that is A-worthy.

Reserve time for yourself, for your sanity, your health, your mental health.

At the end of the day, grades might look nice on a piece of paper, but who you are and how you represent yourself can be even more honorable.


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My Future Career Is More Than A 'Glorified Babysitter' Position, Despite What You May Think

I am an education major and extremely proud of it.


This is a topic that has been on my heart a lot this week. As an Education major, I've heard it all. "Do you know how much teachers make?" Yes. "You ACTUALLY like kids?!?" Yes, I LOVE them. "Why would you do that to yourself?" Because I love it. Because I love being an Education major, I've become extremely passionate about defending it. However, I'm getting tired of feeling like I have to.

This career choice is something that I'm proud of. I know that being a teacher means sacrificing several things. I know that it means sacrificing your financial security. I know that it means sacrificing your ability to not be constantly thinking about 30 other kiddos all of the time. I know that I'll be sacrificing my right to be selfish. If you think about it, everything that a teacher does is utterly selfless. They dedicate their entire college career and teaching career to make sure that YOU understand the material. They spend several chunks of their own money on their classroom to provide an environment that enhances your learning. It's selfless. And it takes a person who recognizes that fact to be a teacher.

Teaching also has many dimensions, that nobody actually thinks about. For example, the class description for one of my classes says that it "Focuses on multicultural and interdisciplinary literature appropriate for middle grades students; implements and evaluates effective multicultural, interdisciplinary instruction through selection, use and development of literature in middle grades classroom" (TAMU catalog). Within this class, I was required to authenticate texts (make sure that they're culturally appropriate), learn about how to build a culturally-diverse classroom library, and how to teach without microaggressions. And these things only scratch the surface of the content that I was required to know for this class. People seem to forget that this is only one aspect of teaching, making sure everyone feels included socially and culturally. So please tell me how "glorified babysitter" fits into this description.

Also, good teachers work extremely hard. A good teacher knows that every child is on a different level and teaches so that each child understands that material. Good teachers present the material in a way that visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners can understand. They use a strategy called differentiation to "instruct a diverse group of students, with diverse learning needs, in the same course, classroom, or learning environment" (Glossary of Education Reform). Also, there will always be special education kiddos who come into the general education classroom for a subject or two, and it's important that good teachers have a lesson prepared specifically for that student that meets their IEP goals. These IEP goals are "Annual goals are statements that identify what knowledge, skills and/or behaviors a student is expected to be able to demonstrate within the period of time beginning with the time the IEP is implemented until the next scheduled review" (naset.org).

Teachers also have to worry about the kiddos who come from broken, abusive, and low socioeconomic households. One of the biggest things that I have learned so far is that a hungry student is a distracted student. There are several students that go to bed hungry and don't eat a lot over the weekend because their family cannot afford it. It's important to know that if you're going to get a student to listen to you, you've gotta keep some crackers or trail mix with you at all times in case they cannot focus because of their lack of food. With that, the other battle with teaching is handling the parents. Some are wonderful, others... not so much. I haven't had to experience this yet personally, but I'm prepared.

The key ingredient in being a good teacher is not the lesson you prepare, but the relationships that you develop with your students. I have sat through countless classes, and not once have I remembered the material taught word for word, but I have remembered the relationship that I've had with the teacher or professor. Being a teacher means that:

"students want to know that you care before they care about how much you know"

Building a relationship with 30+ kids is hard, but it's possible. You have to know that it's okay to admit your personal struggles and show that you are not a robot. Having a relationship with your kids means apologizing when you realize that you taught or did something wrong. Having a relationship means caring about things that students also care about. If they're concerned about something, it's your job to ask about it. Being a relational teacher means asking yourself: "what can I learn from my students today?"

I cannot wait to be a teacher, which entails a lot more than a "glorified babysitter". I cannot wait to teach the future generation everything that they need to know to be successful. I cannot wait to build really cool relationships with them, and see the graduation invitations from them when they graduate with master's degrees from somewhere. I am excited to love on my students and do something with my life that is worthwhile.

However, I know that I am not the only major who feels like they must defend themselves from the rest of society. What I've learned is that everyone will not understand you or what you love. Our job is to educate them respectfully. Every career choice is valid. Everybody does a different job in this world for a good reason. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and that's a good thing! Someone whose brain is wired to be a car salesman probably would not thrive as a scuba diver. Someone who is extremely good at math should probably not try to pursue a career in teaching collegiate literature. We're all different and we all have different passions. Not everyone will understand, and that's okay. Let's do our part to help them understand.

I am a future teacher, and I'm proud of it.

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