Life as a Communication Studies Major

Life as a Communication Studies Major

Here are a few things I have encountered over the four years of my studies

Eye rolls, furrowed brows, confused expressions, rude comments. I've seen and heard it all when it comes to explaining my life as a communications major.

As I am nearing graduation in a little more than two months, I have completely had it with what others have to say about my choice in studies. I have been thoroughly analyzing what it is that I am studying and all that I can do with it.

Sure, I may not have a "career path" unlike you education, science, or business majors with the next five years of my life mapped out for me, but honestly my options are nearly endless. I certainly cannot tell you what I'll be doing after graduation, but that's the fun part.

Here are a few things I have encountered over the four years of my studies:

"So, what can you even do with that major?"

Anything. Literally....a n y t h i n g. From public relations to advertising, to journalism, to event planning, to broadcasting, to film. Anything that requires communicating whether it be visually, verbally, digitally, I could probably tackle it better than you can.

"You're not planning on going to grad school!?"

For the time being, no. If I network properly, show dedication, excel in areas on my own, why drown in more debt than I need to? However, if I absolutely must receive my masters I have no problem going back to school. I do not feel that is completely necessary, though.

"All you do is learn to speak."

Yep, you're right. That's exactly what I've been doing for the past four years at a university. Ummmm, hello?! Communication is not just speaking. We are now in a digital age where everything is online. When speaking to the general public it should be around a 6th grade level with lots of visuals. Tweets are only 140 characters. How do you think big companies communicate through a tweet effectively? Communication studies.

"Your major is so easy."

You right, you right. Reading communication theories linked to psychology, philosophy, and rhetoric, then writing page after page in APA style trying to explain everything in my own words, while relating it to real world situations is so easy I could do it in my sleep. How about you read A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari, then tell me what they're talking about.

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Professors change students' outlook on learning

Which professor you get DOES matter.

The professor makes the class.

This statement could not be more true, in my opinion. Students can take courses on the most riveting topics, but not learn or understand due to a bad professor. Luckily, most of the professors I have encountered have been engaging and have opened my mind to learning new things.

I am currently studying journalism, which is a subject I already love. However, my professor Dr. B is so incredibly passionate about the field. Every class she shares stories and anecdotes about her time as a journalist for a major Canadian newspaper, and her enthusiasm is contagious. As a student journalist, it is exciting to hear stories from someone who has had vast experience in the field. Her excitement inspires me to be just as passionate about my future career.

I am also studying political science, and I am enrolled in the African Politics course. Prior to the class, I had no knowledge of African Politics. I took the course because I wanted to learn a new subject, and I knew that Dr. Ziemke would have endless experiences to share. Because I had previously taken her for International Relations, I knew that she had worked in Africa as a volunteer on the Peace Corps, and she had a deep connection to Africa. Her passion, humor, and stories are what make a three-hour long class bearable.

Passionate professors create passionate students who are prepared and excited to improve their fields of study. These professors shape and mold students, give students encouragement and support, challenge students, and help students reach their potential. Professors have so much power to influence the future through their students.

It is important to understand how much a professor can truly affect how invested students are in a topic. When students have subpar professors, they tune out and do what they need to do in order to pass. When presented with a passionate, engaging professor, students take a deeper interest in the material. They put forth more effort because they understand the value of the topic being studied and want to tackle any issues in that field.

I truly believe that professors have the power to make or break a class.

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I Changed My Major, And So Can You

​One of the hardest parts of college is choosing what you want to get out of college.

One of the hardest parts of college is choosing what you want to get out of college. There’s a lot to think about when you choose where you want to go. Do you want a big or small school, in or out of state, weather, the full college experience, etc.

A decision that is left to be made once you’ve already committed to a school is what you’re going to do after graduation. Your major often reflects this decision. Some know exactly what they want to do and others take a little more time to figure it out.

(AKA me)

I did running start in high school and graduated with my associate’s. Then I came to WSU to pursue a degree in public relations. I was sure working in PR for a non-profit was what I wanted to do but turns out, it’s not.

I am now pursuing a double major in Speech and Hearing Sciences and I plan to be a speech therapist after school. My plans changed quite a bit in the two years I was at WSU.

For anyone else who’s still thinking about what you want your major to be or maybe changing your major, here’s some advice from my experience with trying to figure out my life all at once.

1. Cut yourself some slack

It’s okay to change your mind or not know what you want to do yet. Don’t let people fool you, most of us don’t have it all figured out.

2. Talk to people in the careers you’re interested in

Going out and talking to people in the field you’re interested in is more helpful than talking to an advisor or your professor. When I was thinking about speech therapy, the advisors at WSU didn't know much about it and I learned more from talking to real speech therapists.

3. Take the baby steps

It’s overwhelming if you need to change your major or you start thinking too far into the future. It’s important to slow down and think about what needs to be done now and worrying about the rest when it’s time. When I decided to double major I started thinking about how I would need to apply for more loans, get an apartment, take the GRE but the only thing I needed to do at the time was email my advisor. I could figure out the rest later.

4. What’s important to you?

I’ve always wanted to work with kids and have a job that helps people. It’s also important for me to have a job that is flexible for when I have a family. After talking to family friends and looking into speech therapy, it sounded like the perfect career to me. I could work in the school district and have the same breaks as my future kids.

5. Will you be able to find a job?

Most people go to college to get a job. This is something to consider when choosing a major because some career fields are more competitive than others. If I'm going to pay for graduate school, I want to be able to find a job right away. Speech pathology is a growing field and I shouldn't have a problem finding a job.

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