Defending the comm major

by Annie Sullivan


There is a stigma around those brave souls who chose to study communications, and it needs to end.


To some, majoring in communications is a joke, it’s something you take when you want to be a housewife or you’re lucky enough to be a trust fund kid. It’s taken with no respect. To the rest of us, it’s actually something magical. We are learning how to tell stories, how to inform the masses, how to make people laugh and cry; how to make people feel something. If that doesn’t fascinate you, stick around.


Because I used to be one of those people making fun of it.


On Chapman’s college application, there is a section for each potential student to select a specific major or to remain undeclared. Aimlessly, I chose communication studies because, hey, I like talking.


Fast forward a year later: moving into my dorm hundreds of miles from home, having to make new friends for the first time since middle school, and extremely confused how to act.


I quickly learned I had two jokes to tell at parties, one, that I was a freshman, and two, that I was a communications major.


That’s because there isn’t a more eye-rolling, smirk-inducing major than communications. I know this field is the laughingstock of the academic community and that nothing makes all you computer-engineering majors happier than getting to look down on me with that smug grin from behind your screens. But let me drop some knowledge on you.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a major in communication studies has a longer list of career opportunities than a major in engineering, biological sciences, and mathematics.


With a degree in communication, I could become anything from a public-relations director to a producer of a television show. Sounds like I’m setting myself up to do all right in life, wouldn’t you agree?


Now, I know I’m not going to discover the elusive cure for cancer – you’ve got me there. But while I may go my entire life without a Nobel Peace Prize, there is an undeniable need for communication majors and their professions in today’s society.


We live in a changing world – one that has been in the process of shifting into the information age for a while now. And with this submersion into the world of technology comes the media and its use of tools to communicate news of all kinds to the rest of the world. Communication is a more relevant field right now than ever before.


Whether it be a news broadcast, a late-night talk show, a magazine, or a website, it is more than likely a large portion of the news sources in your everyday life are brought to you by someone from the communication field.


So the next time you find yourself making a “How many com majors does it take to screw in a light bulb?” joke, think about how being a communication major in today’s job market and how it could be more beneficial than knowing how to find the limiting reactant in a chemical reaction.


Here’s something I learned from Professor Levy in communication 251: Media is defined as the middle point between the creator of the news and the public. News is something that is never in short supply, and the world would be a worse place without people who spend four years studying to become an educated part of this media, which we have come to rely on so much.


And so what if I’d rather learn about mass-media messages and the effect they have on the world rather than take linear algebra; college is supposed to be the time when you finally get to take the classes that actually vaguely interest you, right? And if that’s the case, then I’ll never be caught dead in another miserable math class again.


So yes, I’m probably going to stick with my gut choice on Chapman’s application, get a degree in communication, and go into the real-world equipped and ready.

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