It’s More Than Just Talk. Communication Studies: “What do you want to do with that?”

No matter the major, no matter the university you attended, we all dread the terrifying question: “What do you want to do with that?” Unless you’re walking away with a degree in nursing or teaching (which come with enough terrifying questions of their own, god bless you grads), it’s hard to explain exactly what you picture doing with your life. It’s even harder to explain to your mother’s, cousin’s, son’s, wife who, in reality, probably doesn’t even care. But, because you spent the last four years or so perfecting this damn science, you feel that you at least owe it to yourself to have a good answer to this question (that if you hear one more time you might have to excuse yourself for another margarita), right?

The truth is, you probably don’t know the answer to this question. Or at least not an exact answer to this question (and if you do, the rest of us secretly hate you, don’t take it personally).

I changed my major once throughout my college career. This was a big deal, since I went off to school eighteen years young (it felt older then, trust me), knowing everything there was to possibly know about the world and the people in it (duh), and thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I was an Electronic Media major and I was so set on sticking with it.

I have never been more wrong.

I was in a department with professors who told me to leave, peers who fed off of competing with one another, and a whole lot of C’s at the end of my first semester.

Besides knowing that this was not what I wanted to do with my life, I knew I was lost. I felt confused and distressed. The one and only class I looked forward to attending was my public speaking course, which my professor found as odd, seeing as how most of the kids have to take the class at least twice if they want a decent grade. I awkwardly had to sit through one girl cry herself through a speech, another run out of the room during, and one who – I swear, I could not making this shit up even if I tried – threw up immediately following. Let’s just safely assume they’re all nurses or teachers now 🙂

Because I had found my newfound admiration for the College of Liberal Arts and every course, professor, club, and student that came with it, I made the official switch to Communication Studies in the middle of my sophomore year.

From the bottom of my heart, I can honestly say majoring in Communication Studies was the best, no, the greatest thing I ever decided to do.

If you’re a Communication major, you probably know that f-ing awesome feeling of saying the very last line of your speech. You spent an hour the night before in your bedroom mirror, or maybe in front of your roommates, perfecting the tone of your voice to say that ending, I know, I know. And you probably rocked it. You also well know the feeling of accomplishment when you hand in your twenty-five page research paper or your public relations campaign media kit. Damn, does it feel good to see your name on that cover page. You’ve never felt prouder than sitting in a gen-ed course on syllabus week and hearing the echoing moans of students around you when your professor announces that there will be presentations. Psh, you’re used to that stuff, it’s what you do. You’re probably also beyond familiar with all-nighters, group projects (which really should just be re-named “the biggest headache you’ll ever encounter”), and mental, sometimes even physical, break-downs from what seemed like never-ending many speeches, campaigns, projects, and research papers. I can’t help but to notice that some tend to look down on those who choose a path along the lines of Communications. And that’s because they’ve never experienced it. And damn, do I feel sorry for them. People see our major as something easy, a ‘get out of jail free card’, or even just plain unimaginative. They’ll never have that pride, that feeling of family within a classroom, or that connection to their degree. And that’s okay, because they’re probably in a major that suits them and their personality just fine. But we, we Communication majors know that fine just isn’t for us.

 

So the next time you encounter a Communication major, and you even dare to ask them, “What are you going to do with that?”, maybe they don’t know exactly what this field has in store for them, but you might want to be prepared – because talking is what we’re good at.

 

 

– C

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