How I Got Here:
My entire senior year of high school I spent researching colleges and planning my educational path. I even changed my major 3 times before I even attended my first day of classes.
When I met with my adviser to review my schedule during my orientation, I was taken aback by all of the mathematics classes in my schedule. I had taken Pre Calculus as PSEO credit under the impression that I wouldn’t have to take another math class ever again, as long as I wasn’t planning to study any kind of science or mathematics (which, trust me, I totally wasn’t). I was about to have my first meltdown before I even started.
After a lot of discussion with my parents, some of teachers, and advisers on campus, I decided on Integrated Promotional Communications as my major and Marketing as my minor (pro tip: if you minor in Marketing instead of majoring, you can bypass all of the mathematics classes required and just get to the nitty gritty of it). My major includes aspects of journalism, public relations, and advertising and my minor in Marketing will incorporate the more business side of my major.
I’ve been in my major studies for a year and a half now and I absolutely love it. During my studies, I’ve learned a lot and have experienced a variety of different things; making me believe that I’m a pretty good source to talk about the pros and cons, ups and downs of the major.
Pros of Communications Majors
Being a Promotional Communications major is extremely awesome, and here’s why.
People, people, people
As the title of the major entails, you are communicating with loads of different people; whether that be your professors, students in your group projects, internship opportunities, student organizations, or networking, you are always talking with someone.
I’m very much a people person. I don’t want my career to be 50 years of sitting in a cubicle writing e-mails and answering phone calls; I want to be out in the world talking with other people and learning their stories. Thankfully, a Communications major can help equip you to do just that.
Learning New Tricks
One thing that really surprised me throughout my classes is how many tricks these industries have up their sleeves. I always thought I was a smart consumer, but learning the logistics behind advertisement choices and the psychological process of communication, I’m a much more aware consumer of not only products, but media and online articles. There’s a lot of nit picky decisions and spins that can go into content, and through my classes, I’ve learned how to be an educated consumer of the never ending information that seems to be thrown at us through advertisements, social media, and so on.
Communications includes more than just verbal and in person communication; it includes written conversations as well. This can include news stories, press releases, social media posts, flyers, brochures, blog posts, e-mails, agendas, meeting minutes, and in-depth stories, just to name a few.
I LOVE to write. I wrote in a journal daily as a little girl. My mother and I even had a journal that we passed back and forth to each other with prompts. I write reviews for 2 different entertainment sites and I even have my own personal blog.
So the fact that I get to brush up on my writing skills and continue to grow and learn every day is a huge positive for me. There are so many creative outputs to be able to compose different pieces and show who I am as a person, as well as deepening my skill sets.
A Whole New Tool Belt
Communications is such a broad topic and it consists of so many sub categories that have their own rule book. Some classes I learn how to do things out in the field and others I’m sitting behind a computer learning how to create content. There is an array of different tools and resources that you’re introduced to in classes ,that you never may have known existed, and they’re extremely helpful, and again, help you build up your skill sets and further your knowledge. Some examples are:
- Media production tools: iMovie, Audacity, Windows Movie Maker
- Online tools: WordPress, Vimeo, Google Drive
- Field tools: Interviewing, templates
Creativity, not Book Smarts
As I stated earlier, math and I are not friends. By choosing a Marketing major, I had to take 3 other math classes in addition to the one I already took in high school. I knew that wasn’t going to a good fit for me because I wouldn’t be happy doing that.
Communications is more of a creative major where you get to develop your own self and showcase your personality through your writing, productions, and creations. It’s not a “one answer fits all”kind of case, like mathematics are. It offers you a wide range of personalization; the possibilities are literally endless.
Cons of Communications Majors
As with everything in life, there are some aspects of the major that could be considered negative.
Communications is a fast evolving topic. Social media has completely changed the course of the way we communicate in a very short amount of time. This can be seen as a negative because what you learn one year, may change or not even apply the next year because of the nature of communications. So if you’re a concrete kind of person who needs straightforward answers and processes for completing tasks, this route might not be for you.
The Public’s View on Media
Let’s face it. We’ve all heard people complain about the way the media twists things and spins information so that it plays into their favor. Well, journalism began as a way to get the truth to the people. Newer phenomenons, like social media, texting, Snapchat, etc. have changed our idea of communications and the way we go about it, thus, bringing hiccups in the road along the way i.e. fake news, click bait, etc. I’m not going to lie, there are people out there only interested in making a buck and not giving you a quality story. Or even people who want to sell you their product and not actually give you full information and a cause to their business, but that’s not all of us. Most journalists are committed to the truth. Most PR people are committed to representing their organizations fairly, but in a positive light. My point is, the business isn’t all about lying and cheating and trying to take people’s money; it’s about believing we have a duty to the public to tell the truth and spread stories, news, and information that is worth sharing.
Overall, I love my field of study and I can’t wait to one day achieve my goals of being in the management side of the music industry. Communications offers a rich variety of paths and options, but also has possible some negative sides to it as well. It certainly isn’t the choice for everyone, but it was most definitely the right choice for me.