Communication major offers useful skill set

By Matt Pasquini

have something I need to share. I’ve decided that the time has come for me to accept who I am and not be concerned about what other people think of me.

I’m a communication major, and I’m proud.

For me, answering the question, “What are you majoring in?” has always brought me a slight amount of shame because I’ve always felt that people used their misguided perception of communication majors to assume I’m a lazy student who’s just looking to take the easy way out. But after taking a good part of first semester and reflecting on whether I’m truly satisfied with my majors, political science and communication, I’ve determined that I have nothing to hide. 

Choosing your major is a major decision. In the college environment, it’s a part of your identity and one of the first things people use to determine what type of person you are. 

Business majors, although sometimes characterized as arrogant, are often stereotyped by fellow students as unapologetically ambitious and determined to succeed. Many students around campus envy their ability to schedule classes Monday through Thursday, and everyone knows that their post-graduation career prospects are not bleak.

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    Engineering majors are often pinned for struggling socially, but the weekend spent doing the extra practice problems and the technical skills they gain through vigorous coursework compensates. And like business majors, most are confident that there are few engineering majors who are concerned with landing a job after graduation.

    And then you have communication majors. Most assume that they haven’t put much thought into choosing their majors or that they’ve exhausted all their options so they just decided to settle. On top of that, they’re often belittled because of the “easy” classes and the minimal requirements the major demands. 

    I used to think that of communication majors, but by taking a few courses and obtaining the skills I’ve gained through them, I have come to resent that perception. I learned that most people don’t fully understand the potential of the interdisciplinary skill set that comes with the major.

    It’s also important to note that our communication department has ranked top 10 nationally for the past 20 years, which demonstrates its prestige. 

    Compared to the molecular and cellular biology major, which requires 67-71 hours of coursework, or actuarial science, which requires 57-59 hours of coursework in addition to 29-30 hours of math beyond calculus, the communication major only requires 37 credit hours of completed coursework (although many students find a second major) . 

    But that offers an incredible and unique set of advantages.

    Because I’m majoring in communication and political science, I have the opportunity to get more involved than most students and it’s evidenced by me writing weekly columns, being involved in Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, and being an RA, all while excelling in my school work. 

    All of this is possible because even though core communication courses tend to be easier than core courses in some other majors, the interdisciplinary and practical nature of the coursework allows you to immediately transfer your skills to an array of fields, not just the field you’re specializing in.

    For example, last semester I took the course CMN 321, Strategies of Persuasion. In that class, we learned about the elements of writing that create persuasive rhetoric and I’ve been able to take a few of those methods and use them in my columns when attempting to create persuasive arguments.

    I asked a good friend of mine, Louis Blanc, a senior in mechanical engineering and the president of Alpha Phi Omega, whether he has used the material he’s learning in CMN 411, Organizational Comm Assessment. He emphatically said, “ABSOLUTELY!!” 

    He went on to explain, “I pretty much directly applied everything I learned to a large decision we had to make as an exec board … By exercising the strategies I learned in class, as well as pulling on my own facilitation experience, we were able to forge a decision that was a happy compromise.”

    One of the most important, yet simple, takeaways of this major is that proper communication skills are necessary to be successful in the workplace. A person can be filled with great ideas, but if he doesn’t know how to present them to their co-workers in an organized and coherent manner, the ideas are useless.

    With all that being said, your degree isn’t what carries all the weight on your resume. If a potential employer sees that you did an internship that’s related to what you’re being hired for and that you’re able to communicate your take aways, then you’re positioned well for the job.

    Matt is a sophomore in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewPasquini.