What I’ve Learned Being in the Pre-Comm Major at UCSB

When I was at community college, I was undecided for a while. I knew what I liked to do, but I didn’t know what direction to take. I spent the first couple of years doing GE's, but then I took my first communication class. I think it was group communication, and I really enjoyed it. She had us form groups for a project and that was probably the best group project experience of my school career. After that class, I realized communication would be the perfect major for me. It incorporates almost everything I’m interested in, and even pushed me out of my comfort zone with having to speak in front of people about issues I care about. Though I’m still not a fan of public speaking and probably never will be, that one class I had to take was the first class that I felt confident doing so. Every other comm class I took from then on made me excited to learn more, and so I decided that would be my major. Learning how to communicate in all scenarios of life is important no matter where you end up working, plus writing and photography are both forms of communication that I’m passionate about and I figure I can make some kind of difference using those to my advantage.

When I decided to come to UCSB, I really had no idea what to expect for the comm major. I figured it wouldn’t be too rigorous and that soon enough I’d be taking the interesting upper division classes they offered, such as nonverbal comm, comm and emotion, social marketing comm, media entertainment, and so much more. At orientation, I became more aware of the pre-major requirements and how competitive it is. It intimidated me, but I still felt confident that I could pass the 2 needed requirements and easily become a full comm major.

However, I don’t think I was fully prepared for how competitive it truly is. I’ve learned that at UCSB, the communication department is one of the most competitive, and the pre-major system is built to challenge us right at the get-go so that only a certain percentage of students will get into the major. This system is much harder for transfers, since we’ve already completed 2-3 years at community college and received our Associate’s degree and expect to be able to study our major after we transfer. So far, I’ve taken the first pre-comm requirement and I’m in the middle of my last one. If I don’t get a B+ or higher, I may have to appeal to get into my major, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll have to change my major and complete that entire major within a year. Now, I’m not trying to bash on the comm department or stear anyone away from pursuing it, I’m only giving my point of view because it’s been quite challenging for me personally.

I honestly didn’t consider the fact that I may have to change my major, but now I’m realizing that it might have to happen. I’m currently taking comm research process, and it’s kicking my butt. It seems as if they’re literally trying to “weed” out the students who aren’t doing exceptionally well by making the tests impossibly tricky and comparing our scores with other students. That feels unfair to the students who don’t do as well but are still trying their hardest. College is supposed to help you succeed and improve, but the pre-major classes feel like the opposite, and that doesn’t seem right. I know of so many people who've already given up or decided to change their major, and that really doesn’t help my confidence level.

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Communication is a great subject and major, and more and more students are becoming interested in it and all its possible career paths. That’s what excites me; knowing that communication is applicable for any and every job I might have, and that I already have many different forms of communicating ideas that I love. Right now, I’m feeling stuck behind the ever-growing wall of PRE-MAJORS and don’t know if I’ll be strong enough to break it down to the other side where I can be free to study anything I want. I think UCSB should reconsider how competitive and difficult this major has to be. Many students feel discouraged after putting all their effort into the pre-major classes, only to find out they didn’t make it in by just a few points. The school should be doing all they can to help us succeed and study what we’re passionate about, not just those who “deserve” to be in the major. Maybe if they enrolled less students into the major, there wouldn’t have to be a pre-major process at all. I just want to study what I came here to study, even if I’m not an A+ student, and I’m going to try my hardest.

If I end up not getting in, it’s going to suck. No other way of phrasing it. Nevertheless, I’m going to make the most of my time here at UCSB no matter what major I end up in because in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter too much. What matters is the transferable skills you learned along the way, the opportunities you took advantage of, and the amazing friends and connections you made. All in all, I’ve learned that my expectations about being a comm major were quite different than what I’m currently experiencing, and I’m hoping that I’ll have a better picture of what I’m doing and where I’m going soon. But for now, it's all up in the air.

Image via Giphy