College students exist in a community where their majors define them as much as their zodiac signs. Oh, chemistry majors? They have high compatibility with biology majors, but low compatibility with business majors. Our focused areas of study is a hot topic, and when faced with the most generic and excruciatingly painful question plaguing menial campus conversation, we wince during each ice breaker:
“So what’s your major?”
Though every degree is equally important and equally challenging in their own ways, no response is quite distinctive as the fatal:
“Oh, I’m a communication major.”
Society is as accepting of a communication degree as Scott Pruitt is of climate change.
Most outside the College of Humanities respond negatively to a degree that isn’t related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). COMM gets stereotyped as the “easy” major, and it’s hard not to take it personally. Other students might as well say, “You aren’t as intelligent as I am because you aren’t in an intensive major like me.” We aren’t required to take an intensive upper division math course, nor are we expected to memorize every bone in the human body, but that doesn’t make the coursework any less substantial. Students want to feel that their suffering through University is valid, that what they are studying and the work they are doing is important; however, validation shouldn’t be legitimized at the expense of another.
Stanford describes communications as, “A crossroads of the social sciences, developing strategies in multimedia storytelling, survey research, and conducting social analyses to draft clear and compelling prose.” This means COMM majors take an array of courses, developing tactics in an emotional appeal to condition favorable behavior in business, whether it be consumers or staff. Classes such as Quantitative Research, Mass Communication Law, and Visual Rhetoric & Politics prepare students for career paths in journalism, marketing, and public relations.
Not everyone pursuing a COMM degree is a listless, apathetic halfwit; just like not everyone pursuing a math degree is a dull, awkward pre-pubescent virgin.
Julianne Skrivan, senior at the University of Utah, is triple majoring in political science, communication, and film & media arts while double minoring in health and theater. Not only is she a credit demigod, she is also president of the HerCampus Utah chapter and Vice President of Risk Reduction for Greek Council.
(Pictured above: Julianne Skrivan)
Alexis Freudenberger, senior at the U, is majoring in communication while minoring in business administration. She has been German student of the year two times running, actively helps out her family business, The Original Pancake House located in Las Vegas, is a PINK representative, and is Senior Member Coordinator of the Utah Alpha Pi Beta Phi chapter.
(Pictured above: Alexis Freudenberger)
COMM majors are not dumb and lazy—Julianne and Alexis are walking proof not everyone can be neatly tucked into a neat prejudiced box. A major consumes as much time as you dedicate to it. Various STEM majors I know dedicate minimal effort and time to their education, yet they are glorified for their “prestigious” program when a college of humanities student could be putting in more hours, but respected less.
Almost anyone could succeed in a variety of majors if they applied themselves, but if they aren’t passionate about it, then it’s pointless.
Alexis or Julianne could have pursued a STEM degree. But would they have been happy? No. If we’re pursuing degrees for the status and title to sound more prestigious or intelligent, than we’d be an unhappy and superficial working class. These women will go on to find successful careers because they have worked diligently in and outside of college. It is the work and ambition an individual exercises to secure employment, not the entitlement of a major that will warrant a respectable position.
Communication majors aren’t trying to say their work is harder or that it’s more important; I respect STEM majors and, plainly, any student pursuing a higher education. Communication majors just want to be respected in return. We study, we stress, and we found a major that makes us get up every morning to go to class, and that is enough.