Behind the Stereotypes: What it Really Means to be a Communications Major

Despite what degree you decide to pursue in college or university, chances are considered the stereotypes about it before deciding to enroll. Being a double major in both communications and political science, I’m more than familiar with many preconceptions people commonly have about these degrees. After having completed two of my four years, I can safely say that while some of these ideas can be true, there is much more to being a communications major than what meets the eye.

 

I’ll never forget the day in class when my professor said in a matter-of-fact way, “You guys are in this class because you aren’t good at science or math; if you were, you’d be in biochemistry or engineering, not communications.” While I could tell this remark wasn’t meant with any ill intent, it struck me as a little insulting and just blatantly wrong. My professor isn’t alone in this mindset, however; the assumption that students only choose to study communications because they are not smart enough for other subjects is a common undertone I’ve felt in various conversations with friends, coworkers, and even relatives.

 

While some other degrees require strong skills in math or science, communications students often thrive in areas such as public speaking, writing, and digital/technological competency. The past two years have been a constant process of improving these skills and challenging myself to see how far I can take them, and this process is a challenge within itself. My first video production course was very eye-opening because I was completely new to the world of cameras, on-set protocol, and editing software used in the professional world of movie-making and television production. I’m not ashamed to admit that I went into the class with the mindset that “this will be easy because I’m a good student, and this is just communications, after all”. Boy, was I wrong. Learning the nuances of production is no small feat, and people who have mastered this area should not be looked at as any less talented or hardworking than those earning a more traditional degree.

 

Communication is a fundamental skill needed for almost any path in life. Professors need communication skills regardless of their area of expertise, as do entrepreneurs, retail workers, and the list goes on. Even if you’re settled in a degree that you feel passionate about, taking a course in this discipline can never hurt. And, for those fellow communications majors who have likely been questioned on this decision at least once before, let’s work to change the notions about our aptitude and opportunities for success, one naysayer at a time.