An explanation on why I had to leave the communication major.
Plenty of people come into college undeclared and by the beginning of their second year, they have an idea of what major to pursue but unfortunately, I am the opposite. I started my freshmen year of college as a communication major (note communication NOT communicationS) but now as a second year, I find myself lost, seeking to major in something else.
What went wrong? I laid down a path for myself and tried to stick to it but then I fell off. A jack of all trades rather than a master of one, I found myself interested in any other major. Sociology? Economics? This communication major I was getting myself into lost it’s appeal. Let me give you a quick run down on why. But first, an explanation as to why I point out that I was a communication major not a communicationS major.
Tim Larson at the University of Utah defines the terms in the following way:
- Communication — The communicating of information. The exchange of information between individuals, for example, by means of speaking, writing, or using a common system of signs or behavior.
- Communications — The technology and systems used for sending and receiving messages, for example, postal, telephone, radio, TV and the Internet. The tactics used to execute a marcom (marketing communication) strategy, for example, advertising, PR, sales promotion, events…
So here, communicationS is related to media and such and such whereas communication is theory based. I would sit in class and learn about theories and would be tested on if I applied this theory to this situation, what would this person say next? What if I applied a different theory? How would the person behave differently?
I hated it. Yes, it sure as hell let me become a better communicator thanks to my newly acquired knowledge about why people react they way they do in social situations. But after needing to memorize theories about social this and social that and then learning about the stages of relationships and how they come together and fall apart (imagine having to be lectured on this right after a tough breakup. Not fun at all, I can tell you that) or having to write six page essays analyzing if this 30 second ad was effective and using communication terms, why; I was over it. I couldn’t do it anymore.
Besides the fact that I could not handle the communication major not being what I thought it was, I couldn’t handle going online and constantly seeing “Communication(s) Major is one of the most useless majors. Ever.” Oh. Okay. That’s cool too I guess. I was optimistic and told myself that it’s not so much about the major but rather the skills I would acquire from studying such a topic — well to be fair, I still tell myself this. I told myself that because I was interested in so many career paths, a broad major like a communication major would allow me to open many doors versus a career specific major like journalism (not that there’s anything wrong with the journalism major, I’m just too interested in other fields as well).
I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I’m scared to fail, I’m scared of picking something wrong. I am fed up with constantly being pelted with arguments that a degree in communication(s) would be a complete waste, with being insulted and getting told that the comm major isn’t a real major. “It’s just that major that all the sorority girls and athletes do because it’s so easy and broad.” I am done with people silently judging me for my major and having no respect for my education.
I am weak. Not only did the comm major start to feel impossible with it’s difficult courses and high GPA requirement with little room for error, my heart was no longer in it. The classes were interesting and the communication department had me sold with their promises of bright futures for hard workers, but I hated that I started to doubt my major, my education, my future.
I was jealous of my friends that seemed to have it made. Biology, chemistry, engineering, political science, philosophy, economics, whatever. They all had their hearts set and I would always meekly admit that I was “just a comm major.” Do not get me wrong though. I have so much respect for communication(s) majors and what they endure. It’s a wonderful degree but it’s not for me. If I wasn’t so all over the place with my career interests and truly loved the comm major as my other peers, I would fuck what anyone else said and stick to it. But I don’t love the major the way it should be loved and I can’t exert the necessary amount of energy and effort it takes to cross the finish line. It’s not fair to the comm department.
It’s almost as though I’m breaking up with the major. “I can’t do this anymore,” I explain as I scroll down the long list of majors offered at my school. Is it too soon? “Ooh, you look doable,” I squeal to myself as I realize I’m already halfway there with the sociology major. “Ugh, maybe in my dreams, ” I groan while sighing at the requirements to chase after an economics/accounting major. I no longer saw a future with the communication major.
I’m sorry but it’s not you. It’s me.