Typically, when I inform people I am a communication major, I am either faced with comments of confusion or common thoughts that this is one of the “easy majors.” Although communication can be confusing, and has “easy” aspects, like any major, here is a look as to what life as a communication major is really like:
If you’re interested in declaring communication as your major, you better be willing and able to write a wide variety of papers — research papers, argumentative essays, creative writing, and more. We may lack the strict memorization tests of a lot of majors, but the amount of research and writing that we do makes up for it.
Along with writing comes a lot of reading. Reading assignments range from textbook chapters, case studies, research on various topics, news, etc. And this isn’t the kind of reading you can SparkNotes — be prepared to read, reread and really analyze and process the material to understand it.
3. Discussion Classes
“Majoring in communication? Do you just learn how to talk?” Well, you’re on the right track. Logically, we do a lot of talking. Classes are predominately discussion based, and they’re small, meaning everyone has to talk — you can’t just hide in the back. Discussion based classes also mean you have to know your stuff and know your stuff before class. That means actually doing your reading assignment, and doing it well, as you have to know what you’re talking about for class.
4. Group Projects
Can’t stand group work? Communication probably isn’t for you. Almost every communication class I have taken during my three years as a major has involved at least one group project. These are usually small groups, too, meaning everyone has to contribute. But, of course, not everything goes as planned, so be prepared for some time crunching before deadlines, difficulty in coordinating and hoping everything comes together.
If you have a group project, you’ll have to present it. Midterms and finals for many other majors are intensive exams, but for us, bring on the presentations. Now, before you say this is the easier option, know that presentations require knowing the content as much as you would have to for an exam. In addition, you’re adding public speaking nerves to the mix, and you don’t have the luxury to process what you’re saying, reread, or go back and explain yourself like on a written test.
6. End of Semester
Here’s another communication myth: we don’t have a lot of work. If the papers, reading, group work and presentations I’ve previously mentioned still haven’t convinced you, I will admit there are some weeks that are lighter than others. The reason behind this is most of our big projects are due at the end of the semester. Communication majors need to be able to manage time, handle stress and meet deadlines, as all of your classes will hit you at the same time. Finals and midterms can be two papers and three presentations on top of group meetings and your other assignments.
7. Best Professors
Communication professors are good at what they teach — communicating. They are some of the most interesting and entertaining professors I have had, and they are always willing to chat with you, help you or further clarify something.
8. Broad Curriculum
There aren’t many required classes for communication majors, which has its perks as well as drawbacks. Because communication is such a broad field, students in the major have the opportunity to choose a path of study that suits their interests and pursuits. This can be incredibly freeing, but at the same time, nerve wracking. Personally, having to face the real world soon and not knowing what I want to do, I’m still hoping something in this wonderful major and field will jump out at me.
Disclaimer: I’m not am not writing this to say communication is a particularly hard major or to defer people from choosing it as their major (everyone should); I am simply saying it can be just as hard as the rest. However, if you have the skillset to do it, you will have no problem, and you’ll also have the professors to help you along the way. I have absolutely loved my time as a communication major, and wouldn’t have it any other way. This major sets you up for success in a wide range of careers, and strong communication skills are necessary in any professional field. If you love writing, reading, creating and collaborating, communication is the field for you!
Written By: Claire Harvin