When I first swapped majors from English to Communications, I was initially greeted with some very immediate and disturbing reactions from peers. What surprised me most, was the notion that Communications majors “don’t have homework” or “aren’t a practical major“. Now that I am graduated, have a job, and spend weekends at home, I finally have the free time to address this issue. Politely. Sort of. (This is going to be a long one folks)
In college, there are essentially two types of Communications majors; the ones who swap because they deem it an ‘easy‘ major, and those that genuinely realize it’s what they want to do. I was of the latter category. From there, those who actually care about it often shoot off into subcategories like Film, Media, Journalism, Photography, Radio, etc. Overwhelmingly, I’ve observed that those who pursue one subcategory tend to gain experience in all the others by default; communications studies are inherently interconnected.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that in today’s fast-paced environment, employers don’t just want the ‘traditional’ majors: developers/coders, social media mavens, and multi-platform journalists are all hot items. However, most students studying communications are looked down upon for being ‘less academic‘. Why is that?
In a book I read recently, The Digital Divide (edited and introduced by Mark Bauerlein, infamous author of The Dumbest Generation), contributor Marc Prensky introduces the concept of ‘digital natives‘. To be concise (and save you time and patience) he argues that today’s society has developed a new ‘language’ and that those who do not adopt this new language are ‘digital immigrants‘. Boil that down and simplify a bit and the bottom line is, traditional majors are becoming outdated unless they also learn Communications skill sets. I could cite countless other examples of the effect of communications tech, but you should really just read the book.
So if you are a current student at any college or university studying Communications and someone tells you that your major isn’t “useful” or going to get you a job, consider this article and handing them a copy The Digital Divide (its pretty cheap on Amazon).
Please, comment away 🙂
Author’s Note: I am not against traditional majors, and this post does not reflect the ideas or ideology of any corporate entity.