“Don’t you guys just watch movies all day?” is usually the response I get when I tell others that my field of study is Media and Communications. It seems the struggles of science and math based majors are broadcasted and made fairly straightforward to others the hardships of their programs. Don’t get me wrong, they sound extremely difficult; but why not shed some light on what it’s REALLY like to be a COMM major. I would like to start by clearing up that we definitely do NOT watch movies all day.
As communication is a key part of everyday life, much of what you learn as a COMM major is very applicable to your own personal situations. I constantly find myself trying to “read” people, paying closer attention to body language, tone of voice and even what words they chose to express themselves. These are all things you might take into consideration when deciding if someones message was genuine, or if they were indirectly trying to get a message across by trying to be polite. Sound like useful skills to have? They really are! Except for when you find yourself thinking for twenty minutes about small talk you had with the cashier at the grocery store.
Considering that most of your communication today happens online and more specifically, via smartphone devices, applying your COMM major reaches far beyond a simple face to face conversation. For instance, more then ever am I trying to decode my text messages. What do one word replies really mean? If someone uses a period in their text: are they professional or mad? Do late responses mean they’re busy or uninterested? There are many norms and codes in the world of digital communication and us COMM majors are very likely to take them into consideration. For me, reading between the lines is basically automatic, done almost without recognition.
For Media and Communications majors especially, viewing media such as television, movies, advertisements etc, will never be the same. It becomes almost difficult to just be a passive viewer. Many COMM majors will almost subconsciously think about perhaps type of audience the media was intended for, what it’s trying to say or convince them to do, or how it’s suppose to make them feel and ultimately, if it’s working. Does this mean studying media has ruined watching movies forever? Absolutely not. If anything I appreciate them more and find its easier to pick out their deeper meanings. There are still tears during sad movies and fear during horror films, just a better understand of how the film made me feel this way.
When asked if I like my major, my reply is always that I love it. It has brought a whole new perspective to many different social situations. I find it almost comical sometimes, when I think I know why my friends act or say things in a specific way. With a major so relevant to everyday life, the learning reaches far beyond the classroom without realization!