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Minnu’s Minute: Being A Communication Major On Campus

When I was a student in my university, my mentors and professors wouldn’t stop emphasizing on the value of taking advantage of everything that a university offers in and outside of the classroom. So, I will say the same thing to you; as a student, don’t forget to utilize all the resources that can help you learn and strengthen your knowledge and skills in your major. That being said, what does it entail to be a communication major on campus? Here are some of my suggestions as to what you can do on campus as a communication major.
Taking Courses:  It goes without saying that you need to take the required courses to complete your major. There are other courses that you have the autonomy to select. Think about the following aspects when you make a decision about selecting those courses:
a)      There are many specializations within the communications major that consists of advertising, public relations, journalism, broadcasting and so on.  If you are unsure of which field interests you, then dip your feet in all diverse areas of communication to find out what will interest you the most.
b)     Explore the internships and job positions in your interest area in communication and look into the skill requirements in most of the firms. Then make a decision on the communication course that helps you acquire the respective knowledge and the skill.
Doing research projects: Many students assume that research can be done only in science related subjects.  Research can be done in any field of study. If you are curious or interested in research on different aspects of communications, then look into what research your professors are doing and spend some parts of your semester or your summer doing research with them.
Getting an internship: I know, I know. You have heard this a million times. And I am going to shamelessly reiterate the importance of putting your theory into practice. And what better way to do it other than spending your time completing an internship or internships! My friend Ashlee bagged her first internship after her freshman year with DreamWorks Production as a strategic communications analyst. She always advised her juniors to go to the career center in their first year, brainstorm with the advisors there and start building their resume.
Studying Abroad:  As the world becomes more and more globalized and interconnected, communication will continue to play a vital role.  I know you are already studying abroad in the U.S., but why not take a semester and study/conduct research/do an internship abroad? The opportunity to live in another culture will immediately provide you the chance to increase in cross-cultural communication skills, which is a skill that most employers require in their employees.  As you pursue communication studies and careers, you will most likely be communicating with diverse peoples and communities from around the world, providing you a greater global awareness and therefore cultivating an even greater level of global citizenship.  The opportunities to compare communication between your home culture and that in which you decide to study will add value to your personal, academic, and professional life, and the practical opportunities to apply what you are learning in different cultures – broadcast, advertise, report, present, write, market, etc. – will make you a more competitive candidate for future jobs.
Being active on campus:  Every university has a radios station, a newspaper and a TV channel.  Try to be involved in one or all of these modes of media communication. You can be part of the broadcasting crew or you could be part of the strategic planning that goes into it. And sometimes you even get paid for it! In addition, try to be a member of different student organizations and clubs that are related to your major. In that case, you will be able to meet students that have similar interests as you and you will have the opportunity to brainstorm with them. Make sure you attend alumni events because this would be a very good platform for you to network and understand all the different things you can do with your communication major.
I understand this doing all this work seems overwhelming to you, but once you are in the university you will notice that you will have time to take on such opportunities. In my classes, I would be doing research projects, simulations and group projects and it would fascinate me to see the result when I put all the theories in practice which consequently motivated me to intern, be a research assistant, be a member of student organizations and so on. And I believe that you might experience the same motivation as you learn and grow by maximizing your experience and strengthening your knowledge as a communications major!

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