Props to you, fellow student and blogger! I just read an amazingly encouraging blog post (which you can check out here: Why It Rocks to Be a Communication Major).
Since declaring my major in Communication Studies, I’ve gotten all sorts of absurd responses. Everything along the spectrum from, “That’s great! Such flexibility!”, to “Uhh, but what do you do with that?” (as if the major has some ridiculously negative social stigma, psh).
In all reality, this blogger stated the facts perfectly; it is more about the great things you can achieve with the wide flexibility range of this major, then what you can not do. Employers want educated people with social communication skills, written skills, and the ability to think critically. Communication majors excel in these areas, therefore providing more adaptable learning capabilities.
Regardless of your major, if you think you will procure all the knowledge necessary to jump into a job without having to learn anything new, you are dead wrong. On-the-job training is a necessity, regardless of your education. Starting at the base up (with forms of communication and critical thinking) will aid you in your abilities to more effectively learn these on-job tasks.
In summation, it does rock to be a Communication major!
Recently, I have been thinking about my love of writing. It has been an ever-present thought in my mind the past few weeks, which has led me to declare a minor in Professional Writing here at Kutztown University. I know at this point you’re all admiring my punny title for this post… you’re welcome.
It’s enrollment season; the time when students stress themselves out by struggling to focus on choosing new classes for the following semester, while trying to not drown in the sea of final projects and exams in their current classes. It’s a wonderful time, especially when attempting to coincide schedules with a very busy advisor. Nonetheless, I managed to meet with my advisor and discuss my goals for completing my time here at Kutztown. While I was weary about declaring the minor, he urged me to go for it and test the waters. This is exactly what I intend on doing. Hopefully, I begin my courses in the fall… fingers crossed on that one.
In other news, the Special Olympics are coming up on May 2nd. I applied to volunteer, and due to some complications, I’ve yet to know which area I’ll be working; but I am so excited. This is a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and give back to the community. I’ve always wanted to give volunteering a try… but in my hometown, it is nearly impossible. I’m looking forward to this opportunity and to taking advantage of the resources this school has to offer. 🙂
Locating a professional to interview was the most difficult part of the process for me. I began by conducting internet searches for someone in the field of Communication, but my searching mostly resulting in job titles with vague descriptions, with no names attached to them. At this point, I narrowed my search; I started looking for Speech-Language Pathologists within a twenty mile radius. This, too, proved very difficult. While I did find the names and addresses of actual people, finding an email address was nearly impossible. I had been discussing the project with a friend of mine, who then told me her brother regularly sees a speech therapist, and that she would provide me with her email address. I was incredibly excited, until she failed to respond. It was at this point that my dad stepped forward and provided me with the phone number of a friend of his, Ms. Katie Exis, who had said she would be more than willing to sit down with me and discuss her career. I gave her a call, and left a voicemail asking for 15 minutes of her time to sit down and chat about her career, and she agreed to meet up with me for coffee.
According to Katie, good communication skills are necessary for someone looking to succeed in this career. She loves the opportunity to with children and the flexibility of the job. She noted that the only real downside is doing paperwork, which altogether, is not that much of an issue for her. She gave me many insights into this career, and has significantly sparked my interest.
In doing this informational interview, I have gained another network. Before we left, she made sure I knew that I could contact her at any point down the road if I am struggling or seeking answers. While conducting this Informational Interview was nerve-wracking at first, it turned out to be a very positive experience.
When I was a freshman in college, I began to notice an on-going trend. It seemed to me that people where overly-curious in what I wanted to do. It felt like everywhere I went and everyone I talked to had to mention this. Whether is one of my aunts, someone I had randomly run into at the grocery store, or my friend’s dad’s cousin’s nephew (you get the point!). To me, it seemed odd that small talk had all of a sudden transformed into something that was so personal. Little did I realize then, that career goals are as personal as I once thought.
Having no idea what direction I wanted to gear my life, I began to get very frustrated each time someone inquired about my goals. Something need to be done, and I acknowledged that I couldn’t diagnose my dream career overnight… but I could invent a view for the public eye and all those distant connections who where just so interested and concerned for me (uhuh).
This is what I did. I had read about the field of Speech-Language Pathology. While I didn’t see this as my “dream” career, but I could envision myself excelling in this field. Plus, this would give myself more time to explore all my options. From this moment on, I began to tell everyone who inquired that I wanted to be a speech therapist. In turn, I began to believe this myself until I realized one day that I had almost no background knowledge on the field! I know, that is ridiculous… But at this point I only had learned a brief overview of the field and my own personal impressions and expectations.
Recently I conducted research on the field, and while I still don’t feel an overwhelming passion for this field, I do believe I could do well. Enough of the backstory. You’re probably wondering “where is this girl going with all this?” Am I right? Here’s an article I found particularly great! Yes, that’s it.
Read it. (10 Awesome Reasons Why Being a Speech Therapist Rocks)
Although I was first introduced to the Career Development Center (CDC) last year, I didn’t really take advantage of it until now. I really don’t think people know all of the great services they offer! Recently, I’ve been investing a decent amount of time working on my professional development. Over the past few weeks, I have attended several workshops offered by the CDC, and they really have opened my eyes into the great possibilities out there. I am currently working on completing the CDC’s Career Exploration Certificate. I have an appointment with one of the Career Counselors in a few days. I have high hopes for this meeting.
I also have a working resume! I know, how exciting… There is a career fair coming up on April 2nd; although I am a sophomore, I think I will go. I think it would be a good experience to just walk around and see all the different organizations coming out to network with students.
Through all of this, I’ve realized that I’ve been stressing myself out about not having a targeted-goal career. I think what I need is to take more time to explore my options, and do this thoroughly and to the fullest extent. Walking each day worrying about my future will only make me miserable. Instead I should channel this energy into utilizing the resources around to me to fully explore my options.
Last night I attended an event on campus called the Business Writing Roundtable. Eight successful professionals from the Lehigh area sat before me and shared how much of an impact writing has had in their careers. Additionally, they all told us their backstories and how they got where they are now. I was fascinated to discover that most of these successful men and women in front of me had not pursued a career in the field they studied in school. This was comforting to me.
Another main focus of conversation was on networking. You constantly hear people in the business world refer to “networking”. College professors, scholarly journals, advice articles, and so many others have been telling me that networking is everything. We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know”. Yet somehow, I hadn’t really gotten the point. Who do I “network” with? Where? How? Would they be willing to talk to me? and if so, would it even help me out with anything? Why is this so important? I just didn’t get it; it didn’t click. One panelist mentioned something about networking and the room of college students (myself included!) just blinked at them; this sparked an outrage. They begun by asking how many of us network, have a mentor, a business card, or a LinkedIn account. They proceeded to tell us that we should have done all of things in high school, but now is not too late to begin.
Here’s my takeaway… Networking isn’t the formal, scary process that I (and others students alike) imagined it too be. It is ultimately powerful socialization. When you meet someone new, shake their hand and inquire about their professional interests and goals. Share yours with them as well. Ask them to grab a cup of coffee with you sometime. It doesn’t need to be an extensive meeting, and you shouldn’t have any goals going in. It is a 15-20 sit-down focused on meeting and discovering another person’s goals so that one day, perhaps you can assist each other in your careers. You never know who knows who, and there is power in numbers.
In summary, it is important to have goals. It’s also perfectly fine if those goals change. But always be prepared for new opportunities and be actively seeking new connections. Never be afraid to request a cup of coffee.
Today in my Writing for the Workplace class we did Mock Job Interviews. The class was split into groups of two, of which the groups took turns playing the interviewer and interviewee. We were provided a list of sample questions (shown here) and were told to scan for a moments to prepare. I begun as the interviewee; although these types of situations usually having me shaking due to nerves, I was stunningly composed. I felt beyond capable of handling this assignment, although I had only mildly toyed with answers in my brain. Yes, I will admit that I was unprepared… but the confidence radiating out of me told a different story.
Calmly striding up to my interviewer, I smiled, introduced myself, shook his hand, and sat (after he allowed me to do so). As expected, he probed me for my career goals, strengths, weakness, and such. It was at about this point in the conversation that he had realized he hadn’t even discovered my major. Staring directly into my eyes, he inquired. I simply and factually stated that I was a Communication Studies major, to which he responded similar to how many people have responded in the past…“Why?” After almost no consideration, I began providing a response that felt natural, but I had never before cognitively processed or said aloud. It turned out as this:
I truly believe the basis of human existence as we know it would not exist without the art of communication. It is fundamental, and it exists in every part of every day. Whether it is nonverbal body language, written words, or spoken language, it’s there constantly. It is the sole outlier of everything we do. I believe that in order to effectively complete other tasks, we need to excel in the art of communicating. If you start at the baseboard, it’s much easier to work upward. That is why I chose Communication Studies as my major.
When I had finished, there was a silence. Although I couldn’t begin to guess what he was thinking, I sat there stunned that those words had come out of my mouth. What was more astonishing to me, however, was the truth behind them; I truly believed this, and I had all along.