All majors deserve respect

I am a … a … co … I am a comm … OK, I’m a communications major. There, I said it. Laugh if you want. Poke fun if you feel the need. But I am a communications major and I am proud of it.

Last week, I was walking a few paces ahead of a giggly pair of girls. As they swapped the horrors of their science and computer majors and the stringent requirements placed on them, they vehemently agreed that at times like these, “”Don’t you wish you were a comm major?””

I turned to these two absent-minded future geneticists and squinted, and in disgust, I said, “”I happen to love my comm major.”” Both girls quickly shut up.

Much to my dismay, I have noticed that there is a level of disrespect assigned to the communications major. Our sociology or psychology counterparts fare no better.

The communications major may not be the most difficult major in terms of equations and calculations, and it may not be the major guaranteed to be lucrative after its graduates walk, but it does serve an invaluable purpose.

First, the communications department is preparing students for careers in cognitive research, media and advertising amongst a plethora of other professions. Even though the communications curriculum has its flaws, at UCSD, there is no other major that caters to this desire more efficiently. The communications major is preparing students like myself for our prospective careers in the same fashion that, say, computer engineering is training the future computer wizards of America. Two very different professions, but neither is any more or less of a societal necessity.

Furthermore, perhaps communications is a major that people steer toward when still in the deciding phase of their academic career. But these people should not be discounted as completely wishy-washy. They don’t want to sit in front a computer or solve formulas for the rest of their lives. I can hardly knock someone for coming to that conclusion if math or science simply isn’t their forte. Can you?

I recently asked my former roommate, Puneet, why she was suffering through her grueling electrical engineering major if she had such an aversion to its requirements. She looked at me as if I had asked her to run away with me to join the circus. “”Because I want to be rich,”” she replied as she shook her head in an annoyed manner.

Duh. I guess I forgot that money should be the definitive factor that shapes your current life and your future, even if it drives you toward majors that you can’t stand and lands you in a career that saps you of your livelihood. But I’m just a comm major — what do I know?

Puneet is in good company. She is among a myriad of students who do not enjoy their studies but cannot manage to see past the dollar signs when they are engaged in coursework that is unfulfilling and disheartening. My comm major is preparing me for a career in journalism and news media. Upon graduation,I am promised at least a “”hefty”” $25,000 without a signing bonus in sight. Am I considering switching my major to the more profit- garnishing bio-engineering? No. Am I going to be happy doing what I love? Yes.

The girls I encountered while walking to one of my many communications courses should be more pensive when they are making statements within earshot. A leap from whatever majors they are currently in to the communications department would not be advisable. Communications majors typically have to read an average-sized book each week — per course. It is not unusual to have to write three-, four- and five-page comprehensive essays twice a quarter for each class as well. When midterms roll around, we don’t need a scientific calculator but we do need a blue book. A blue book that we are required to fill from cover to cover, in class, demonstrating our mastery of the course material — and, by the way, spelling counts.

When I hear people making degrading comments regarding my major, or psychology, sociology or visual arts programs, I like to respectfully remind them that it takes all professions to make this world go around. The communications major is both easier and more difficult than science-based disciplines, depending on what aspects of the major are being focused on. And perhaps communications majors are not the junior millionaires of America, but how can one quantify job satisfaction?

For the couple thousand communications majors like myself, the decision to study communications came after careful deliberation. On this account, we should be granted long-overdue respect. It may not promise its graduates lots of dollars right away, but in the long run, communications makes more sense.

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