by Shelly Massre
Deciding on a field of study is not an easy task. Most students come into college not knowing what they want to study, and even change their majors multiple times throughout their four years. When I first started school at UCF, I immediately declared a major that I felt would make me the most successful in my future career: Advertising and Public Relations. After a year of being in a program I was unhappy with, I switched to Human Communication. This was not a huge jump, but I felt relieved to join a program that would offer me more than just skills in one field. Rather than gaining the support of my friends after making this difficult decision, I was met with criticism. I was told that the program is too broad and will ruin my chances of ever having a career. I was concerned about how true this was, and after talking to multiple students on campus, I learned that this belief is widespread. However, once I learned how much information is taught in this program, I realized that Human Communication is an incredible major to declare.
There are a few reasons why I recommend a B.A. in Human Communication. To begin with, it is a great major to declare if students are either unsure as to what they want to study, or have multiple passions they want to pursue. I fell into the former category. I had no idea what I wanted to study or what I wanted to do with my future. All I knew was that I wanted to learn. The Human Communication program has grown since I first started and continues to create courses that prepare students for success. Students are able to study topics like marketing, conflict, health, innovation, and more. Taking a wide range of classes not only keeps you well-rounded, but also shows you skills you never knew you had. In my sophomore year, I took a Business and Professional Communication course which changed who I was in the workplace. I learned how to succeed in interviews, how to perfect my resume, and how to network in the professional world. While this is an unconventional class to take, it taught me everything I needed to know before I started even thinking of applying to internships. Once I finally felt prepared enough, I sent in my application and landed an internship in group sales at a theatre company. From then on, I continued to choose from the variety of classes that my major had to offer.
I have taken classes that taught me things that I never thought I would be interested in, and now I have multiple skills that can be useful to any business. From interpersonal communication to conflict management, these classes teach life skills that can be applied in and out of work. After fully diving into my major, I secured a second internship position in social media and copywriting at a digital marketing agency, a bit different than my previous position in group sales. My employers were impressed with how diverse my resume was and how much I was exposed to in my courses. I was able to apply things that I have learned in class to this internship, which further confirmed how important this major is. Human Communication focuses on more than just one skill; it teaches you a little bit of everything. This way, you have the flexibility to find who you are, what you love, and where you want your career to go. Human Communication students can go in many directions. This B.A. can lead you in the direction of events, advertising, media, web content, and so much more.
I went from not knowing if I had any skills or passions to finding exactly what I want to do in the future. The freedom of choosing different classes allowed me to explore several options. I never felt stuck or tied down to one skill or field. Instead, I feel like an expert in a little bit of everything. I have learned different aspects of social media, public speaking, management, group dynamics—the list goes on. Being a jack of all trades makes you a key component to any company. Who wouldn’t want that?
If the idea of declaring Human Communication as your major is scaring you, fear not. There is a whole team of staff standing right beside you if you ever need anything. There are multiple professors who are more than willing to help students professionally as well as academically. During my junior year I connected with a professor who gave me advice on career choices and even offered to write me a letter of recommendation, something so difficult to come by. This has put me ahead of other candidates when sending in my resume to future employers. The classes I have taken have built so many professional skills for me that I have the flexibility to explore multiple internship positions, even if I do not have the previous work experience they desire. Showing that I have multiple skill sets proves that I am able to provide more than one area of expertise to a company. Going from group sales to social media and copywriting, I found my final position as an undergraduate student. I am finishing off my college experience by working at a radio broadcasting company, another unique position different from my previous work.
I did not have any work experience that led me to this position, but I had the freedom to explore. Being able to try out multiple classes and internships helped me find myself and what I wanted to be. I have found a deep love for the music industry because of this job. Had I not had the opportunity to explore, I may have never found that out.
Having nearly finished this major with three internships and a letter of recommendation has readied me to be working full-time upon graduation. I was told my major would get me nowhere because of how broad it is, yet I have come out of this major with more skills than I could ever imagine and a job that I am incredibly excited to begin. Before you rule out Human Communication, remember that communication is everywhere, and this skill is needed wherever you go. Take the leap, and declare yourself a Human Communication major.