Like many students, I was uncertain regarding what I wanted to study and what I wanted to do after college. I decided on communication because I knew it would give me a broad education and a wide spread of skills that could be used in many different professions. I loved writing in high school and wanted to further learn how to craft messages for different audiences and purposes, because I believe with any job you end up with in the future, being able to write well is key. I also looked forward to all the possible opportunities communication would provide because there are little limitations with what you can do with a communication major.
The CSB/SJU communication major is unique because of the variety it ensures. Other schools offer specific mass communication, theory or rhetorical majors, whereas CSB/SJU allows you to study all three of these areas within one major, providing a well-rounded education. As a communication major it is mandatory to take a class in each of these areas to explore the different educational and career opportunities within communication. After those three exploratory classes you are open to take classes in each of the three sub-disciplines. I enjoy the variety and feel prepared to handle multiple areas of communication.
For students on the fence about being a communication major, I would encourage them to take a class and see if it is something you enjoy. If you have already taken a class, then start thinking about what you are passionate about, what you enjoy doing and how you prefer to spend your class time. Communication classes are very discussion and application oriented. Everything that is discussed and presented in class can be directly applicable to my everyday life, which is what made me fall in love with communication.
The highlight of my college career has been the experiences I have had outside of the classroom that closely link to what I learn inside the classroom. Two specific opportunities I have been fortunate to have that link to my communication classes was being the public relations intern for the Saint John's Abbey and the manager for Johnnie Bennie Campus News. As the public relations intern for the Saint John's Abbey, I wrote several feature stories about the monks of the Saint John's monastery and controlled the Abbey's Instagram account. As the Johnnie Bennie Campus News manager, I act as the executive producer for campus weekly news episodes. This position has taught me a lot about leadership, crafting messages for news, communication with others and professionalism. It is important to attend and participate in class, but it is also important to apply what you are learning in class in a real life situation. At CSB/SJU, there are many opportunities to get involved.
I have had two big challenges during my time at CSB/SJU. First, I had to adapt to the transition from high school to college. In my first year, I wasn't necessarily doing as well as I did in high school. So, I made it a priority to work harder than I was used to and to practice good study habits.
The second challenge I am still trying to overcome is the essence of not having enough time in the day. At CSB/SJU I have found myself wanting to say yes to everything and then feeling overwhelmed. Instead of being involved in everything, I settled on three extracurricular activities that I enjoy and am passionate about, and I dedicate the majority of my time to these activities and my school work.
After my first year at CSB/SJU, I participated in a May term study abroad experience to Brazil. This experience impacted me more than I could have ever imagined. I traveled with three other students and our faculty leader, which made the trip itself very unique. I was able to experience the cultural differences and make the most out of my time abroad.
I will also be studying abroad in Segovia, Spain during the spring semester of my junior year. As a double major in communication and Hispanic studies, it is crucial to study abroad to help improve my Spanish speaking skills. I look forward to this longer study abroad experience and hope to explore the different ways in which my communication major will come into play since cultures interact and communicate differently.
I am the manager for Johnnie Bennie Campus News (JBCN), a student representative on the Saint Ben's Senate and a mentor through Big Brother Big Sisters.
During summer 2016, I interned at Cargill Animal Nutrition as a communication intern. This once in a lifetime opportunity gave me the chance to put what I have been learning in class to action. After a summer of crafting messages for internal and external audiences across multiple platforms, assisting the creation of a new company culture book, organizing an event for top leaders and being exposed to a the company's website reboot, I was enthralled with the communication opportunities within a business and the corporate world. My internship helped me realize how important it is to disseminate effective, efficient and clear messaging within a business. I anticipate using my communication degree in this fashion because I believe it will expose me to more than just communication but also other areas of a business.