Dear Prospective Comm Majors,
Before you decide to get into Communication Arts, there is something you should know.
You will never look at anything, and I mean anything, the same way again.
Once you start taking classes and learn about different theories on whether or not we shape society or society shapes us, you are completely doomed. The class that really messed me up was Communication Theory. It’s where I was introduced to the idea that it was possible we weren’t in control of well, anything, in terms of society and culture.
In response to my discomfort, I surrendered in the face of denial and refused to accept that it could be any other way. It didn’t take long for me to warm up to bat though. The more I learned, the more accepting I became, and the more my position shifted. Next thing I knew, I was on the opposite end of the spectrum. I couldn’t tell you how many times I changed my mind. When the class ended though, I finally found my placement and knew where I stood and why.
I was stranded in the middle. Because though the media may initiate and create trends, images, expectations, etc., we still are the ones that allow it to be effective and spread. And essentially, though we refer to it as media, we really are the ones behind it.
Media is us. So the truth is, I don’t fully believe one has complete control over the other, and for some reason, I thought I had to choose a side. But, it turns out, I didn’t. Though these theories surprised me at first, I allowed myself to explore the unknown and learned how to think independently. As a Comm Arts major, be prepared to do that.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect to go into Communication Arts and not be challenged; do not expect to walk out of the classroom with the same perspective you walked in with; and certainly, under no circumstances, should you expect not to be forced to think outside of the box.
There are no confined walls in our world. It’s important that you are aware of what you’re getting yourself into, and to know that you the material you learn in class will undoubtedly leak to the outside. Your vision, sense of awareness, and creativity will enhance.
You should also know that as a Comm Arts major, you will feel the need to break down every source of media within your reach. The lessons you learn change your perspective so dramatically that you have no choice but to do so. And your friends may not understand it, but you’ll do your best to explain that you’re tearing apart all of their favorite TV shows, magazines, and brands, because before you entered this new world, you felt like you were living in oblivion. How could you allow others to live without being aware of such ideas and theories on society, culture, and media?
The answer is, you can’t. So embrace it, don’t fear it. It’s called passion. And that’s what this field is about. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you. 🙂
P.S. That show you watch every day? You’re going to rip it apart, scene by scene. You will find every stereotype, reference, and representation possible. And that magazine or newsletter you read daily? Ha! That’s even worse because it’s not a moving picture and you have all the time in the world to analyze it. And I highly suggest don’t even try to watch an award show without Comm Arts majors by your side, because people will look at you like you’re crazy… But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. You’re going to enjoy your new life as a Comm Arts Major.