Tag Archives: college majors

Communication Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
Tags: , , , , ,

How the heck did they come up with such a system, and why does it work so well?

by PinkMoose

My major in college was communication. The first question people used to ask me after hearing that that was my major is “What is communication?” And typically my response was “I have no idea.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the word. The issue was more that the subject of communication is so all-encompassing that crafting a one-sentence response seemed a little daunting. It’s very different from being asked, “What is biology?” to which I could respond, “It’s the study of life” even though I haven’t taken biology since 2006. Every professor I had in the communication department had a different definition for what the major was – no two could agree on a definition.

Before I graduated from college last May, I thought I would take a stab at defining what communication meant to me. After having completed the major, I felt I was in a position to clarify the term.

So here is my definition: Communication is the conveying of thoughts and ideas through the manipulation of symbols. Symbols are arbitrary concepts that are created by their users but which nonetheless help create a unified social reality.

Why did I want to study a field that seems so arbitrary and potentially unfocused? Precisely because it is those things! And it interests me deeply that while the term “communication” might mean something different to every single person on this planet, to survive, we humans have learned to use its symbols – both verbal and nonverbal – to connect with one another.

Maybe the real question we should be asking about communication is how the heck did we come up with such a complex system and why does it work so well?

What does communication mean to you? I look forward to reading your comments.

By Guest Blogger Rachel Freeman I SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY: Creative, outgoing, detail-oriented. Undergrad degree – cum laude – in communications. Currently pursuing a master’s in broadcast and electronic communication arts. Currently Social Media Consultant at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Not-so-secret passion: Baseball (go, San Francisco Giants!).

View Comments | Add a Comment

Picking My Major

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
Tags: , , , , ,

BookRenter Andy

by bixentro

At my university, students chose a major at the end of the first semester of their sophomore year. Choosing majors came smack in the middle of final exams, so students often wait until the last minute to make their selection (not recommended). I chose Political Economy. Looking back on it now, I think it’s funny how I ended up in with my major. I started out as Classics major taking classes in Latin and Ancient Greek as well as Roman and Greek History.

I remember going to class one day early sophomore year and realizing there were only going to be 10 or 11 Classics majors, and all of them were better at Latin than I was. At that moment  I  realized I needed out of Classics. That’s right, I transferred to a major with more people out of pure cowardice. So I wandered into the registrar’s office, probably having given my major not much more thought that day than you can get over a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats, and declared Political Economy, a hybrid liberal arts major that sounded nice and academic.

Political Economy as my major was really not a dramatic decision to make.  I enjoyed all of the Politics classes I had taken. {Flashback alert} I remember one class in particular called POL 397 National Security. In addition to having a great reading list and awesome course material, it was taught by a professor who played Styx before class and made fun of people sitting in the front row. Oh yeah, and for the icing on the cake, his nickname was “the Bassmaster”. How could you not love it?

Anyway, I thought I should add a little practicality to round out my major, so I tacked on the economics. Ask BookRenter Mike about economics if you need the low down.

In the end, it shouldn’t matter too much which major you choose; if you like the subject, that’s what counts. Pick something you enjoy doing, then graduate and continue your domination of life’s challenges.

Comment on our blog and be entered in to win one of our weekly coffee giveaways. Each winner will receive a $10 gift card, to Starbucks. Winners will be chosen at random and announced each Wednesday.

View Comments | Add a Comment