It is rewarding and a fun journey to achieve a Bachelors Degree in Communication Studies. However, it is not as easy task. It fact, it can be a challenge. First, because you have to explain everyone what communications really is about; second, because it is a very broad degree; and third, because somehow we feel obliged to apply what we have learned every day.
Every time that someone asks me what I am studying and I tell them Communication Studies they nod their head and say “That’s good.” However, in less than a minute they ask me what communications is. My response it is not always the same. Depending on who asks, then I will respond. I usually say, “Communications Studies is about understanding how we communicate to one another. It is about knowing your audience so you can send the right message to inform or persuade orally or in writing.’’
By the time I have given my definition some people are actually smiling but then their nonverbal messages tell me that they still see no use in what I just said. So, I say; “Well, is a degree that we can use in any field where it is crucial to have good relationships. For example, I could work in sales, human resources, fundraising, in the news, or even planning events.” After I say this I usually get even more questions, but now more in a friendly way and people usually tend to disclose more about themselves too. As the Coordinated Management of Meaning that says it is through conversations that people construct meanings of the social work; those people who had no idea of what this career was all about, they will know have an actual image of what communication involves.
Communication Studies is a real challenge because it is a broad degree. There are many paths that we can take with it. This is good because then you have the opportunity to explore and try different jobs. However, having a broad degree might lead to career confusion. You really need to have a specific idea of what you are going to do with it unless you want to lose your valuable time exploring instead of applying your knowledge and getting new skills.
In my classes, I learned about the different approaches, demographics, ideologies, target audience, kinesics, gender communication, acculturation, corporate communication, cultivation theory, encoding, decoding, market communication, love portrayals, and the list can go on for pages. I learned about many theories and terms that I might not remember or use them all, but there is one term that I will never forget because of its everyday value. It is called Frame of Reference. During my second year in college I took a speech, and since the first day of class, our teacher told us to remember this term because it was one of the most important in communication. Now, more than two years later, I can say that it was true.
Those two words can actually summaries what this career is all about. In communications, “frame of reference” is our unique set of values, customs, experiences, and knowledge from which we perceive and react to the world. Our teacher told that frame of reference is like our fingerprints and that there are not two sets of them. She told us that every time we see someone have to imagine them having FOR (frame of reference) tattooed in their forehead. This way, we would understand them and respect them for who they are no matter how they are. So, those who have a studied communications and do not apply this term; then they learned nothing. Understanding and embracing diversity is the only way we can succeed in this field. Our messages always have an impact. That is the reason why I believe it is important to make sure we send it the right way to avoid conflict. Not taking the time to stop and think about our audience’s frame of reference can create communication problems that will prevent us from having good relationships in the corporate world.
Finally, challenge or not I am proud to earn a Communication Studies Degree. I do not mind explaining one or ten thousand people what my degree involves. If it is broad, I do not mind exploring. However, I do have specific ideas to where I would like to do with my career. Also, at the end of the day I do feel obliged to learn something new every day, to have talked to different “frame of references,” and to try to avoid communication problems at school, work, or home. I am sure that what I have learned will not only help me succeed professionally, but also personally; that is why I love my degree.