Communicating with the Comm Major: A Letter to 20-year-old Me by Micheline Ludwick
When I set off for college back in ye olden days, I wanted to study something that would allow me to write. I knew I liked writing, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity I could make a living off of it. Should I major in English? Well, maybe, but I was told that most English majors ended up being teachers and I didn’t see myself teaching because, in my immature state, I simply viewed teaching as having homework for life. Despite (or maybe because of?) my mom being a brilliant teacher. Journalism then? Hmm, I was going to UCSB (Go Gauchos!) and they didn’t offer a Journalism major. Okay, then Communication it is!
But I didn’t fully realize this major wasn’t your standard Communications Studies that covered journalism and advertising copywriting like at most universities. It was Communication, singular. Essentially the science of communicating, whether it be interpersonal, nonverbal, mass, or organizational. It was a like a very niche sociology full of theories and data collection and analysis. Not quite what I had envisioned for myself.
I thought about several other majors briefly. Sociology. Film Studies. Women’s Studies. Spanish. And while I enjoyed classes in each of these fields, none of them presented a palatable future to me. I liked Sociology, but did I like it enough to get a PhD in it? Film Studies allowed for all kinds of fun fantasizing, but there was no way I wanted to live in LA to pursue that career. And so on down the line.
So little ol’ indecisive me stuck with Communication because I didn’t know what else to do. And I did enjoy the classes. Particularly Intercultural Communication taught by a professor named Sunwolf who had us sit in a circle with the lights out, our faces lit by candles, and tell ghost stories passed down from our friends and relatives who came from different countries. Good times.
Oh, how I miss those days when being unsure about my major seemed, like, so stressful.
If I could write a letter to my 20-year-old self, I would tell her to grab a veggie dog and relish that time. Savor it as much as possible. Your main objective is to soak up your environment — your classes, your friends, the parties, the sun. Free time spread out as wide as the sunset, seemingly darkened by “I-should-be-studying” guilt, but still an ENORMOUS amount of free time compared to my life now. Bathe in it, baby.
A little Communication ends up going a lot farther than you could imagine. Both personally and professionally. You may not end up wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, but you will find infinite riches in your relationships. And keep communicating via mixtapes because music may never sound better to you than it does right at this moment in your life. Just stop worrying. It is okay to be unsure about your career goals, but you may want to start writing that young adult fiction series about witches and wizards sooner than later.
P.S. Your 20-year-old body rocks and you should wear mini-skirts and bikinis more often.