Opinion: Three common myths about communication majors debunked

I can not-so-fondly recall a time last semester when I was talking to a fellow Boston College student who had proudly stated that he was an economics major. When he asked me what my major was and I informed him that it is communication, he snorted and had the audacity to make a comment about how I had it easy. Right to my face.

The idea that my major is easy is just one of the many stereotypes I have heard about the communication major. I recently changed my major to communications and, I have to say, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. That is why I am here to defend my major’s honor.

With that in mind, let’s start with the common myth about communication being “easy.”

While I’ll admit that communication is not the hardest major at Boston College, the idea that it is easy is completely off the mark. It is a reading and writing intensive major and your grades depend heavily on class participation and whether or not you are actually doing the reading.

Furthermore, it requires analytical and critical thinking skills on a daily basis. I was surprised to find out that the Communication Department has an attendance policy that requires a student’s final grade to drop by one letter grade if they miss more than three classes. In general, six absences constitute a failure of the course. In other words, the communication major is not for the lazy, or those of us who are afraid to speak up in class. Your grade will be negatively affected by these traits.

On a related note, I can't spend as much time talking about the "easiness" stereotype as I'd like, because I have both a test and a presentation to prepare for by tomorrow. So there's that.

I’ve also often heard it said that people choose to be communication majors because they have no idea what else to major in. False.

While this may be true for some people, I know a lot of people who are communication majors because they legitimately have strong interests in journalism, advertising, reporting or human communication as a science.

Personally, I chose communication because I have always liked writing and reading. The communication major gives me many opportunities to build on those skills, and opens up various career options in those areas.

Lastly and most ridiculously, there’s the common and very insulting stereotype that communication majors are “dumb.” For starters, Boston College is an elite institution. We all got into this school because we are good students and smart kids in general.

Even putting that aside, I oftentimes find myself really impressed by the insightful comments my fellow communication majors make in class. Even more impressive is the knowledge of my professors who have PhDs in communication; these are very intelligent people with great insight. One of them actually does research in the medical field, studying patient-doctor relations and how they can be improved.

I bring this up, not to impress you, but to demonstrate the relevance of my field to others. Communication is a respectable field that offers a diverse range of intellectual pursuits and, on top of that and most importantly, I have loved all of my communication classes so far.

Courtesy of Kilgub/Flickr

Courtesy of Kilgub/Flickr

All majors are subject to their stereotypes and the communication major is no different. However, I think stereotypes can, in some way, be chalked up to our different interests.

Just because someone prefers communication to Pre-Med doesn’t mean that they are dumb or looking for an easy ride. Regardless of how majors are stereotyped, I think the most important thing is to do what you enjoy and to major in something that mentally stimulates you.

In other words, if you’re studying something that motivates you enough to pack your bag and head to class everyday, you’re doing something right.