The Graduate: Majoring in Communications

majoring in communications

Emily majors in Communications at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY

The Graduate is a new blog feature considering college majors, graduate school, and a look into career options beyond higher ed. Are you a college or graduate student who wants to be featured next? Tweet us @PetalAndSass or email petalandsass@gmail.com for more information!

Name: Emily Morley

College: Ithaca College, ’16

Major: Integrated Marketing and Communications

How did you choose the college you now attend, and what factors influenced your decision? When I was attending boarding school I was heavily involved in the crew team, so it was only natural that I wanted to row in college. I knew I didn’t want the intensity of a D1 program so I applied to D3 programs in New York. I also didn’t know what I wanted to major in when I was applying and Ithaca College has a specific major called Exploratory that is designed to help incoming freshmen decide on a major. Both of these factors came into play when I was applying and choosing colleges.

Did your decision on what to major in change over time? Entering college I was “undecided,” where I took random classes and freshmen requirements to see if anything sparked an interest. My sophomore year I thought I wanted to be an Occupational Therapist, so I took classes that catered to this major. After one semester of these classes I figured out this was not the major for me. My roommate then told me to look into the communications program, and that is where I found the Integrated Marketing and Communications major. I took classes like Presentation Media and Design where we worked on Photoshop and Strategic Communication and fell in love with the major.

What other factors went into your decision? Is there a particular career you hope to gain with your degree? I was looking for a major that could allow me to express my very creative side, but also be practical. I am a very organized person, so I needed something with structure and plans to entertain these needs. Being an art major would have been my ideal dream, but I knew it wasn’t practical for me. A major in communications allows me to be creative while also being strategic. I hope to gain a career in advertising in the strategic creative department or social media design and strategy.

What do you enjoy most about the classes in your field? What is the hardest aspect? I enjoy the intense, yet care free, vibe of my major. The Park School of Communications is one of the best communications schools in the country, so there are a lot of serious graphic designers and copy writers, but also a lot of laid back creative types. Being in a classroom with so many creative minds inspires you to work harder to be the MOST creative, and to come up with the most unique strategy. That is what I would say is also the hardest part: being unique with limited resources and ideas.

What type of person would you say excels in your academic field? Someone who is edgy, creative, out of the box, likes to sit with a bottle of wine and a doodle pad, appreciates rainy days to sit inside but also sunny days to explore. Quiet thinkers but also loud, exuberant individuals.

Have you participated in any related internships or summer jobs? I was a marketing intern two summers ago at a studio called The Ink Shop in Ithaca, NY. This was a print making studio and store where artists could come and use the facilities and equipment but also sell their artwork. I helped out with marketing for events and workshops that happened throughout the summer.

What’s next? Do you plan to attend graduate school, or can you enter work in your field straight out of college? As of right now I am focusing on my rowing career, which is very exciting and terrifying at the same time. But, after (or during) that I would like to jump into the marketing world.

What advice would you give a high school student or college freshman about choosing a major? Wait. There is no need to jump into a major during your freshman year, because there is no way you know exactly what you want to do! Give yourself some time to explore many different classes, because you do have time. Also, realize that your major does not dictate what you have to do for the rest of your life, so pick a major where the classes interest you rather than because you want a specific undergrad certificate.

What advice would you give younger students about college life in general? It’s so cliche, but try everything. Tryout for any club that interests you, because you grow so much in college. Something that sparks an interest during your freshman year might link you to a career that you do for the rest of your life. Also, don’t be ashamed to sit alone in the dining hall or student center… it actually makes you look like an upperclassmen.

Interested in learning more about potential careers in communications? Check out Web Designer and Communications Associate, Caitlin Garzi, in her recent Role Call interview.

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