About a month into my first semester at Chapman, I called my dad and asked how it was at home. His response was, “It’s a lot quieter around here…literally.” I have always been a talker and it was no surprise to my parents when I told them I wanted to study communication in college. I was attracted to Chapman University’s Communication Studies major in particular because it integrated theory and practice, required an internship
for credit, and was flexible with other programs of study. I liked that I could start my major on day one but still had the opportunity to add a second major or minor later on if I wanted (plot twist: I ended up declaring two minors and was able to go part-time the spring of my senior year). Communication Studies was the perfect major for my personality but still pushed me outside of my comfort zone.
It was in COM 101, Intro to Public Speaking, that really challenged my perspective on how to speak in front of a large audience and quelled my public speaking fears. My professor used humor to ease our nerves and ALWAYS asked US questions to force us to speak up. He emphasized that a speech is no more than a one-way conversation, and to be a successful presenter is not about memorization but rather knowing your topic so well that you can talk to an audience like you would an old friend. It was this new way of approaching public speaking that I decided to challenge myself further and apply to be a campus tour guide. Fast forward a semester later and I was hired to work for the Office of Admission; the same place where I would later find my future career and calling. I currently work for my alma mater as an Undergraduate Admission Counselor and consistently pull on my skills developed as a Communication Studies major to connect with prospective students and families. I give presentations on a daily, or sometimes hourly, basis. I transition from small group/interpersonal settings to large audiences at the drop of a hat. Needless to say, I use my degree every day on the job.
Now that my current role directly works with prospective and incoming students, I always advise them to pair a program in the School of Communication with something else. For me, having minors in Psychology and Integrated Educational Studies (Chapman’s education program) allowed me to personalize my education and have direct ownership of how my studies lined up with the industry I wanted to pursue. Communication Studies was empowering in this way, and allowed me to use my voice literally and figuratively. I am still the loudest person in my family, but I am sure my parents would agree pursuing a communication program at Chapman was one of the best investments I have made.