Written by: Heather Matley

It took less than a year into my secondary education before I figured out my major wasn’t the right one for me.

I came into Chapman as a journalism major, with a journalism scholarship.  My entire high school career was spent in a yearbook room, and it was something that I absolutely loved through all four years. Naturally, journalism felt like the natural next step. By the end of the first semester, however, I realized that I was looking for a more diverse skillset from my major. I started looking for additional minors to add to my program. But, the more I looked, the more I realized that what I really wanted was a whole new program that would allow me to make my journalism background a minor.

When I returned from studying abroad in New Zealand in the Fall of 2015, I’d done my research and decided on a brand new major: strategic and corporate communication. I was able to turn my previous major into a completed English minor, and even had room to take on an image/text interface minor. With all three of these programs, I was nervous about completing everything within four years. However, thanks to the amazing support and guidance professors in the communication school, I was able to finish a semester early.

This meant that I had time to pursue one of my longtime passions: travel. I took three months during the winter that I graduated early from and traveled across Asia and Europe. Then, when I returned home, I began my job hunt. Within a month of hard work, using all the communication classes and workshops that the school of communication hosted, I landed a job I was thrilled for. I started as a Content Marketing Strategist at Shutterfly, Inc. in May 2018.

I can absolutely credit my Chapman education for helping me stand out during the interview process. I remember describing my work on the original design of the Rethink Campaign materials with Dr. Sara Labelle. I also remember using the verbal communication skills that I workshopped through my entire college career during the interview. And thanks to the flexibility of my major that allowed me to take my image/text interface minor, my paired art portfolio helped me stand out as a versatile worker.

I’ve now worked at Shutterfly for five months and produced over 50 pieces of content. I apply my journalism background, learned communication theories, and custom graphics assets in almost every piece of produced content. Being able to completely use my major and minors in a career (–that before entering the workforce I didn’t even know existed) is so fulfilling. It’s proven that seeking out an education that’s fulfilling, rather than what you think might be good for employment, will always pay off in the end.

It’s also given me the confidence to tackle new and exciting projects. Two months ago I built and launched my own travel website and blog called said(a)broad. It highlights adventures from my study abroad experience, my independent travels, and incredible experiences within California. It combines my education in the workforce and in college and enables me to explore marketing theories on a much smaller and more versatile scale.

I’m now fully employed, enjoying a fast-paced career in writing, traveling in my spare time, and living in my favorite place in the world. The School of Communication may have not been the only factor that got me here, but it was a huge part of facilitating my ability to get there on my own. I’m so grateful for my time as an SCC major and for the amazing professors at Chapman, and can’t wait to see where my education takes me next.