Answering the Question: “What is COM Studies?”

By Courtney Busick

I still remember the day I was accepted to UNCW; I jumped up and down and hugged my mom. That day changed my life forever. However, I had no idea what I was going to do. I moved back and forth on what major I wanted, but I knew where my passions were: advertising. I wanted to work in advertising and be as creative as I could be. The business and studio art majors stuck out to me, but I felt a calling towards something different. After searching other programs, I looked into the Communication Studies department. The major offers me both the art and business aspects I was looking for. I told my mom I wanted to study COM, and she looked at me and asked; “what is that?” At that moment, I could not give her a definitive answer of what the major held, but it was what I wanted to do so it had to be great.

Looking back at my journey at UNCW, I was continually asked the same questions; “What is that?” “What are you going to do with that major?” Professors would even prepare us for this question by giving us answers and things we are doing in our classwork. From that day when my mom first asked me to two months out from graduating, I cannot help but think of the different opportunities the COM department has given me. I have changed and learned to understand the study of communication in a new way than when I came. When I think about my answer to the question; “What is COM Studies?” I can answer with a plethora of experiences and life lessons I have found from the department. 

COM Studies opens doors and opens minds

Coming into the Communication Studies department, I was unsure of what I was getting into. I knew they had marketing, and that was what my heart was set on. The more classes I took for the major, the more I opened my mind to what COM offered. I learned that the study of communication was understanding how and why people communicate, and specializations like IMC and broadcasting were ways that exemplified and used this as a foundational skill.

I was able to see this during my trip to Italy with the COM Studies Department over break. We understood the practices and lifestyle of another culture and how that affects their communication with one another. We learned a lot about business and practices that have been in place for many years. I was able to understand more about brand values of wineries and restaurants that have been around for hundreds of years.

COM Studies is a community

I have met some incredible people through the COM department. Each student strives to be their best self and understand the problems in front of them. We are a community because each of us is studying different specializations, but we are all learning and building community with one another because our skills are transferrable within any department or class. The department works to develop strong collaboration skills, so students can understand each other’s strengths and feel bound together by them.

I have worked on many group projects and all have shown me the different styles and strengths of other people. It helps to create a strong project. I have seen this through my IMC classes as well. Each person is assigned a role in the project that showcases their strengths and what they love. We have learned to see how it creates a stronger project and we build community by knowing more about our differences.

Every experience and project I have been a part of in the COM department has allowed me to understand a share with other people my ideas and knowledge to help us solve the problems at hand.

COM Studies changes the world

In COM 105, Dr. Weber teaches us about “Tikkun Olam,” which means contributing to the repair of the world.  Communication Studies can literally and figuratively repair the world. In other classes, I have learned that how you communicate, verbally and non-verbally, affects how you are perceived and the messages that you put out to others. Every choice you make is a communication choice, and it can affect your world and the others around you. In IMC, you learn quickly that the choices you make, matter. How you represent your brand, or a specific issue, will affect how the world sees you. You always have to be cautious about the message you are putting out, how you are putting it out, and who it is for. It can impact your brand and what you want to let the world see.

With weeks left to graduation, I cannot help but wonder back to the moment I decided I wanted to major in Communication Studies. How I felt, what I thought, and the person I would become. The Communication Studies department has helped me grow professionally in understanding different aspects of my world. Now, I can confidently answer the question; “What is Communication Studies?”

(Photo from chabad.org)