By: Julia Batson, Alumnus ‘15
I can’t tell you how many times in my undergraduate career that I’ve sat in Felix, working my way through a timed quiz, or rushing to finish an assignment, that I wondered where my light at the end of the tunnel would appear.
As a corporate communication major (and someone who was eager to graduate a semester early,) I always had the daunting question thrown at me multiple times a week, which exponentially increased as graduation drew near:
“So, what are you going to do after you graduate?”
Call it fate or call it faith, I thankfully found a job prior to graduation, and I absolutely love it! It’s a great environment, I didn’t have to move far away, and I work in a field I love with amazing coworkers. However, if I could go back in time, there are a few things in my past that I wish I could change in order to aid my current job.
Primarily, there are a few classes that I wish I would have taken or devoted more attention and studying to while at Austin Peay. Sure, I graduated with a great GPA, but did I really learn the material, or memorize the right answer for the grade? Whatever the case, please heed my advice so that you’re not trying to recollect a definition from a class you took five semesters ago.
COMM 3910: Media Relations
While I did devote a lot of time and energy into this course, this is definitely one that every communication student should pay extra attention to. Sure, you may think making a media kit is time consuming, and you don’t see the need in learning about proper communication with clients, but I promise you that in this field, these tools are necessary. Remember how to write these different types of pieces, and keep all of these items for your portfolio. Not only does it help to refresh your memory, but it’ll get your foot in the door for an interview! (Speaking from personal experience.)
COMM 3800: Principles of Media Advertising
Somewhere in the midst of the first day on the job, my boss mentioned how the company analyzes audience engagement and delivery on certain advertisements we create. As he mentioned terms such as “CPM” and “CPE,” this coursework came yelling from the depths of my long term memory, quickly reminding me what these acronyms stood for. While this course is a requirement for my concentration, I feel that every communication student could benefit from this course. I didn’t think that the job I was hired for would deal with advertising at all, but that is about 30-40% of my daily tasks are, even as an entry level employee. Take notes, and save the PowerPoints!
COMM 4920: Portfolio Development
Albeit, this exemption was my fault, considering I decided to take an easy load my last semester, but everyone needs to add this course to their class schedule. You don’t want to be like me and hear of a job opening and not leave your seat for over eight hours because you’re trying to figure out how to create a website. And if you don’t have your assignments and other design work saved? Forget about it – might as well call one of the professors ASAP and ask to be added to their roster.
COMM 3770: Social Media Tactics
Do you think social media is solely for posting your selfies, food, and vacation pictures? Think again. In my everyday work, I am constantly studying social media user behaviors to develop advertising to match their interests, in hopes of providing my clients a higher profit on their product or business. This concept was completely new to me and everything has made more sense to me the more I work in it, but I can’t help but wonder how much more I would have understood if I would have just taken this course. (Again, I let senioritis get the best of me.)
Whether you decide to take my advice or not, I hope this gives you all some hope that you can graduate and find yourself a job that you love going to everyday. I had so many times where I thought this was impossible, but it’s not. As long as you are willing to give something your all and that you are willing to learn, you will get hired. But that type of diligence and work ethic doesn’t begin when you move the tassel from the right to the left – it begins now, and the sooner, the better.