When I started my Freshman year in 2012 I was started as a Communications and Japanese double major. Now, in my senior year, I am an English and East Asian Studies double major with a Communications and Film minor. Although the shift was not extreme, the process was long. I started college with a strong case of What-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life-itis. It’s an all too common affliction which affects people the world over. And although I’ve made some gains in fighting the disease, I’ve still got a bit of it in my system (and maybe I always will). But now, about 3 years after switching Communications from a major to a minor, I am seriously considering a career in the field. And this is due, almost entirely, to my internship here with SUNY.
To understand how I got to this point we have to go back to the end of my high school career. I was a relatively high achieving student with only a few vague ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew-up. A writer? A teacher? I’d like to travel? I applied to a bunch of schools (mostly SUNY schools) and when it came time to choose one I was in a near panic. I was never one who liked to limit my options so instead of just one field of study I choose two: Japanese (because I’ve always been fascinated by that culture) and Communications (because that was what a friend of mine was studying and he seemed pretty happy). And that decision brought me to the University at Albany.
Cut to my first communications class, which was a 100 level, and in a huge lecture hall. After a few classes, it turned out I was bored. I liked the professor, but the theories just seemed like common sense for the most part. Of course, this is likely because of its level and position as an introductory course, but as a freshman I just thought, “This is not what I want to do for the rest of my life.” So I switched Communications to a minor in my first semester and took on English instead.
And maybe that would have taken me in an entirely different direction if last summer I didn’t find an internship here with SUNY. I spruced up my resume and my LinkedIn profile and I got the job working in new media for Communications and Creative Services. And finally, for the first time,I understood that outside of academia, communications was not just theories. It was learning to speak for a brand. It was creating content. It was thinking of new ways to tell stories to engage people. And a funny thing happened to my LinkedIn profile. It was suggesting jobs to me I could actually see myself doing. For companies I would actually support. Before this internship, phrases like “applied learning” were just empty buzzwords. But now I understand just how much you can learn by doing.
And I have learned a lot in the time I’ve been here, and it’s not done yet. I now know that I can look towards possible jobs in communications when I begin my career post-college. So if you are afflicted with a case of What-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life-itis, an internship is my prescription. It’ll take you a long way towards figuring out just what it is you’re good at and what you’ll enjoy doing. Studying at SUNY gives you plenty of opportunities to do so with the numerous applied learning initiatives offered throughout the system.
As we approach the last half of the fall semester, start preparing your resume and those applications and get ready to land a great internship for the spring semester.
Kay is a student assistant with the SUNY Office of New Media. She is a University at Albany undergraduate working towards a double major in English and East Asian studies with a double minor in communications and film.