In the “How I chose my major” series, we showcase the academic paths CSU students have taken, and students tell their stories in their own words. Read on to meet Natalie, a CSU communication studies major, and learn how she decided comm studies was the perfect fit for her dreams and goals.
Believe it or not, upon beginning my CSU experience, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I didn’t even have a field or area of interest narrowed down. I have always been connected to the arts, with particular passions for saxophone in jazz band in middle and high school, Spanish, and working with kids in a teaching environment, but it felt like too much to have to commit to one program as my major before I tested the waters.
I gave myself grace throughout my freshman year and allowed myself to try a total of five introduction courses from different departments. This was my first time being exposed to areas like anthropology and human development, and they were still interesting and worthwhile courses. In the fall semester of my sophomore year (a whole year later!), I continued my pattern of exploring introduction classes for different majors and ended up in a class called Communications 100: Popular Culture. I remember being excited in the first week just by looking at the different subjects on the syllabus and seeing topics like music videos, film, advertising and media marketing, historical contexts of media, and how popular culture shapes modern society. It was a combination of the arts and looking at society critically, and it pulled me in immediately. By the next week, I scheduled an appointment with advising to declare my major as Communication Studies!
Communication Studies is a dynamic, engaging and close-knit department within the College of Liberal Arts. Some specific courses I have taken include Nonverbal Communication, Gender Communication, Global Media Communication and Rhetoric of Social Movements. While each of these courses fall under a different category of communication, they have all ultimately enabled me to increase my awareness and understanding of society and culture and have challenged me to think about the world we live in.
The summer between my junior and senior years at CSU, I was able to participate in a study abroad program. I studied in Rome for six weeks with 20 other CSU students and two professors. The two classes offered for this program are “Cinematic Rome,” studying Italian film and “Bridging Cultures,” where we discussed cultural, social and political differences between Italy and the U.S. On the weekends, we traveled to cultural or film sites we had learned about and got to experience and explore Italy together. Education abroad was a component that helped me feel even more connected to my major, peers, and professors.
As I reflect on my academic journey at CSU, I find that it is similar to my peers, and yet, still unique. Many students go through a similar experience, trying out several different majors or fields of study until they find the right fit. Looking back, I wouldn’t change my experience with how I found Communication Studies: By starting as an undeclared student, the exploration classes I took reinforced why I was excited to learn about these areas. Because of Comm Studies, I am confident in my abilities to speak in front of groups, research and write professionally, and think critically and form my own ideas.
In Spring 2020, I brought my CSU undergraduate experience to a close and returned to my home state, California. I worked as a supervisor at a kids summer camp in Yosemite, and now I work as a marketing copywriter in a firm based in San Francisco.
Natalie is a CSU Communication Studies graduate from Walnut Creek, California. During her time at CSU, she found many ways to make Fort Collins her home, including playing her saxophone in the CSU Jazz Band, joining the Delta Delta Delta sorority and holding leadership positions, volunteering in the community, and joining the Student Ambassadors at the Office of Admissions. In her free time, Natalie enjoys hiking and exploring various nature spots, catching up with a friend over coffee, or making friendship bracelets.