Let’s rewind for a moment to early fall, 20o3. I am sitting in my advisor’s office at the great institution known as Washington State University (go Cougs), and at the tender age of 18, am committing to a major that will define the next four years (and tens of thousands of dollars’ worth) of my education.
Unlike many kids my age, it was an easy choice for me. I’d always considered myself somewhat of a writer, and I had a fledgling career in my high-school newspaper for three years. Communications. Done, done and done.
My advisor nodded, plugged me into some 101 classes, and then asked a question I hadn’t been expecting: “What about your minor?”
I was a little shocked, I’ll be honest. For the most part, I considered minors to be the things that people were REALLY interested in studying, but they only minored in the subject because they couldn’t make a living out of it and majored in something generic and semi-useful like entrepreneurship or business. This way, they were still learning about something they liked, without wanting to kill themselves while pursuing a boring but practical degree.
I didn’t quite fit this equation. I really liked communications, I liked writing, I liked speaking, and I liked people. I didn’t really have a whole lot of secondary interests pegged down besides video games and boys.
I think my advisor saw me floundering, because her next words were, “for communications majors, the most common minors are sociology or business.” This, I later decided, is why she was an advisor. Without her I would have undoubtedly forayed into forestry or astronomy or whatever else I was intrigued by at that moment.
My next question was: “Are there a lot of math classes in business?”
As you can tell, I was thinking about this from all angles (not). A few months before, I had celebrated my C+ in Math Analysis and flipped the bird to epsilon proofs, trig, and everything else I brain-dumped to make room for more fun stuff like the lyrics to Outkast’s “Hey Ya.” With God as my witness, I’d never take math again.
So, sociology it was. I felt like kind of a slacker at first, but as it turns out, I was genuinely interested in both communications and sociology. So much so, that I didn’t even mind the research/statistics classes I had to take.
I didn’t think much about my minor post-grad until my second year at an agency, when I had an epiphany and realized that I love research … especially about what people think and how they act. I credit my sociology classes for this. I think my studies in those classes reinforced my tendencies to examine how people will react to events, and words. I use these tendencies every day, whether it’s positioning an announcement, writing a press release, creating surveys for client research or even just interacting with my coworkers/bosses. I think about myself, my clients, and people in general from people’s point of view.
And you know that everytime I find myself using something I can attribute to my time spent immersed in sociology, I am silently laughing at all the poor schmucks who chose business out of practicality.
And yes, with God as my witness … I definitely had to take math 208 in college. So much for no math after high school.