Communication … no ‘S’

As a communication major, there is one small thing that drives me insane. No, it is not the daunting task of surviving rhetoric or how everyone claims this is an “easy” major. No, no, what really drives me bonkers is when people say they are communications majors.

For the record, if you are studying communication here at Christopher Newport, you are a communication major! Not a communications major. The addition of a single little S is very important, and this is how I discovered why:

“(Communication) with an ‘s’ refers to the technical transfer of information (e.g., radio, fiber optics). This is why cable companies have an s on the end. Without an ‘s’ refers to the study of message exchange, interpretation and analysis. This is why the title of your degree and our department do not have an ‘s.'”-Professor Todd Lee Goen. 

So there you have it folks, straight from the communication god himself, Professor Goen.

At CNU, we are not studying the technical transfer of information. The Communication Department website has the following quotes on its welcome page:

“Here, in the Department of Communication, we offer a broad, liberal arts education which encompasses all aspects of communication. When you select communication as your major, you will acquire an understanding of the processes we use to relay our messages to others.”


“As a major in our program, you might decide to examine — or even challenge — politics, social policy, ethics and tradition. Since communication is dynamic, always changing, we invite you to be an important part of this evolution. Our program will provide you with the opportunity to grow and develop as a skilled communicator. In today’s challenging world, we offer that valuable springboard for success.”

We study the processes, the relationships of communicating. Through interpersonal, media, oral or rhetorical practices, we learn communication.

If you’re a communication major, you might be having a mini meltdown at this point (like I did when I first found out about the details of my major). Don’t fret! It wasn’t until I had Goen for Interpersonal Communication in the fall of my sophomore year that I learned this. You have now been enlightened! You can speak of your major correctly without having people chuckle. Make sure your resumes and LinkedIns reflect this, too.

Go out and share your new-found knowledge with the world!

After learning of this key difference, I dove into a world of mind-blowing, life changing, shocking subjects and theories. I’ve even considered dropping my government major – that’s how great I’ve found communication to be. I love this field of study so much I give it the respect to correctly label myself as a communication (no ‘s’) major.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Busy Life for Me

I’m a busy bee, or should I say Captain. In high school, I played three sports, sometimes overlapping two sports per season, and was involved with student government, theater and DECA.

When I came to college, I felt so lost because I was not playing a sport and wasn’t in any clubs. Of course, after wandering through the club fair that changed! Now as a junior, I am my sorority’s philanthropy chair; I’m also the president of the Class of 2017, a member of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, a digital media assistant for the Office of Communication and Public Relations, and a volunteer for a local state senator’s campaign.

I like to be busy. It’s just how I work.

I’ve tried to take things off my plate, but I just seem to add more and more in the empty time I have. And, it wasn’t until this past week during Homecoming that I realized why I do it all.

An administrator asked if I was thinking of running for homecoming queen next year, and I was honestly kind of confused. It hadn’t crossed my mind to even have that as a dream, and that’s because I don’t do the things I do for recognition. I do them because I truly enjoy doing them. I like planning events, I like making memories for people, I genuinely enjoy putting others first. And then it hit me, that’s what it means to be a Captain. To enjoy your time here doing what you like. Making memories for yourself and others. Putting others first, but finding enjoyment in it.

And to tie into my other posts about what makes Christopher Newport special, I think there is a self-responsibility with making CNU special. You have to be willing to pour into CNU; as soon as you put a little bit in, you’ll get so much more out of this University, this experience, and the time you spend here.

My college experience wouldn’t be half of what it is today if I wasn’t a busy Captain.

Not Another Number

I just wanted to take a moment to express how great I think Christopher Newport is.

(This is not some shameless plug or cheesy admission gimmick.

This is me.)

Christopher Newport University is a small liberal arts school, and let me tell you, THIS is why CNU is the PERFECT school to go to.

Here at CNU, not only are you surrounded by red bricks, shiny domes and sunlit columns, you are also surrounded by faculty and staff who care. I wish I had realized this sooner than my junior year, because I would have been exposed to so many more opportunities and experiences.

This fall, I met with our president (Ya, how many other schools would provide you with a one on one meeting?) to ask for his advice. From there, I had a string of meetings, including the dean of the Luter School of Business, a professor and that professor’s colleague.

At any other state school you would not receive the time or attention of professors to truly get to know you and then expand their resources to you so you can succeed.  Mind you, I’m a communication and political science double major, no business major here! But, even so, professors in that department were willing to sit down, talk with me and provide me with the tools I need to succeed.

CNU is a place of many splendid things, and our faculty and staff just happen to be one of them.

Not Just a Campus

Expanding our horizons past the traditional comforts of Christopher Newport University is important to making lasting memories during our time in college.

I’m a political science and communication double major and a digital humanities minor. One thing I personally enjoy doing here at CNU is volunteering with and working for political campaigns. Not only is this a great way to expose yourself to politics and boost your resume … it’s also a great way to get to know your community. I spent my freshman fall semester knocking on the doors of homes in the surrounding neighborhoods of Christopher Newport. This was great way to learn about what was in our immediate community – what roads led to what so I could avoid traffic jams on Warwick Boulevard, and what areas were the best to go jogging in. It was also a great way to catch a break from studying while really getting to know the area I was now living in.

Now as a junior I’m expanding my surroundings and working with a candidate in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. We go to school in an area that is very unique. With beaches as close as FIVE minutes from campus, why not go out and explore! I want to be able to think back to my college days as days that, yes, I learned and expanded my knowledge. But I also want to have memories of going to that really good pizza place on Main that only cost a dollar a slice, or that one time I got an impromptu surf lesson over on Shore Drive from a local. I think going out into the community really opens up opportunities for making those memories.

Now you may be like, OK cool, but I’m not political, I don’t want to go door knock some stranger’s house. OK, OK, you don’t have to. There are plenty of other ways to get out into the community. Look into volunteering at places that cater to your interests. A great co-op was created last year where students take left-over food from the dining halls to shelters; this is an awesome way to get to know Newport News while also being a part of something bigger than yourself. Love animals? There are plenty of shelters in our area that are looking for volunteer help to keep up with shelter demands. Don’t have a car but love the arts? Look into working for the Ferguson Center or even taking a short walk over to the Peninsula Fine Arts Center. These are just a few ways to get out of the CNU bubble, or explore within it, too!

Get out and explore. Four years may seem like a long time, but from someone with only three more semesters—time flies. No one wants to think back on the glory of their college days and have nothing to remember. Take advantage of all the cool opportunities Christopher Newport brings to campus and make sure to make Newport News your home.