Com Week or stress week?

By Kathleen Quillian |

For an average communication student, “Com Week” can be seen as a blessing. It is an entire week where informative lectures about the real communication world take the place of boring note taking in regular classes. Some students see Com Week as an easy way out of having to pay attention or even attend the lectures at all, or it can be seen as an amazing opportunity to network with successful alumni and professors who used to teach at Flagler. It also offers a little bit of hope that once one graduates Flagler, one might poses the skills they need to make it in the communication job market.

With all of this being said, Com Week can also cause extreme stress. After hearing the first speaker, an overwhelming wave of anxiety took over my body. The alumni panel I attended brought on a higher level of stress. The class of 2007/08 seemed to be a very impressive year for the communication department. There are alumni who work in major cities such as New York and Washington DC. While at Flagler, the alumni panel finished several communication tracks, as well as had impressive internships throughout their college careers. The panel was extremely enlightening, yet it made me worry more about my future at Flagler, and wonder if living up to the class of 2008 is even a possibility?

It seemed like I had a laundry list of questions that disrupted my concentration for days. I haven’t taken this COM class yet, will I always be behind? I don’t have a perfect GPA, what does that mean for my future? What if I don’t get a job right out of college? Will it be back to my childhood room and working in restaurants? How are the alumni so accomplished at a young age? Am prepared to allow work to take over my life?

The questions interrupting my daily thoughts could go on forever. Then, it dawned on me that Com Week is not the only time I feel the pressure. The pressure put on students on a daily basis is extremely high. It seems like every assignment, if not done perfectly, is the end of the world. Professors in the communication department always talk about how you have to have at least three decent internships by the time you graduate or you will not be hired. In an economy where jobs are scarce and the internships world has become even more competitive, will students who work their hardest, yet are unlucky with internships, doomed? There is such a sense of extremes in the communication department. You are either successful, or your not.

It does make sense that the communication department sets the tone of a high-pressured school environment. Students are completing a pre-professional program and the environment is set to prepare them for the real high-pressure job environment. Yet, there is a fine line between a pressure environment and a discouraging environment. The communication class of 2008 is a lot to live up to.

After experiencing Com Week, I was thankful for my professors to care enough to get a group of successful people and show that there is hope for me one day. I will have to learn to handle pressure if I want to enter the communication work force. Students need to know that professors are not looking for perfection, but good work ethic. I know that I will not attend a prestigious graduate school like several of the students on the alumni panel, and I am okay with that.

Com Week made me motivated to work hard in my classes and apply to as many internships as possible. It also allowed me to take charge of my stress levels. Flagler students just need to work their hardest, don’t stress the small things and make sure to actually attend Com Week even it causes you stress about the future. Who knows, maybe my class of 2015 will be the new class of 2008?

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