Declaring My Public Relations Major

By: Taylor Feinman

The phrase “declaring a major” always intimidated me. It sounds so definitive and final, and the whole idea made me nervous.

I applied to Penn State as a prospective Journalism major in the College of Communications. I really didn’t have experience with journalism, all I knew was that I loved to write and that I wanted to be in the College of Communications.

Freshman Year

When I came to University park for freshman orientation, I was extremely overwhelmed. I didn’t really know if I wanted to be a journalism major after all; I was looking more into Advertising or Public Relations at the time. But my freshman year courses ended up being really introductory and general, and I didn’t necessarily need to decide right away what I wanted my major to be. I knew I wanted to be in the College of Communications, and that’s where I was.

One day second semester after a scheduling appointment with my advisor, I called my dad on my walk back to my dorm. I simply asked him, “Do you think I should be a Public Relations major, or an Advertising major?” The two go pretty hand and hand, but they do have their differences, so I was a little stressed out about choosing one. After talking for about an hour, my dad ended the conversation by saying, “This is why I think you should be a Public Relations major.” He said that I’m an effective communicator, I like talking and working with people, and I can write. The whole time on the phone I wanted him to say Public Relations, so when he did I happily settled with that approval on my decision, which I hoped would make me more comfortable with it because I was still scared to declare.

Sophomore Year

I am currently in my first semester of sophomore year, and I’m in two communications classes for Public Relations (COMM 260W and COMM 370) and one business class because I was interested in taking on a business minor. I feel comfortable with where I am in my courses, and I’m excited to continue with this major and minor decision.

I recently had a meeting with my advisor, and the first thing she said to me was, “Did you know that you can declare your major? Let’s do that really quick.”

I was thinking to myself, “Really quick? Isn’t this a big decision?” But we sat down at my laptop for approximately 2 minutes, I clicked a total of probably 5 buttons, and boom. My Public Relations major, and Business & Liberal Arts minor was officially declared. I had the right decision made up, the right amount of credits I needed, and the right GPA. And that was all I needed to do to commit to declaring my major as Public Relations.

So don’t be afraid of declaring a major if you think that’s where you belong. It was the simplest thing that took the biggest weight off my shoulders.

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