Sophie: What the Pandemic Taught Me About COM

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Stepping into the broader BU student community as a COM major can feel infantilizing at times. Every COM student has come across jokes –whether via meme in the Facebook group, BU Memes for Normy Teens, or in person among friends — that poke fun at COM courses as easy. COM students don’t know math. COM students don’t take any finals. COM students don’t have any homework. Every CAS, ENG, or Questrom student seems to believe that they could study Public Relations or Film/TV and skate by with a great GPA. And not to mention the judgement that can come from family members who ask the eternal question: are you sure you don’t want to pursue medicine or law instead?

As a Film/TV major with friends across various disciplines in COM, it seems to me that this is a universal experience. While we in COM know the absolutely essential nature of our field — thanks, COM 101 — sometimes, even if just for a brief moment, I buy into what the rest of the world sees. I won’t ever design bridges. I won’t ever perform surgery or create vaccines. Those are the things that are supposed to make society go round, not movies. Early on in the pandemic, back when everyone was just getting used to lockdown and COM students were grappling with how to take JO 200 or Prod 1 over Zoom, I couldn’t stop thinking about the jobs that seemed to really, really matter in that moment:healthcare staff, lab scientists, essential delivery workers, software engineers. I didn’t seem to see my own field on the list. 

As we all settled into our own isolated routines, though, I began to notice a pattern in what we were talking about over FaceTime or text: “Did you see the headline of the New York Times?” “Check out Ben & Jerry’s statement!” “I binge-watched both seasons of Fleabag today.” In this pandemic, when everyone is scared and bored, communication workers have buoyed morale, spread key information, and often provided a needed distraction. 

If there has ever been a time to feel uncertain about the future, it’s now. But I feel heartened to see the projects that my friends have tirelessly churned out: articles, podcasts, campaigns, photojournalism, videography, and more. Once this is all over and the world settles, and people return to doubting the utility of COM careers, I will sleep well at night knowing that current COM students and countless COM alumni stepped up to the plate and did their part to ferry the world through this crisis.

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