Tag Archives: Media Studies

Why COMS is the Best Major

I can say wholeheartedly my major is the best major around and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And no, it’s not because I get to write for Whim (anyone can do that–hint hint)!

Coming to Radford for music therapy, I thought I was set. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, and what I wanted to do when I graduated. That changed very quickly. I was calling home every day; I was homesick and I no longer wanted anything to do with Radford. In my second semester, I decided music therapy was not for me (even though I still love everything it can accomplish). I was going home and never looking back.

Communication students. Graphic from Radford University website
Communication students. Graphic from Radford University website

After taking some regular gen ed courses, I knew what I wanted to do:journalism. I always had a knack for writing,  and I have no problem talking to people. My public speaking class really drove it home for me.

After coming into the School of Communication here at RU, I have to tell you, it’s one of the best. The professors are always available, willing to help no matter what it takes, and working together to make this experience what it should be for students. I had professors who wanted to see me succeed and helped me in every way possible, even if it didn’t have to do with a COMS class.

Although journalism isn’t necessarily a major for everyone who loves to write, it fit perfectly for me. I think there are some criteria that really work if you want to be a journalism major.

  1. You have to enjoy writing
  2. You need to work well with others
  3. You need to have a moral compass
  4. You have to have a passion for helping others or getting them the information they need or want
  5. You have to be good with time management (deadlines come faster than you think)

I know, that’s not the most detailed list but it’s a start.  I’ve had days where I just wanted to quit or  change my major. People have days like that all the time, but I am going to tell you that it’s so worth it. You push through all the deadlines and see your work published in The Tartan or here on Whim and it’s a great feeling.

I  love knowing that even if people don’t read what I have to say, I have a voice — and I can be that voice for other people as well. This semester we have talked a lot about how journalism is a service to help the community and I believe that 100 percent. I wouldn’t change anything about how these last 3 years have gone and I highly suggest looking into journalism or the School of Communication if you’re still undecided on a major!

Change your major, change your life

When I left high school, I was pretty sure about what I wanted. I entered RU with my wonderful boyfriend of two years on my arm and a passion for Psychology. I was positive that I wanted to continue on to grad school, get my Ph.D, and go through my life practicing psychology in a therapy setting.

A lot has changed since then. I’m still with that boyfriend, and he’s still wonderful; but nothing else has stayed the same. After a year of working with Whim, I’ve decided that I want to work in media. I love chasing stories and beating deadlines- it makes me feel alive and happy. I’ve done so much debating about this, but I finally made an important decision. I’m ready to change my major.

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“My fiery passion for psychology burned and then fizzled. I still like reading about psychology, but I don’t feel anywhere as excited about it as I used to.” Photo by: Sydney Crawson

As you can imagine, the feeling of uncertainty about my future was weighing heavy on me for a while. My fiery passion for psychology burned and then fizzled. I still like reading about psychology, but I don’t feel anywhere as excited about it as I used to. At first, I thought that this was just normal. I figured that once I took a class whose content I was most interested in, my flame would be reignited. Try as I might, though, it never was.

Throughout my life, I’ve always held a love for English deep in my heart. During much of my childhood, I didn’t find friends in the children at school. My best friends were my parents and the friends I found in the pages of my favorite books. I visited these friends every day during recess, and every night before I went to sleep. No matter what was going on in my life, these friends could always cheer me up.

During my first year at RU, I took a few English classes for fun. Out of all the classes I’ve taken, these were easily my favorite. I never found it hard to pay attention, and I actually wanted to write my papers. A flame that I had momentarily forgotten existed grew and grew. I felt happy again. Life made sense. This is where I was meant to be, and what I was meant to study.

Never be afraid of change- its inevitable. Sometimes you need to try new things in order to know for sure where you are supposed to be in life. Remember- you’re in college to decide what you’re going to do in YOUR future, not anyone else’s. It may seem selfish, but often you must hold your happiness above the happiness of others or you’ll end up miserable.

Sean Doyle: Through the lens

Sean Doyle ready for his close-up! Photo from Facebook.

When he was in middle school, Sean Doyle became fascinated with films. His favorite genres were action, drama, martial arts and sci-fi. The impressive graphics, detailed choreography and gripping storylines drew him into places where creativity knows no limits. Eventually, they inspired him to create worlds of his own.

Today, at 24, he is a media and film student at Radford University, and is set to graduate in spring 2011. He has already created three short films and launched a YouTube channel with 144 video clips. In addition to acting, he also has experience with writing scripts, directing and editing.

“I get kind of nervous sometimes,” Sean said. “I might stumble because, as you may have heard, I have a bit of a speech impediment.” He refers to a slight stutter that made itself almost scarce about five minutes into our conversation. “I’ve learned ways of controlling it. It also depends on the way I talk. Occasionally I don’t really trip on my words at all.”

He changes his expression slightly, raises one eyebrow, and speaks with perfect clarity. “I talk like this, see? Let’s get down to business right now. Talk things over. Do it nice and easy. No game now, right?”

His ability to emulate various personalities is evident whenever he is in front of the camera. His YouTube channel, Chosenviper, is made up of a variety of topics, including discussions about his projects, reviews of different types of media, and funny character impersonations.

“I impersonated Doug Walker. He has a YouTube series called ‘That Guy with the Glasses.’ Viewers ask him questions and he gives hilarious answers,”Sean Doyle said before launching himself into character mode. “What should you do if you are kidnapped by aliens? Absolutely nothing. Just let them take you.”

Humor is not the only thing Sean brings character to. His newest film project, “Daring Intervention,” was completed in 2011, and a sequel is already in the works. The plot follows an FBI agent who finds himself in the midst of a dangerous game. A former partner that he’s previously fired plants a flash drive with codes that have the ability to prevent a missile from launching and hitting the governor’s mansion.

“People might nitpick about it,” Sean said. “It’s not perfect, but I’m trying to get a better feel for what film is like.”

His education in filmmaking began long before he came to Radford University.

“My brother Devon and I started doing theatre in high school,” Sean said. “We were in two plays, ‘What Use Are Flowers’ and ‘An Italian Straw Hat.’”

Sean with his brother, Devon. Photo from Facebook.

That same year, both brothers got to work as extras on the pilot episode of “Commander in Chief,” a drama series on ABC.

“The thing is, I think our scenes were deleted because when the show finally aired, we didn’t really see ourselves,” Sean said.

They did show up onscreen later in the HBO miniseries “John Adams” as Redcoat soldiers in the Boston Massacre scene.

In 2006 and 2007, Sean and Devon attended Southern Mystique Film Camp where they made two films, “A Beautiful Murder” and “Fish Story.”

Devon, recalls his enthusiasm for “Fish Story,” which he directed.

“I was passionate about making a fresh and fun movie for the camp,” Devon reminisced.

Since then, Devon has created an equally impressive resumé, such as working as a videographer with pro wrestling organization UPWA, making a demo reel for the Landfall 2010 Golf Tournament in Wilmington, N.C., and making a short documentary called “Squeak Etoys.”

“Sean and I, along with another friend, are now in the writing process of a possible TV pilot episode about a high school for students who wish to face the supernatural,” Devon said.

Devon is proud of Sean’s accomplishments at Radford University, and points out the strengths that he appreciates when the two of them work together.

“Sean is the type of student and film maker who appreciates the little details in what he does and is one who knows how to use the camera to help tell the story.”

Dr. Joe Flickinger, a media studies professor, has been one of Sean’s greatest supporters at RU. He has taken two classes with Flickinger, and has impressed him with his talents with editing.

“I think he learns better visually than he does from a written standpoint,” Flickinger said. “I think that ties in with the films that he’s making. He can see what he’s doing in the films and he can start to apply what he’s doing. I know I’m one of those learners, too.”

After graduation, Sean wants to move to North Carolina to be closer to his brother. He plans to apply to companies that work with news, television or film, such as Screen Gems or Warner Brothers.

Whatever he winds up doing, Sean made it clear that it was important that he do what he loves and that fame was only secondary.

“I doubt it will lead to fame or anything like that, but who knows?” Sean said.