Communication Connection

Friends of COM Newsletter

Faculty Profiles

“How Am I Ever Going to Pass COM 400?”

Friday, June 13, 2014

By: Jessica Nelson

The Communication Studies Capstone (COM 400) is one of the final classes a COM major must complete before graduating college, and it is one of the most important. This class is stressful and a lot of work, but will ultimately prepare you for the real world. Dr. Deborah Brunson is one of the four professors teaching COM 400 this semester, and offered a few words of advice on how you can prepare for this course. Along with Dr. Brunson, two seniors currently taking the course offered some insight on what COM majors can expect from this class and how you can get the absolute most out of it.

UNCW’s course catalog describes COM 400 as the following: “A reflection and synthesis of philosophical, theoretical, and applied dimensions of curriculum and other experiences as they apply to personal and professional aspirations. Students engage in a variety of assignments that demonstrate senior-level competence in the discipline and the student’s chosen sub-disciplines of study.” Many people will read these words and still be confused as to what this class is actually about. Dr. Brunson has been teaching COM 400 for four years now and views the course as a “great opportunity to support our students as they prepare to graduate.” The course focuses on allowing students to complete hands on assignments and discover how they can apply all prior communication knowledge towards their desired discipline.

“For me, the course is about reflections and transitions in order to achieve goals, dreams and aspirations,” Dr. Brunson explains, “I see COM 400 as a moment for each graduating senior to “exhale” and to reflect on what you’ve learned at UNCW and how these experiences have prepared you for the next step in your journey.”  For Dr. Brunson, this class is not meant to be stressful and nerve-wracking. Although the students must be prepared to work hard, it is meant to be a fun course that prepares COM majors for their future after UNCW. By compiling a portfolio full of your best pieces of work, (yes, those research projects are important), COM 400 will allow you to reflect on your work abilities and further improve your skills as you narrow down and target your specific focus within the major. Whether your focus is advertising, PR, or even broadcasting, the COM 400 professors are dedicated to help ensure that the curriculum can work around the different concepts of communication. Some of the projects include learning about video interviews, compiling portfolios and resumes, and even preparing for an actual interview within your desired field of work. Their goal is to have you be as prepared as possible for a real life career opportunity outside of UNCW.

Senior, Lauren McCoy, is taking the class now and expresses that students preparing for COM 400 should begin to set aside important documents. Doing so will make life easier once you begin the course. “Assignments that have come in handy include my PR II final project, my research projects that were developed in COM 200, and the skills that I have gained through my internship course,” Lauren tells us. “Future students can prepare themselves for the class by beginning to prepare artifacts for their portfolios and further deciding their post graduation plans.” Start planning now! COM 400 should be a class that you think about throughout your entire communication journey at UNCW. Create a folder on your laptop and begin to set aside any document that you think could be important or any document that could potentially be added to your final portfolio. It’s better to be over prepared than not prepared at all.

John Moore, another senior currently enrolled in COM 400, says that he was “a little bit nervous about the class.” He expressed, “I thought that each class period would be strictly focused on compiling a portfolio and that would be the only thing we would work on all semester.” Although part of the class does aim to put together a strong portfolio, Moore says, “that was not the case.” As mentioned earlier the class is more than just putting together important documents from previous classes, it is an opportunity for students to learn and ask questions about how to successfully prepare themselves for their future. This can involve anything from compiling the portfolio, to having a mock interview, or even asking questions about appropriate attire for an interview. This class has been a lot less stressful than John had imagined, and although the workload is heavy, it is all useful in the sense that the projects are preparing students to enter the real world. John said he is more than ready to go out and find his first real job, “COM 400 has prepared me for my first interview, I am confident and ready to apply what I have learned.”

John also recommends that future COM 400 students begin to set aside projects and papers that may be of use for their portfolio. However, he had another word of advice that COM students should take into consideration. When asked how future COM 400 students could prepare themselves John replied with one simple word: “passion.” Moore explains further, “Make sure you have a passion for what you are doing. For most classes I’ve taken in COM, I’ve been able to find a way to apply it to my passion and that has made this class much easier.” He recommends that students find their own, individual way to relate to COM 400 and determine how they will personally grow from the course. Find a way to make the most out of the class for yourself. Think of all of the ways that COM 400 can be applied to your focus within communication and determine all the ways that the class can help you be successful in your future. Make it a class that you look forward to. This will allow you to enjoy the class in your own way and motivate you to put 100% of your effort into it.

Dr. Brunson, Lauren, and John all express that COM 400 may seem scary at first, but the outcome is worth it. “This is a time to reflect on what you’ve learned and experienced in college and specifically in Communication Studies,” Dr. Brunson says, “And then learn to apply those experiences towards becoming the best that you can be.”

Find a way to make COM 400 a fun experience for you, get excited for the opportunities to come, and apply yourself in a way that works for you and your future. To prepare for this class, begin setting aside papers and projects that you would want potential employers to see. By doing this you’re already one step ahead of the game. View this class as the door to your future after graduation, take everything you’ve learned and worked so hard for in your COM journey and use it to push yourself through this class. There’s no need to be stressed or nervous, but instead be excited! This class can only help you; you’re that much closer to your future!