Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Learning How to Learn II
judging from my experience in calvin’s religion department, any departments that require argumentative papers develop potential salespeople. i’m sure calvin’s philosophy department would be great recruiting grounds for southwestern. over the years, calvin has developed a respected philosophy program, and i was fortunate to take an honors philosophy class for core. philosophy majors can write like no other. after four years of experience arguing about metaphysics, i’m sure philosophers can easily argue why southwestern’s educational products are much better than their competitors’. also, lawyers are accustomed to arguing points, and their negotiation skills would come in handy when drafting a contract. although calvin doesn’t have a law department, they have a pre-law program that prepares students for law schools. i haven’t met a lot of pre-law students, but i’m sure i’ll recognize them. they’ll be the ones that somehow persuade me to go on a 10k run after i’ve gorged myself on chinese buffet.
so far i’ve been focusing on how various fields relate to business. that’s probably because i’ve had to explain to countless people why i’m a religion and communications double major that owns a startup business. by now, i can connect religion and communications with business in my sleep—i’ve already explained it so many times. but i have a hunch that if religion, philosophy, and law equips students for business, maybe engineering, nursing, and psychology can equip students for a field such as public relations. there must be plenty of cross-over between different fields. let me think out loud for a couple paragraphs.
according to my housemate, an electrical engineer, engineers are problem solvers, and darn good ones. from what i know about my nursing-major-friends, they learn to connect with people on a face-to-face level. more than a few of my friends have interned at pine rest, a local mental health facilities, and they’ve cared for everyone from the mentally-challenged to bed-ridden grandparents. i can imagine that facing these people everyday can be quite depressing, but i’ve been surprised by how nursing majors can cope with their surroundings. some of the people they care for are going to die in the near future, yet my friends smile and shake off the hopelessness. another one of my housemates is a psychology major, and he’s a great listener. i took my intro to psych courses at the university of toronto one summer, and i became a better listener simply by learning about human behavior. i can imagine how four years of psychology courses can teach someone to be an incredible listener. moreover, good listeners tend to have good discernment. my housemate’s certainly a great discerner.
how would that all relate to public relations? from my limited knowledge of the field (i’ve only taken one class, and i don’t know many PR people), i understand that PR is responsible for being the face of the company/organization they represent. sometimes they need to handle PR nightmares, and i’m sure mccain’s PR staff had a field day dealing with his “bomb bomb iraq” song. safe to say, there would be some problem-solving involved in any PR nightmare, so anyone with an engineering background would be cut out for those situations. also, as the face of the company, PR reps would often be at publicity events mingling with press and other attendees. most nursing students that have interned at pine rest or other mental health facilities would be able to connect with people and make a good impression under high pressure situations. and as with any people-related job, the ability to listen is crucial. how would mccain’s PR team handle “bomb bomb iraq” if they couldn’t discern the gravity of the situation? i’m sure mccain’s team was listening closely to mainstream media, trying to predict how the american public would react to the video clip. also, how could PR reps make a good impression at a publicity event if they spent all their time talking people’s ears off? i’m sure they’d use their listening skills to encourage two-way conversations.
since there’s so much cross-over between various fields, does it matter what field i choose? maybe the best PR reps don’t graduate with a public relations degree, but rather an engineering/nursing/psychology interdisciplinary degree. to be honest, i don’t know. but here’s what i do know: if i can convince the employer that i’m the best fit for the position, i’ll get it.