Meet Karina Tran '21

Communication Studies Major

She talks about culture, kindness, and how a textbook changed her life.

What made you want to become a communication studies major?
I was actually admitted to USF as a marketing major, and the summer before my first year I was looking into the types of classes I needed to take. I looked into communication studies because I found that similar career paths alongside marketing included communication. When I saw classes like Asian American Culture & Communication, the Dark Side of Communication, the Rhetoric of Sex, Gender, & Sexuality, etc., I was baffled! I had no idea such topics could be discussed in an entire class, and suddenly I felt that excitement I was looking for, the passion for learning I craved. Moreover, as someone who is constantly changing her mind on what she wants to do, I knew I wanted to study something that is transferable not only to other jobs but also to life — communication does exactly that. Besides, if you know how to effectively communicate with people, you could really do anything.

What has your experience been like within the department?
It is hard for me to imagine a greater department to be a part of. The peers that I've gotten to interact with in my classes are so incredibly kind, thoughtful, and passionate about the relationships we develop — it's a dream come true! Don't even get me started on the professors — they have been so encouraging, considerate, and have really gone above and beyond for me in ways I can never truly articulate. The passion that each professor and faculty member displays for the topics they discuss and teach are apparent, and my respect for every person in the department runs deep.

What was your favorite class you took and why?
I have two that I always bring up: Communication & Everyday Life and Asian American Culture & Communication were the first COMS classes I ever took, and I cannot believe how excited I was to read a textbook. I thought I would hate the reading, but every single time, I learned something that felt like a major breakthrough in my life — every single time! As someone who comes from a family where communication is definitely not a priority, that class really opened up so many doors to exploring who I want to be now that I've moved away from home. Asian American COM was another major turning point in my developing identity; we talked about things that I had never even thought would be important enough to discuss, and it was about the very things that make up my foundation of a person.

What advice would you give undeclared majors who are thinking about studying COMS?
Whatever you end up choosing, you're going to make the best of it, so don't sweat it too much. Communication studies is a great major to explore simply because of how much it adds value to your knowledge of being a human in this society. Whatever ends up being printed on your degree isn't as important as the endless knowledge you'll acquire by taking a couple classes.