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Inside the Mind of a Double Major

Alexandra (Alex) Farber is an accomplished and involved student here at SDSU. She’s double majoring in Advertising and Communication Studies with a minor in Marketing. Along With her majors she is involved in the Fishback Honors College, Student Association, Lambda Pi Eta, and Kappa Tau Alpha. Alex has served as Senator and Communications Chair in the the last two years on the Students’ Association. Previously involvement includes working with State A Thon, Love Your Melon, CAPERS, and the Ladies of BSA Step Team. 

How did you decide to double major?  My freshman year, I had a class with Barb Kleinjan and she encouraged me to pick up Communication Studies in addition to my advertising degree so that I could get a well-rounded education within the communication discipline. She truly saw potential in me that I never saw in myself, and I’m so grateful she did. I fell in love with the classes on both sides and never saw it as an ‘either-or’ but an exciting ‘both-and’ opportunity. 

What benefits do you see in the long run? Right now, I’m preparing to go to graduate school and pursue my Masters in Communication Studies. If I decide to go on to pursue a PhD, my broad communication undergraduate experience will prepare me better to teach a variety of courses throughout the communication and mass communication discipline. If not, my double undergrad gives me a better platform to launch into the workforce as a powerful and strategic communicator. 

How has It affected you personally so far? I couldn’t ask for better mentorship in both programs. The relationships I have with faculty in both areas have been absolutely transformative in my learning and personal growth. I am beyond thankful to have been a teaching assistant (for Barb Kleinjan in Communication Studies) and a research assistant (for Roxanne Lucchesi in Advertising) during my undergraduate career.

Do you think your experience is drastically different from students with singular majors? If so, how?  I don’t feel that my experience is drastically different, but I do believe that my double major has helped me to feel more comfortable pursuing a career in either higher education or industry. I also felt benefitted by the additional networking opportunities from having connections within both majors before the merge and creation of the new school. [I was also really glad to be a part of that process so that hopefully more students will have the same opportunities I had in the future.]

How do you manage your time? My piece of advice for students is you can do anything, but you can’t do everything. I think it’s important to balance what truly fuels your fire and let go of the things that don’t do that for you. I think that’s how I frame my time management. 

What’s a typical schedule for a day/week for you? In addition to my studies, I work for the Students’ Association around 15 hours/week and I work for the SDSU Support Desk anywhere from 10-12 hours/week. When I’m not in school, working, or doing things with SA, you can typically find me at the gym, spending time with my roommates, or catching up on my favorite shows on Hulu. I think that being busy is good for me, but it took some time for me find the balance between productivity and self-care. 

How do you feel about your course load? I was lucky enough to come into school with a few credits, and I took a heavy course load each semester for the first two years. My minor, Marketing, overlaps well with Advertising. I think that the key to not being overwhelmed by your class load is to truly love what you’re studying! 

How do you feel about the content from the two majors? Do they collide? I think that the collision between communication studies and advertising has come to me through my own conclusions. I didn’t necessarily see the overlap right away, but I’ve always come to appreciate it later on. For example, I recently presented my undergraduate research (target market research for the Dept. of Health) at a national conference. The presentation skills I have gained through Communication Studies, paired with my advertising knowledge, informed my research, and allowed me to comfortably discuss my study with the judges. 

Would you recommend your majors and course load to other students? I would absolutely recommend my double major. I have loved my undergraduate experience and feel more ready to enter the workforce (or graduate school) because of the opportunities I gained as a double major.

  • communication
  • Advertising