During my first semester of college, I filled my schedule with general education courses my siblings recommended. Among my classes was an introductory communication course. Part way through the semester, my professor gave a lecture overviewing the field of communication. I remember becoming more and more engaged and enraptured as the lecture progressed. At dinner, I shared my excitement with my father. He informed me that I could major in communication. My world shifted into place. The next day, I grabbed a college catalog and looked up communication courses. Shortly after, I declared communication as my major.
Desiring an interdisciplinary perspective of communication, I took courses in sociology, psychology, and business management. The University of Tulsa allowed me to concentrate my studies in organizational communication. As I approached graduation, I anticipated either finding a job or furthering my education. Instead, a month before graduating college, I met my husband. Six months later we married and moved from Oklahoma to Utah. When we arrived in Utah, I lacked connections in a competitive employment market. After searching for a couple months, I found a job as an office manager for an accounting firm. My coursework in psychology, conflict management, interpersonal communication, and small group communication helped me effectively run the office.
Three years later, my first child was born and I dedicated myself to being a stay-at-home mother. Raising my children has been a field experiment in communication, psychology, education, and parenting. Through daily interactions with my children, I have come to more fully understand my strengths and weaknesses.
Volunteering in my children’s schools and in my church has given me the opportunity to remain current with technology skills, build networks, and develop managerial skills. Working with others has helped me to become a better team player, adapt to different managerial styles, and increase my communication and leadership skills. I have also been able to develop my abilities, to think through a process from the beginning to the end, and to make sure all aspects of the activity were addressed.
Currently, I am preparing to close the stay-at-home mom chapter of my life; I have decided to further my education to prepare myself to reenter the workforce. Gonzaga University's Masters of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies program gives me an opportunity to dust off my communication skills and deepen my knowledge in preparation for a new career. The field of communication has continued to blossom and grow since I graduated from the University of Tulsa. Theories have been developed and new areas of study have emerged. Rediscovering my communication roots has been a renewing experience. I feel as though I have found myself again and my passion for the communication process has increased. Returning to school has given me the opportunity to learn new skills. The diverse work environments and corporate cultures in Utah Valley offer many exciting possibilities for me to utilize my strengthened communication skills, strong work ethic, and maturity. I am looking forward with great excitement to the next chapter of my life.