A few months from now, high school students aiming to enter the University of the Philippines will take their UP College Admission Test (UPCAT).
Most students have a good idea of what their first choice and second choice courses would be. They have most probably contemplated on how useful their chosen courses would be after graduation. Others, however, are kind of playing it by ear. It wasn’t also easy for me, and I’m guessing this is also true for some of you.
EENIE MEENIE MINEY NO
Unlike most students who choose their university or college programs based on their strengths (i.e. “I’m not afraid of numbers so I’dll take BS Math or Engineering” or “I’ve won several investigatory projects in my science high school, ergo I’m claiming Molecular Biology and Biotechnology”), I somehow did it differently.
It could be both weird and courageous to actually choose a program you feel you’re not good at and yet still decide to take it, hoping you’d be able to fill in that gap in your skills.
I feared public speaking so I took up Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Speech Communication.
Why would you choose a four-year course that would make your palm sweat and your knees wobble 90% of the time? Let’s admit it! Not everyone is immune to the fear of speaking in public. Even great speakers may feel nervous from time to time. I guess it really is just a matter of facing your fear.
My professors are great speakers and communicators. Their proficiency in the English language, as in Filipino, is impeccable. I couldn’t recall a day that I did not dread an upcoming presentation in front of the class, not to mention defending my thesis. But I carried on.
The course Speech Communication covers the varying aspects of human communication such as (1) intrapersonal, (2) interpersonal, (3) group, (4) organizational, (5) cross-cultural, and (5) public speaking, among others.
I recall writing TV and radio scripts, researching for and participating in a debate, analyzing speeches and rhetorics of established speakers and writers, role-playing, and performing in oral interpretation activities such as poetry reading and scene interpretation of an English play. It would be safe to say then that Speech Communication is a mother course of other communication-related courses as it provides introduction to the different channels of public expression, relationship building and making meaning in various social contexts and media.
ARTS AND LETTERS
B.A. Speech Communication is only offered in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. It is under the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts (DSCTA) of the College of Arts and Letters.
Neighbour school Ateneo De Manila University has a Bachelor of Arts Major in Communication degree-granting program which, according to their website (www.ateneo.edu), “allows undergraduate students to focus their studies in communication on one of four concentrations — image & sound production, journalism, media studies, or advertising & public relations.”
On the other hand, De La Salle University (DLSU) in Taft, Manila has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts program “designed to introduce students to the use of media—film, print, radio, photography, and television”. DLSU also has a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication offering which “prepares students for professional practices as a communication specialist in public and private Philippine organizations” (www.dlsu.edu.ph). Meanwhile, the University of Santo Tomas’ Department of Communication and Media Studies offers the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (www.ust.edu.ph).
It is understandable that some people may be confused as to what Speech Communication is really about. People have come to define career roles based on academic labels and somehow confine job descriptions based on that.
INDUSTRIES NEED US
In an effort to gather evidence-based research, I found in the worldwideweb my former professor Regina B. Gochuico’s research manuscript entitled “Authentic Assessment in B.A. Speech Communication” (2013). Gochuico looked into the “authentic assessment techniques commonly used among selected faculty members of DSCTA in the core courses that they handle.”
Gochuico mentioned the survey conducted by the DSCTA in preparation for the 2011 program review. The survey was participated in by 131 graduates from 2005 to 2010. The said survey revealed that 27% of the graduates were in the media, publishing and advertising industries. Slightly close to that were graduates in the banking, finance, sales and marketing industries (24%). Meanwhile, human resource and training followed (17%), then the Academe (15%), government and law (8%), BPO industry (3%), and others, i.e. events, religious activities, and entertainment (6%).
It would be unfair to advocate for Speech Communication without giving a concrete example of what we do in the classroom and without showing how it relates to practical applications in the real world.
Speech 111: Elements of Voice and Diction.
Speech 121: Oral Interpretation of Literature.
Speech 160: Basic Radio Techniques.
Speech 183: Audio-Visual Communication.
These are just some of the subjects and activities in Speech Communication that focus heavily on oral performances. Other subjects such as Bases of Speech, Organizational Communication, and Research (thesis writing) were really helpful in understanding in-depth communication studies.
While I am not a public speaker by profession, I am still a performer in the clinic! Believe me: it is always show time when you are dealing with kids! I can say that I have used my training in Speech Communication as a good foundation for my personal and professional growth.
Remember that even doctors and accountants need to present and perform! No matter what career path you choose, the real world is all about negotiations, presentations, connections, and relationship building.
Perhaps Speech Communication is also a sound choice for you.