My Newest Educational Adventure

As of this fall, I’m at my fourth higher education institution. Go me! Except that, after transferring changing majors and all in all being shuffled around; I’m still no closer to finishing my degree than when I left my community college in 2008. What a happy feeling that is, I’ll tell you sometime. It’s peachy.

My schools have always had something that wasn’t quite right for me. Or I couldn’t get away from work enough to be a good student. For the second time in my “college career” I’m not working a full-time job and I am instead making one more push to finish my bachelors. My first time not working ended after a paltry  four months of going crazy with idleness and boring courses.

So far, I am enjoying Wichita State for what it is. I was expecting the campus to be larger, and on my first two days on campus I passed my building, twice. I love that the campus is not large, my bad knee loves it more. I will say some people act as though the campus is giant, vast, massive or some other word for immense. It’s not.

Compared to the University of Kansas, where you cannot traverse the campus in time to have classes in consecutive hours, WSU is tiny. I actually attended Kansas State University, where the campus is smaller than KU but still seems fairly large compared to WSU. Size also had impacts on resources, the respective bookstores at each school were twice to four times the size of Wichita State. The bookstores also sold computers like Apple and Dell, supplies that weren’t branded with the school logos, as well as hundreds more books.

My majors have been Journalism, Communication, Apparel and Textile Merchandising, and now Integrated Marketing Communication. So far, I’m optimistic. I dont have to take nearly as much math or economics, and the course offerings seem genuinely more interesting than I’ve had before.

In one of my communication courses at WSU the students were given the opportunity to ask the Director of the Elliott School of Communication a few questions and pick his brain on stuff we might want to know.

I have never met the director of any of my other schools programs, let alone I doubt they’d allow anyone to record them, even if it was a communication class!

Matthew Cecil Ph.D. Director of Elliot School of Communication, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS
Matthew Cecil Ph.D. Director of Elliott School of Communication, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS

“If I had all the money in the world to change this program I might not make it the size of an OU or something like that i like the size we are but I would certainly improve our facilities…We have great facilities now but they could be a lot better.”  





The Director of the Elliott School of Communication is Matthew Cecil, Ph.D.. During his talk he emphasized being diverse and knowing that we would have to adapt as we enter the fields we want to go into. The Elliott School has some new projects in the coming months that could offer a greater amount of experiences for it’s students, which will be exciting to see how those work out.

“The key to succeeding in the field of Mass Communication is being adaptable also understanding what you’re learning today is not necessarily what you’re going to be doing in 3 or 4 years…”

Coming from so many other programs, I have a certain amount of comparison to offer. Other schools are very structured, rigid and unwavering in the curriculum they require you to obtain, even if it has little bearing on what you want to do. At every other program I’ve been in they required an internship, or two. With Kansas State’s Apparel and Textile Merchandising program, they were changing the curriculum when I left, to require two internships. Typically internships in the fashion or retail industry are unpaid. As well as typically being the worst internships, you’re worse than an office aid and having to work all sorts of hours. I was also not able to get any sort of credit for the retail marketing that was my day job.

Subsequently, I didn’t have a lot of chance to actually get significant progress towards that degree program. It was mostly impractical and only would work if I was willing to take out even more exorbitant student loans, or have family money to pay for it (which I didn’t and don’t).

What I have found that like about WSU first off was they have emphasized that they work with students and employers before they leave school, so that real world experience can be obtained early. It seems like common sense, but often is not available at large universities. Experienced Based Learning makes a world of difference, especially when students might not be 100% sure that they want the degree path they’re in line for. In a lot of the courses there are also real-world applications to what is learned. Not all, obviously, but quite a bit can be transposed to the work force.

I am hopeful that I’ll actually be able to finish this degree and move on to a post grad soon. But for now, I’m enjoying the campus and the curriculum. Maybe I’ll get over the fact that they built a multi-million dollar student center and didn’t bother to add bowling lockers eventually. Until then, I’ll be elsewhere.

-Kate Steele

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