I wasn’t always going to be a communication major. Originally, I was going to major in biology, go to medical school and do something in orthopedics. It wasn’t that I was passionate about science but that I wanted to help people, and the idea of being a doctor appealed to me.It wasn’t until I took chemistry II in high school that I realized what a bad idea that might be for me. I didn’t like chemistry at all, and I realized that I should probably go into something that I enjoyed, so I decided to switch midway through my senior year.
It was the right decision, but I didn’t know how I would help people with communication.
It wasn’t until I had been involved with The Globe and The Record for a while that I started to see the positive impact communication could have on people.
Radio is interesting because you have a live audience of thousands of people, but you don’t get to see any of them. It’s easy to forget about the people on the other side of the microphone, but occasionally there are reminders.
One reminder comes from our phone line, where people can call into the studio. As time has passed I’ve begun to recognize phone numbers and started to get to know the regulars. One regular listener stands out to me as someone who is affected by the work I do in communication.
This guy calls in sometimes multiple times a day. He listens to The Globe constantly. He loves it.
I had a realization recently that he doesn’t have a lot going for him. He called in and the conversation segued from song requests to what was going on with him, and I realized that most days his only companion is The Globe. He turns The Globe on because he likes the music, but he stays because he likes the presence of the personalities.
It made me step back and think about the work I was doing. Suddenly there was a new meaning to radio and communication in general.
I see this same thing with The Record: people who take the time out of their busy lives to write opinion articles because of issues that they are passionate about; people who write features on those who don’t get enough recognition or credit; people who take photographs and people who love seeing themselves in the newspaper.
When I came to Goshen College, I was surprised — in a good way — to see the response the students give to The Record. Students genuinely (seem to) enjoy reading it and interacting with the authors and editors. Contributors, writers, sources, and photographers: all get excited to see their names in the byline. And they should be! It’s a very cool thing.
I ignored communication for too long because I felt like it didn’t have enough value, both for me as a communicator and for others as an audience. I’ve been able to take a step back and realize the value of seeing how my time on the radio, articles and photographs impact real people.
It’s a different kind of help, one that doesn’t involve surgeries or prescription or bedside care, but it’s one that I’ve been able to find a lot of value in. The reality of our lives is that without communication, they’re pretty boring. Giving people something to care about, to be entertained by and to be informed by has proven to be valuable. Life is better when we share stories.