“From Prometheus to Press Releases: How Pursuing Uncommon Specializations Can Shift Your Perspective” By Katherine Keber

What do public relations and ancient history have in common? Not much, if you ask most people. But for me, these two disciplines could not be more complimentary to one another. When I was a freshman at OHIO, I planned on picking up a minor in an area adjacent to communication — something like marketing or political science. But when I ended up in a course on ancient Roman political history, I was immediately drawn to the discipline of classics.

I talked to my advisor about my newfound interests in classics and ancient history, unsure of how those classes would fit into my carefully-organized academic plan. I didn’t feel they would benefit my future career as a PR professional or my studies as a journalism major. Now I know how incredibly wrong I was. By pursuing a split specialization in classical civilizations and history, and taking enough courses to earn a minor in each, I’ve become a much more well-rounded communicator. Classes about ancient Greek archaeology, American pop culture in the 60s, and Roman politics have helped me refine my reasoning skills and challenged me to communicate in a different way with my peers and professors. These classes challenge me intellectually and the skills I’m building will be invaluable to me in the workforce.

In my ancient mythology course, for example, we analyzed how myths were told and retold throughout history, with storytellers shaping the story to fit their audience. In my Latin classes, I was challenged to approach reading and writing in an entirely new way. When I took a Roman history course, I learned how to compare ancient public relations to modern methods of communication. In my modern history classes, I’ve been encouraged to analyze the effects of persuasive communication and understand how storytelling can be used to impact public perception.

While these disciplines were never my planned specializations, they’ve become some of the most beneficial subject areas I’ve had the chance to study. I’d encourage anyone considering specializations outside of the norm to pursue disciplines that genuinely excite them — you never quite know what you’ll gain from the experience.

Katherine Keber is a senior studying journalism-strategic communication major with a minor in classical civilizations and history. She is the 2021-22 VP of Visual Communication for Scripps PRSSA. Follow her on Twitter here and on LinkedIn here.

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