4 Years, 4 Majors, and 26 Floors Later, A Girl Figures it Out

by Maria Benedetti, Class of 2015

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Benedetti visiting Tuscany during a semester abroad

When I walked out of my last job interview, confident that I had done my best, I knew I had my Media Studies experience, in part, to thank.  Back in February, I began the painful process of applying for jobs for after graduation, but it was usually to no avail. Still, I started early and remained hopeful.  One day over Easter, last minute plans with a friend of a friend led somewhere unexpected.  I showed up to lunch, dressed almost-professionally, feeling a bit out of place with the suits all around me.

I was meeting with the director of marketing at an accounting firm, BBD in Philadelphia.  I thought nothing of it—she was a distant friend, a wonderful mentor, but her company had no positions.  Still, I felt hopeful because she was so charismatic. She talked about the company with such passion.  It became clear that this would be a great place to work.  I could learn about accounting and corporate communications, I thought.  I began to think about what I could say to her to convey this.  It was then that I reflected back, while strategically taking a bite of my salad to give myself a moment to think, on my Media Studies major.  It’s sort of a random major in a lot of ways, and I found, through so many interviews, that people were always asking me what exactly it was.  I usually gave some stock answer, but I wanted to impress this woman.  I thought about all I had learned, and I offered something along the lines of: my Media Studies degree means that I’m adaptable.

Since our one hour meeting turned into a two hour lunch, I was late for my train.  Typical, I laughed to myself. As soon as I was out of sight of the office, I sprinted to the elevator and rode it down the 26 floors, ears popping all the way. I thought, I could do this every day. I could walk to Independence Hall and have lunch. I could go to cycling classes after work. I could meet locals walking their dogs. It’s true that I needed to sprint to make my train, but I might have started running anyway with all the excitement building about the potential career I could see in my future.  As I sat on the train out of breath, shedding my blazer, I smiled.  I made the train last minute and I might have landed a job too.

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Benedetti, second from right

I visited Catholic University for the first time when I was just a junior in high school.  That was six years ago now.   I remember thinking I wanted to do Media Studies. It seemed somehow glamorous. I went to Dr. McKenna’s presentation on the major and I was hooked. He talked passionately about things I never thought I could care so much about, and showed us a list of some impressive internships students had gotten.

But, here’s the problem with me: as soon as I think I have something figured out, I start thinking it’s too good to be true, second guessing myself, and choosing a different path.  I did it the day of my interview in a simpler way—I was dressed, ready, and confident an hour early so I sat there, a ball of nerves, until ten minutes before when I decided I needed to change my outfit. I did this five years ago with my major. I applied to CUA as a Media Studies major, started freaking out, and changed my major four times before landing back on Media Studies at the last possible second sophomore year of college. I’m totally crazy. The point is, I got where I needed to be.

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Benedetti visiting the UK during a semester abroad

Before I knew it, I was that cool student with the cool internships. Maybe Dr. McKenna would add my name to his presentation, I thought.  I worked at a science museum, a marketing firm, and at CUA. I owe all of those experiences to my ability to adapt, which I had all along, though I couldn’t put it into words until the day of my job interview. Media Studies concerns a lot of topics. We learn the history of the telegraph, but also how to set up lighting for films. We learn about the sophists, but also about Marxism. I mean, I’ve had class discussions on terrorism, documentaries, Freud, The Godfather, and Marlboro cigarette advertisements. This is what I mean by adaptability: I can have a conversation about so many things in the context of the media.  I was honestly able to tell the woman at my interview that I knew a little about a lot, and I was willing to learn to fill in any gaps in between.

I got a job with the accounting firm. On June 2, I will ride the elevator up those 26 floors and go to work. Of course, this will be after having changed my outfit five times and subsequently having to sprint for the train. But hey, I get some sort of weird enjoyment out of giving myself plenty of time, only to rush at the very end.  It worked for me when choosing my major, after all.

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