Updated: Mar 19
The long-awaited NUS Open Day has officially come to an end!
Are you an incoming freshman considering if you should take up Communications and New Media (CNM) as your major? Or perhaps a current NUS student hesitating whether you should take that NM module you’ve been eyeing for quite a while now?
You’re not alone! Many of us can relate to the worries and dilemmas you might be currently facing. More often than not, many of our faculty peers have been through the same process of figuring out their passions, or perhaps, just life in general. We know how this can be rather stressful and trying something new out of your comfort zone is never easy. One can sometimes feel lost in navigating the complexities of the decision-making process before arriving to a conclusion.
Not to worry, CNMTypes is here to help you by providing more information, which we hope can help facilitate your decision-making process.
CNM falls under Social Sciences, and spans across multiple disciplines equipping students with the lens to be cognizant of communication phenomena that tends to be overlooked in our everyday lives. Under the newly merged College of Humanities and Sciences (CHS), freshmen are allowed to explore the various different majors in both FASS and FOS before settling on a decision. Click here for more to know more about the CHS curriculum!
In this article, we catch up with some of our CNM seniors to find out what they are up to, as they share with us some of their highlights as NUS CNM students!
CNMTypes: Welcome to this informal chit chat session! Could you tell us more about yourself and what a day-in-the-life of an NM student could possibly look like?
Vanilla: Hello everyone! My name is Vanilla (yes, legitimately. And no, my siblings aren’t also named after flavours). I’m a Y2 CNM and Political Science major! I love cats, I’m a huge swiftie and I just turned 22!
Well, my days vary a lot! There are definitely peak periods with many deadlines coupled with hall commitment. However, these days I've been taking it easy. I wake up around 8.30am, then I’ll head to the dining hall to get breakfast before going down to Central Library (CLB) to take my lectures and study.
Recently, I've been trying to get out of the bad habit of burning the midnight oil by starting revisions early. Otherwise, outside of academics, it’s a jam-packed schedule of Hall CCAs and dance classes.
Brian: Hello I’m Brian, a year 2 Communications and New Media major, minoring in Business Administration. A typical day for me starts at 9am! I eat breakfast at home and prepare for lectures that start at 10am. If I do manage to wake up earlier, I will usually travel to school where my friends and I love to study. We tend to study at places like the Education Resource Centre (ERC) or U-Town Starbucks, which offers air-conditioning and a respite from the sweltering heat. Towards the end of the day, I will usually wind down with some of my favourite shows. (I recently finished Peacemaker and found it extremely entertaining hehe)
Brandon: Hi everyone! I’m Brandon, a Y2 CNM major with a minor in Biz Management. I might be in the minority here but I love coming to school early in the morning (like 8am early…) Maybe it’s the zoom fatigue speaking but being on campus really helps me get into the ‘oh, i’m actually in uni’ mood. Also, grabbing an iced coffee before heading for class is such a #vibe sometimes! Some of my favourite places to hang out in school are UTown and CLB (great places to study as well). When I’m not feeling the books, I like to go out and explore cafés as a way to destress!
P.S. CNM rarely has sit-down exams, they’re mostly projects and assignments, so it’s a lil less stressful imo :) (rumour has it that NM kids tend to also end finals earlier than others)
CNMTypes: What is something you've been into recently? E.g. Projects, Personal Growth, Hobbies?
Vanilla: I took a floral arrangement workshop with my best friend last semester, and I've been obsessed with fresh flowers ever since!
Picture credit: LocalGuide.co
Brian: I made a resolution to get fitter and started gymming at least once a week on top of taking regular jogs to relieve stress! Besides my fitness goals, I’m an avid fan of karaoke and recently started picking up the design of user interfaces such as websites through my previous internship position.
Brandon: I’ve been working more on my writing and photography these days! I always had the idea of doing a lifestyle or food blog and finally got around to start creating the content for it!! Been trying to keep a somewhat consistent fitness routine too, a definite must for a foodie :”)
Picture credit: Danielfooddiary.com
CNMTypes: Vanilla, I understand that you’re doing a double major. How did you decide on Political Science and NM?
Vanilla: I’ve always been described as noisy and opinionated, so Political Science and NM seemed to fit the bill nicely. Jokes aside, I think that politics have a very important role in shaping the way our lives pan out, from policy decisions, our family systems and even just generally being aware of humanitarian issues. Even though politics can be seen as intimidating, it is actually just as fascinating as it reaches into every small crevice of our lives. I also think that politics and the media we consume have very large overlaps, and that's what interests me the most–– the relationship and interaction between ideology and creative content, especially in our hyper-media saturated environment.
CNMTypes: What about you Brian? How did you settle on NM as your major of choice?
Brian: What attracted me to CNM was its versatility and currency in the world. Given that we are surrounded by media outlets that spread information to us, learning digital literacy has really made me a lot more conscious about the information presented to me, allowing me to better filter out fake news. Furthermore, as someone who is an avid consumer of written and visual media, CNM seemed like a perfect fit for me! I was also attracted to the industry-relevant skills that CNM provides, such as learning to construct public-relation campaigns or design skills in adobe suite. The modules available in CNM really prepares you for a wide array of jobs, from being a UI/UX designer, to being a part of the marketing industry or to work in other communications-related jobs!
CNMTypes: Could you briefly share with us some modules you have taken thus far?
Brian: Some of the notable modules I have taken so far are NM2104, NM2219 and NM3217. In NM2104, I learned about qualitative research such as ethnography, that helps researchers to interpret big data sets and numerical statistics. In NM2219, I learned to craft public relation campaigns and one of the biggest takeaways from the module was learning more about the field of public relations and how it can be applied to many real-world case studies. Lastly in NM3217, I learned to use design softwares. Learning design was definitely a new experience for me as I have never even touched such software previously. This gifted me with a newfound respect for designers as I learned about the design of everyday objects and how much thought goes into it.
Brandon: In all honesty, the NM core modules will definitely seem a little dry at the start but not to worry, once you start taking the Level 2000/3000 modules, they get infinitely more engaging!! Some mods that really stuck with me are NM2220 and NM3217. For NM2220, it’s a great mod for those interested in journalism and media writing. The professor has lots of experience that she often shares with the class and there are tons of opportunities to try writing out different styles for different mediums. Similar to what Brian shared, NM3217 focuses on communication design and they teach us how to use Adobe softwares like Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Even if you’re not the most creative person (like me), it’s a great chance to learn these skills and the tutors are extremely friendly which makes it a lot easier to pick things up.
CNMTypes: Tell us your favourite mod! Or perhaps, what is one module you would recommend to people interested in NM/ your area of interest?
Vanilla: I loved NM2224! It delved deeply into the value of creativity within our society and the way it ties into our economy through different time periods. It was very enlightening, and helped me to understand that NM was a course that goes beyond just the general study of communication within our traditional understanding, like Public Relations or Journalism. Intrinsically, it is about all the ways we connect with each other and how that plays out on a societal level. I think my main takeaway from that module was a better understanding of our media culture through the decades. Overall, it helped to tie in my knowledge from the core/theoretical modules very nicely.
Brian: I really enjoyed taking NM2219, “Principles Of Communication Management”, where I learned the different strategies behind Public Relation campaigns as well as crisis management by different firms. Besides strategies, I also learned the theories behind persuasion and framing of messages, which were greatly insightful for me to understand how media is able to influence our everyday lives. Furthermore, the tutorials in this module were really engaging and offered debate sessions on public relation case studies. If you’re someone that has always been intrigued by advertisements or even social media campaigns online, do check this module out! It will offer many insights into the virality of campaigns, showing why some messages are more persuasive than others.
CNMTypes: What are some of your career aspirations in the near future and how has CNM equipped you with relevant skill sets?
Brian: Some of my career aspirations in the near future include learning more about the world of corporate communications and exploring the field of marketing! So far CNM has equipped me with the necessary theories, copy-writing skills as well as design skills in order for me to achieve my career aspirations!
Brandon: Honestly, I haven’t fully settled on what I wanna do in future, but I think that’s what’s great about CNM! It covers such wide range that it really allows you to explore different areas of interest - whether it’s journalism writing or graphic design or maybe even Public Relations (PR)! Thankfully the mods that we have here also help us to develop these individual skills, so I’m not too worried!
CNMTypes: One final question! Do you have any nuggets of wisdom to share with the person reading this article?
Vanilla: Some peers fall into the trap of solely taking ‘useful’ or ‘relevant’ modules for the workforce such as a graphic/UX design or coding (e.g. NM2207) modules, but could be unaware of the rigour and demands of the mod. I would say: Learn those skills in your free time, else the semester may be quite hard to catch-up without any prior knowledge for many, and do take mods you genuinely enjoy! Remember that learning is a process and there is virtue in doing something you love instead of just hopping on the bandwagon!
Brian: Even though grades are an indicator of your success in learning the content taught within a module, I don’t believe in letting your grades define your success! At the end of the day, University is a place for us to learn new skills and is our final chapter in education before going out into the workforce. Thus, I believe in approaching modules with a positive and opportunist mindset, one that pushes us to try and learn new things. Don’t be afraid to fail and just learn as much as you can! Of course, make many friends along the way - HAVE FUN!
Brandon: Go for it! If something interests you or you just wanna try something for fun, whether it’s a CCA or a mod, I’ll say go for it! There’s only so much time we have in university and we gotta make the most out of it before stepping into the working world! Don’t be afraid to do it just because it’s not the most popular path or the most ‘successful’ one. You get to define your own life and you are all doing great! :-)
CNMTypes: Thank you all for sharing with us your insights!
We hope this article gives you an authentic peek into what life is like for an NUS CNM student! If you have more questions regarding the various modules, or just the major in general, do continue to follow our CNMTypes page and stay tuned for more!