Auburn Family

Classes That Students Fear and Dread: Every Major Has Them

Think for a second about the major you have chosen and about the curriculum it requires. For every major there is, at least, one class - maybe two - where rumors of the difficulty of the classes spread fear and dread among students. These classes are feared by people every semester, but it turns out these classes are often the most beneficial classes required. 

The AP Stylebook is the standard
for journalism and PR students.

For public relations majors, there are specific classes that come to mind. The first is a class called Journalism 1100 or Journalism Fundamentals. This class is the fear factor class amongst the underclass PR majors. Everyone has fear scared into them when hearing about the requirements and the details of the course.

This course’s focus is the AP Style Book which is a need-to-know, no getting around it book for our field of work.  AP Style is centered on proper grammar, spelling, and word usage. With this said, Journalism 1100 requires two rounds of three tests. One test is a spelling test in which you have 900 words to study and a select 100 are actually on the test. Words have to be spelled correctly and have the appropriate punctuation and capitalization to receive full credit. The other two tests are grammar related and require a full edit of the text provided.

One of many study guides for JRNL 1100.

There is a catch, though, a grade of 83 or higher is required on every test in order to move on to in-major courses. So, even if a student receives a passing grade, but does not receive an 83 or above on all three tests during one of the rounds, then he or she will have to retake the course.

Fellow PR student Rylee Parsons said, “Journalism fundamentals is a tough course, but in the PR field, or any journalism field, it will benefit you throughout your career. I can’t think of a class or internship (where) I haven’t had to use AP style.”

This class is pertinent for anyone that plans to do any writing in his or her field of work. AP style is the most important thing there is for professional writers, and learning AP style is a must.

The second class that intimidates every PR student is the oh-so-scary, Style and Design. 

PRProspects.me is the archive of
many past semesters of final projects
from Style & Design, PRCM 4020.

Style and Design is all the talk amongst the upperclassmen PR students. It is a capstone course for seniors that compiles everything that has been learned from previous classes. Students are terrified of this course all because of rumors.

The truth is, the class is hard but it is not impossible. People take it and pass it every semester. They key to taking this class is not getting behind. Procrastination will inevitably lead to failing. There are copious amounts of work to be done in this course including drafting weekly articles for news outlets with sources and quotes, as well as building an online digital resume and portfolio using HTML & CSS.

This class exists to prepare outgoing seniors for the “real world.” It seeks to prepare with its heavy workload and expected individual responsibilities. There is so much to be done, and it is up to each student to get it done. There are few checkpoints throughout the semester, but the professor offers generous amounts of lab hour sessions that students are expected to take advantage of throughout the semester.

One Auburn PR student who has already taken this course, Lindsay Mackey explains her thoughts,

“Style and Design can be very stressful, but I learned invaluable things that I will be able to use in any future career. Every job I’ve applied to either requires or prefers skills in HTML and CSS and anything dealing with Adobe Creative Cloud. I think that taking this class was incredibly beneficial and will continue to help Auburn students stand out to future employers.”

These types of classes, the feared ones, exist in every major, but the best thing to do is push through them and then later benefit from their value.

(Images are screenshots of web pages associated with each class. Click each image to visit the website.)


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