Sandra Chen, March 9th, 2020

What is MCVA? If you had asked me that question in my first month here at Pace, I would have definitely answered, “I don’t know.” I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that it stood for the Media, Communications, and Visual Arts department, or that it is the best department on campus. It’s absolutely mindblowing just how much can change in one semester.  I have grown not only as a student, but a person as well.


As a first generation student, I had high expectations for myself to excel in college and make my parents proud. That began with figuring out what major I wanted to go into. How do you choose what you want to pursue for the rest of your life? It’s not easy, at all. After deciding to be a part of the MCVA department as a communications major, I set out to reach my goals. I learned that doing so is easier said than done. I had to really step out of my comfort zone.  If you’re an introvert like me, you would understand just how difficult it can be sometimes.

I was lucky enough to have a friend who attended Pace already and was pursuing the same major that I was. She gave me lots of information about professors, classes, and clubs. In addition, she answered the millions of questions I had. She was the first connection I made within the department and little did I know that would result in many more connections I would soon form.

Being involved with the MCVA department is really what strengthened my decision to pursue communications as my major. Communications is such a broad major that it allows me to explore many of my interests such as advertising, public relations, film, etc… In one year, I have already gained practical skills that can benefit me in the real world, and feel more confident networking with others.

I enrolled in Introduction to Public Relations my first semester and, honestly, I did not know what I was getting into. They say, “try new things in college,” though, right? Good thing that I did, I ended up loving it. I learned how to utilize visual tools like Canva to make graphics, the importance of public relations, and built a relationship with a great professor.

One of my favorite things about this department is having a small class size with about 18 students. You’re able to receive hands-on learning from faculty who truly care about your success. They know you by name and will answer any questions you have, whether you want to ask it in class or privately. Even outside the classroom, they are willing to help you however they can. I have never met a professor who just willingly gives you their cell phone number, and tells you to contact them at any time. These professors are the best people to guide you in discovering your inner passions and strengths.

When they say you discover yourself in college, it is really true. Being in the MCVA department has shown me all the areas of interests I can excel in. The friendly environment and people I am surrounded by have truly helped me boost my self-esteem. I went from being the girl who freezes when she’s put on the spot, to the girl who raises her hand immediately when she wants to voice something. Having strong verbal and presentation skills will help you in the workforce and I am glad that I feel comfortable enough to speak up. Professors and classmates don’t judge you if you’re wrong, they help you improve. Although it is a competitive world, choosing to collaborate with others will be better for you in the long run.

Speaking of working with others, the clubs of the MCVA department are definitely worth joining. I have helped plan events, created new friendships, and learn more about the department by attending weekly club meetings. The times when the clubs meet are very flexible; if you can’t make it, don’t worry!  There’s always a way for you to help out. I always look forward to them and never look at it as an obligation. I didn’t even know you could be so involved as a freshman, by having so many opportunities outside of class.

Entrance One is a student-run PR agency on campus that is open to all majors, and I have truly had a lot of fun participating in all the events we plan for the department. The advisors of this club really let the students take charge, and are there to work with us side by side through the whole process of planning each event. It also feels like you are getting the inside scoop of the department and what’s going on. I have to say, the free pizza at the meetings is definitely a plus as well. It is also during common hour, which is convenient since everyone’s schedules are different and they want you to be involved.

I still remember my first time attending a meeting. I kind of just sat to the side, listening to the discussions. As I attended more meetings, I slowly began to share more of my ideas and became more involved. I didn’t feel pressure from other students who had more experience, but was inspired and encouraged by them. Entrance One is only one of the many clubs within the MCVA department. I highly encourage you to join student organizations, especially ones related to your major. They give you the opportunity to gain skills that benefit you in school, career, and in life.

Everyone’s experience may be different, but the opportunities in the MCVA department are limitless. You might not have the exact journey as I did, but you can create your own and be on a great path to success. As everyone knows, being a freshman can be very intimidating, but you really have to put yourself out there. I have been a part of the MCVA department here at Pace for over a semester already, and I absolutely can not wait to continue getting involved and having fun while learning.

Whether you are into film, public relations, communications, art, digital journalism, or are even undecided, join the MCVA department to explore your options and gain new experiences. You may just discover a hidden talent within yourself. I have been in your shoes, as a person who did not know what they wanted to do, and I have probably asked the same questions you are thinking of. Just know there are so many resources in the department that can help answer those questions, including me. I want to give back to others just like how my friend had helped me, and I hope to be your first connection within the department!

Sandra Chen is a sophomore Communications major and is pursuing a minor in Public Relations. She is currently Secretary of Asian Student Union, Interim Treasurer of Entrance One  and a member of HER Campus. Sandra is expected to graduate in 2023.