Why I Majored in Media Studies

The Pomona College Media Studies Podcast explores what Media Studies is, why it matters, and the experiences of the people who study it at Pomona. Listen to episodes about the Media Studies Capstone Project, as well as what Media Studies is via the Media Studies 101 episode.

Philycius Oey ’26

Storytelling is the foundation of the human experience. From the stories we tell ourselves to cautionary tales passed down from generation to generation, making meaning of the world has been a universal human endeavor from the start. Society today, however, is unrecognizable from its humble beginnings—and, far more complicated. Instead of straightforward stories with a clear beginning and end, we are presented narratives with seemingly no conclusion: Silver-tongued politicians dancing around issues rather than taking a stance on them, corporate-owned news publications covering wars that never end, and Hollywood executives milking superhero films while setting the stage for endless sequels.

Growing up in such a world where consuming content is my default mode of operation, I always questioned my deservedness as an Asian American in spaces like Hollywood, places where our only position seemed to be spots saved for those willing to play stereotypical roles. So when I took Intro to Media Studies with Professor Jennifer Friedlander, I knew right away that I needed to double major in media studies and theatre; not only to become a conscientious and conscious consumer, but also a producer.

As an aspiring Asian American actor, I fell in love with how the media studies major blends theory, history, and practice. Through theory classes, you learn how to approach media from a critical perspective, and considering we consume media every day, your daily approach to life changes as you learn to take a step back and question, rather than blindly accept, stories others present to you. Then, through practical classes like Intro to Video Art with Ann Kaneko, you learn how to produce media with special attention to content and form.

By majoring in media studies, you not only become a better media consumer, but a better storyteller: uncovering untold stories and questioning not your own deservedness in a space, but why you were never there in the first place.