Checking in with Sofija Srnić

Caitlin Crawshaw - 7 June 2023

When sociology student Sofija Srnić visited the University calendar in search of options for completing her minor, she spotted the new Media Studies program in the Faculty of Arts that was set to start the following semester. 

“Being a sociology major, I already had a huge interest in how people function in groups, especially online,” she says. “The program seemed like a chance to delve into it a bit deeper.” 

Srnić registered in MST 100 — Introduction to Media Studies — and was immediately taken with the discipline. As she learned about the evolution of communication mediums through human history, from the printing press to the smartphone, Srnić could make connections between the many sociological theories and concepts she’d already learned.

As luck would have it, the start of the program coincided with the arrival of COVID-19 in Canada, and classes went online practically overnight. Srnić found herself learning about concepts like misinformation (incorrect or misleading information) and disinformation (deliberately deceptive information) as these subjects were showing up on social media platforms The pandemic was a fascinating case study happening in real-time and, because of the lockdown, Srnić had plenty of opportunity to observe all manner of social phenomena happening in online spaces.

Even when COVID-19 began to subside, Srnić and her colleagues could wander through social media and spot examples of concepts they were learning in class. 

“I can now pinpoint examples and explain how things are happening in media,” she says, adding that the ability to analyze media critically is a skill she’ll use for the rest of her life: “Technology is at the forefront of how we interact with one another.”

While the pandemic provided unique learning opportunities, it had a significant downside. 

“The first time I got to meet anyone from my cohort in person was in my last semester of classes,” she says. 

For two years, the 15-student cohort had talked online practically every day, so meeting in real life was surreal, at first. In the last two weeks of the program, Srnić realized she’d be the only student in her cohort at the 2022 spring convocation. “That’s a fun little fact I can tell people, ‘I was the very first person to graduate with media studies on my parchment,’ which is so crazy,” she says.

“It was a personal goal of mine to graduate in four years so I could continue post-graduate studies down the line,” she continues. “I achieved this (and subsequently became the first graduate) due to the many elective courses offered online throughout the spring and summer of my second and third years because of COVID.”

In the end, Srnić earned a BA with a double major in both media studies and sociology.

The rest of her class — the very first cohort of the media studies program — convocates on June 7 at spring convocation. Srnić’s excited to see how the program will evolve and what her classmates will do now. 

As for herself, Srnić is now putting her critical media skills to good use in a communications role at a non-profit. She’s also completing a UX/UI design certificate to better understand the principles of designing websites and apps with end users in mind. Srnić is particularly interested in digital accessibility for users with cognitive disabilities and impairments.

At the moment, she’s considering her career options. “What I came to know in the media studies program is that there are so many opportunities coming up that none of us know exist because the technology keeps changing,” she says. “I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into a niche part of the industry when there are so many possibilities.”