Life’s a Beach & I’m Just Playing in the Sand

If I could sum up my college experience at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in one word, it would be: fast.  I have grown up here, and Wilmington has become my home away from home.

My High School Graduation 2008

When I came to Wilmington in the Fall of 2008, I was a shy and naive teenager, fresh out of private school.  My wardrobe was tiny from having to wear uniforms to school from the age of five, and the only thing that I was certain about was that I was so happy to be at the beach.  I have always been an ocean girl and from a young age, my best family vacations involved me, my pink ruffled bikini, and a bucket full of shells.  I knew that as much uncertainty that was occurring in my life, I could rely on the waves to keep crashing on the sand.

A year later, I finally chose my major and decided that my dream of becoming a wedding planner could become a reality with a Communication Studies degree.  All of my professors were so helpful, encouraging me to take the right courses and giving me the tools to be successful, not only within the major, but also in my future career.

College Graduation May 12, 2012

One professor in particular truly made a life changing impact on my college career.  I have taken almost every class she taught, including Integrated Marketing Communication and Public Relations, and have learned incredible lessons not only about communication studies, brand marketing, and social media, but also in how to be successful in the fast approaching “real world”.  I will always remember the day that I first met this professor.  I told her that I wanted to be a wedding and event planner and she giggled while telling me that I had a long way to go before I could say that.  She pushed me to work harder and encouraged me to get involved and get experience so that I would be prepared.  Dr. Jeanne Persuit is an incredible professor and her current and future students could not be more lucky to be learning from the best.  There is no way to express how thankful I am to have been in Dr. Persuit’s classes (and, no, this is not because I have a GIANT project due Thursday – promise!).  But I do know that she will be reading this post, so I’ll say it loud and clear: Thank you for absolutely everything!

During the past four years, I have taken classes, learned amazing life-lessons, and blossomed into a confident, social, and successful woman.  I became involved.  I joined a sorority, made the best of friends, and I even survived COM 400.  And now that I am embarking on an incredible new journey known as adulthood, I still know that one thing will always be certain: the waves will always crash, over and over, on the sand on Wrightsville Beach.

Cheers to the next step!

Love always, Christina Stevenson


UNCW has been my home away from home for the past four years.  The relationships I have made here will be the ones I cherish forever.  Friends and professors taught me more about myself than I think I’ll ever know.  As graduation slowly approaches and the stress of finals suddenly begins to fade, I hope to feel more relaxed and prepared for the world out ahead.  Although it is scary to enter the real world, I will keep my Communication Studies professors in the back of my head. I will carry COM400’s advice and skills with me through each future endeavor I face.  I can now reflect on what I have learned, completely focus on myself, my own goals and how I can achieve them.   I never thought that during freshman orientation I would be walking across the stage as a Communication Studies major wanting to pursue a career in public relations nor did I think it would happen so fast.  I am confident in myself and the things I have accomplished in Wilmington.  I know I have been given the skills I need to reach success.

I faced experiences that have challenged and tested who I am as a person.  I have lost loved ones, moved to California for a year on my own, started new relationships and ended bad ones, and I put myself out there to build my professional portfolio.   It’s crazy that it all comes down to one day, one day where all those trials and tribulations will all come together and show who I have become. It is a moment where I can sit with my peers and laugh about the moments we dreaded.  From COM200 probes to COM400 portfolio presentations, we know we shared those times together and helped each other get to this very moment.  We will be able to celebrate the new beginnings we face and wish each other the best.

Without my UNCW experience and the relationships that I have built among the Department of Communication Studies, I have no clue where in the heck I would be today.  So, for those of you itching to get out of school, take a moment and look around and do not take your college years for granted, for they are the most important years of your life to discover yourself. Cheers to my fellow seniors and what is yet to come!!!


Leanna Marshall