Finally Done!

It’s crazy to think that 5 years ago I entered UNC-Wilmington as a freshman truly believing i knew everything and the funny thing is through all the knowledge I gained in college I now know that I know nothing. As a freshman I often heard seniors saying cliché things like, “enjoy your freshman year because it will be over before you know it” and just like any other freshmen I brushed the advice off. Now that I have friends moving away and beginning to start  their own lives, I too need to start the next chapter in my life.  Alas, I can’t help but wish I had listened to the seniors advice and cherished every moment of my college career. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of being at UNC-Wilmington but the reality is that I’m a senior who is graduating a week from now and reminiscing is not going to bring that time back.

I have to look ahead and start preparing for the future as best I can. The reason for me being a super senior is that I changed my major about a billion times because I was unsure of what I wanted to do.  I was just another typical freshmen, I goofed around for my first 2 years here and wasted a lot of time doing nothing to improve myself while being on the path to not graduate. I had to take a semester off and  took a long look at myself on how to improve myself so that I didn’t make the same mistakes again.  Luckily for me I found a major that really caught my interest and made me want to learn more in Communication Studies. Now I’m bout to graduate in a week and I know that once I leave I’ll be prepared for the challenges facing me out there in the real world, thanks to my professors. So for you undergraduates you got to find your passion or at least something that gives you the motivation to learn. Without that motivation we don’t give ourselves room to improve. Also, get to know your professors! It will make a huge difference in the amount of learning that you can get done over a semester. So goodbye my fellow students, and may you ever soar to your potential.

Gene Lee

And Just Like That… It Is Over

Nine days. Nine days until I graduate from the Department of Communication Studies. Nine days until I graduate from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Nine days.

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Two years ago I transferred to the University of North Carolina Wilmington and felt like a lost puppy. I started my collegiate experience at a tiny college in the mountains of North Carolina that had max 700 students. When I stepped foot onto the campus here I felt overwhelmed and out-of-place. For the first week of classes I carried a campus map around with me. Yes, I was that person. Now, you cannot get me to leave campus. I clock in close to twelve-hour days almost every day and would not have it any other way. This campus and most importantly, this department, have become a part of me.

When I first decided to become a COM major I missed the deadline to register for COM 105 so I decided to write 44898_4007609985004_1192673791_nmy appeal so I could receive an over-ride into the class. I thought that I followed all of Dr. Weber’s strict guidelines but made the one mistake that no COM major should ever make… I wrote ‘Communications Studies’. It was social suicide. Needless to say, I received a very detailed response from Dr. Weber explaining why I would not be getting into the class and how I need to do more research before I claim I want to be a part of this department. Today, I have taken a class with Dr. Weber every semester since taking COM 105 (after I got registered the next semester), completed a DIS (Direct Independent Study) with him and just received the Undergraduate Research Award from him. It is funny how everything comes full circle!

Not only have I thrived within the department but outside of it as well. This past summer I had the experience of a lifetime. I was offered a position as one of twenty-five interns at the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp. This was the opportunity of a lifetime and I was fortunate enough to have the support of my professors Dr. Weber and Dr. Persuit. These professors shared the excitement with me and kept up with me throughout my time up in Pennsylvania, although I am sure Dr. Persuit would have preferred me to have been at the Steelers Training Camp. For a month I was immersed in the culture of the Northeast, the land of WaWa gas stations, where pizzas are called pies, subs are hoagies and people stared at me when I would say “holy cow!” I got to see first hand the behind the scenes process of a professional sports team. The level of organization was amazing and pushed me to work as hard as I possibly could.

Training Camp was held at Lehigh University and we were involved in every aspect of it. We started our journey together by completely setting up camp prior to the arrival of the rookie players. Once rookies arrived we had close to fourteen hour days. We started our days around 5:45am, worked morning practice, had a lunch break, worked afternoon practice and then were able to leave once everything was broken down and all players were back in the locker room. Veterans arrived a week after the rookies and I was so thankful for their arrival at camp because that meant filet mignon and lobster tails in the dining hall! I could singly handedly write this entire blog on the food I ate at training camp but will end this little tid bit with your mouth watering as you think about the jumbo shrimp, king crab legs, and monsterous lobster tails that we consumed daily. Hungry yet?

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Because of my strong communication skills my boss put me at the Welcome Tent for the afternoon practice. The afternoon practice was the busiest because it was full pads for two plus hours every day. Training Camp drew in close to 7,000 fans daily and I was the first person they came in contact with upon their arrival. My job was to be in constant contact with my boss over the radio, make the fans feel welcome and get them excited about being at camp.

When I came back to “civilian life” as I called it, I felt like a changed person. All of my COM classes prepared me for that experience. I utilized my interpersonal and small group skills but also conflict resolution because some fans were not so friendly. I know, hard to believe for Philadelphia fans. After interning with the Eagles I am a much more confident communicator and know what it takes to complete tasks and complete them well. This experience has opened up a whole new world for me. My professors have a strong level of trust in me. I have been fortunate enough to represent the department while meeting Provost Battles, help with media training and be a part of an amazing DIS project.

Although entering the ‘real world’ is nerve-wracking, I feel 100% prepared for this next step. I will be a temporary employee in the Seahawk Sports Marketing Department here at UNCW and feel fortunate to have such a wonderful job with wonderful bosses.

To wrap things up my advice to all of you is to embrace everything this major has to offer. You never know what direction it can take you and it is up to you to make the most of it. Two years ago I would have never imagined that I would be the person I am today. Thank you to all of my family, friends and professors who have helped to mold me into a strong and confident individual. I look forward to hearing what great things everyone comes to accomplish and staying in touch with the professors who I can never thank enough for all they have done. Remember your Seahawk roots and Dare to Soar in everything you do.

-Caroline Merrill

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Stop, Watch, and Read.

Before reading this blog we ask you to watch this entire music video, listen to the lyrics, and hear the artist’s message.

What do you think? Tell us. We honestly want to know. For us, this video resonated with so much we have learned in our IMC classes with Dr. Persuit. The first time we saw it, we found ourselves instantly clicking replay. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have created a masterpiece in our completely unprofessional opinion. It is hard to quit being awestruck. We will stop the raving now and get to the good stuff.

This song delves into the difficulty many young people face today in navigating our consumerist cultures. Specifically, the song is dissecting the obsessive sneaker culture. Ben Haggerty, a.k.a. Macklemore, raps about his fascination with shoes. He explicitly mentions Nike, and Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman of the 15.9 billion dollar brand. In this interview, Macklemore gives insight into what his thought process was in writing the song. He started out simply wanting to write a song about shoes, and ended up evaluating the consequences of the consumerist culture brand names have created.

Some of Macklemore's personal shoe collection.

Some of Macklemore’s personal shoe collection.

In the interview Macklemore explains that he still considers himself a “sneakerhead,” and even compares his urge to consume with his struggle with drug addiction. He states, “I think, in the background of the sneaker culture, there is this lust and addiction for more and more and more. You know, new colors, new versions of shoes and this desire for more to consume.” He is right, and the reality is this type of lust and addiction isn’t reserved solely for shoes in our culture as a whole. I mean, we all have that friend who couldn’t believe their iPhone 5 took a whole three days to arrive after the release, or that friend who won’t wear any clothing that isn’t brand name. Macklemore jokes on our culture’s obsession with brand name clothing in his song, Thrift Shop. (We think this song is worth a listen too.)

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis bring attention to such an interesting issue with the song “Wings” because they are not only discussing the addiction to shoes, they are also discussing the underlying issue of crime in the sneaker culture. The lyrics “my friend Carlos’ brother got murdered for his Fours” were written into the song because the event actually occurred. Macklemore lived in an area where the cultural obsession over brands paved the way to crime and theft. He explained, “I got a Starter jacket in third grade, but you had to be careful wearing a Starter jacket, and you had to be careful with which neighborhood you were in while wearing Jordans.” The brands people wore made them targets. Yet, they still paid money for these name brands. This shouldn’t be made to seem like a thing of the past either. This article from the Washington Post briefly details an incident that occurred only a few days ago. A student was robbed of his Nike Air Jordan 7 Retro Olympic Edition basketball shoes.

So, what does this all mean? Is Macklemore calling for Nike to cease production? Not in the least. Macklemore still buys Nike shoes, as we mentioned he labeled himself a sneakerhead. The writer himself explains, “this song was my attempt to break down my own, conflicted interest in the sneaker culture.” It is admirable and difficult to critically analyze culture you are heavily involved in as Macklemore did with the sneaker culture. It is something that we should all strive to do in our own habits as consumers.

Here is what we would like to leave you with before our time writing for the IMCHawk ends: Think before you consume. Analyze the messages you might be sending by the brands you are wearing and using. Realize that consuming doesn’t equate to happiness. The song is correct in saying our dreams are sold to us, “consumption is in the veins.” Our dreams in life shouldn’t be based on the possessions we hope to one day have. As Dave Eggers writes, “the greatest use of a human was to be useful. Not to consume, not to watch, but to do something for someone else that improved their life, even for a few minutes.” Keep Calm and Consume Thoughtfully.

- Alexandra HussCaroline MerrillAlyssa MorrelloLauren Van TrigtDann Williams

Some Parting Tips for Graduates

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Graduating college means moving on to a new and unknown phase of your life. There are many things that seniors and college graduates should keep in mind when entering the job market. In recent years, employers have been asking their potential employees to provide their Facebook password. This occurrence has been limited, but it demonstrates how one should be mindful of their social media usage, since much of what is on the internet may commonly become public knowledge. In fact, it is important to keep in mind that what may have been considered acceptable in college may be seen as inappropriate in the workplace. Along with this notion, graduates should be mindful of the fact that in today’s business world appearance DOES matter and this is often considered one of the main factors that determines being hired or not. In fact, appearances and professionalism play a crucial role when assessing one’s competence and overall attitude. As graduation rates are rising, college students are faced with a higher amount of competition in the job market. Differentiating yourself from other applicants and making a positive first impression is often what makes the difference. Communication skills are also in fact very important qualities that are desired in all job fields, and are often associated with professionalism.

One way to make a distinction from other job applicants is to have a thoughtful, well-constructed resume with you. Having an interesting and structured resume is very important, considering your resume is a huge part of the first impression you give. College graduates must realize that when applying for jobs, the selection process is almost always based off of resumes alone; face to face interaction will come later if the applicant is lucky. A resume should not be a puzzle for the person making the hiring decisions; mislaid pieces are warning signs or “red flags” to most employers. A resume is basically a published story of your previous school and work experiences. When creating your resume, concentrate mainly on the past highlights and most recent and relevant work experience; this will make it easier for the person analyzing your resume to see what true ambitions you uphold, as well as evaluate your awareness of the potential job’s requirements and responsibilities. Being descriptive and very detail oriented in your writing will show to prospective employers that you are sincere in what you say. Having a strong and confident start to your resume can will readers a detailed concept of your background knowledge and expertise right off the bat. Placing your top achievements and experiences at the beginning of your resume will ensure that they are looked over. If your resume has multiple pages, and/or the recruiter has a large amount of other resumes to evaluate, he/she may take a look at your first page and then go on to the next applicant; having this information stated first should catch the reader’s eye and leave a strong impression embedded in their mind throughout the rest of the application process. College students applying for jobs must sell themselves through the use of a resume if they truly want to be recognized and leave an impact on their prospective employers.

Overall, graduating college is a huge transition. Although it may seem a bit scary to some, it can also be a very exciting and rewarding time. Graduates just need to keep in mind that the real world is a little different than college, and has less room for error; however, if graduates think before they act and make smart decisions, they are creating the foundation for a successful future.

Sasha De VecchiLindsay GallagherJay ReillyCary Welborn

Final Thoughts as the Semester Comes to a Close

People say the older that you get, the quicker time flies. I, for one, have to agree. Today marks the last week of the semester, which means this is my very last time writing a blog post. The end of the fall semester is a very bittersweet time for most of us students; finishing school with the holidays approaching is exciting, but finishing up final projects and studying for final exams is definitely stressful. This semester flew by and I literally feel as if I was just begging Dr. Persuit to let me into her Integrated Marketing Communication 2 class, when in reality, that was nearly five months ago in August. Where does the time go? And how is it possibly December already?

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After taking Dr. Persuit’s introductory IMC class, I knew I definitely wanted to take her again. It was much to my dismay when the class quickly filled up and it looked as though I would not get in. However, after e-mailing her several times, she told everyone who did not register to just come to the first day of class and she would override it for us. I was so relieved! Although, at the same time, I was also kind of scared. Dr. Persuit had warned us several times that this class is no joke and if we are not serious about it, we should drop it. She, however, did not scare me off and I’m truthfully glad for that fact.

IMC 2 is unlike any other class that I have ever taken because it truly feels less like a class, and more like an internship. Every class I have ever taken before has consisted mainly of lectures, exams, and the occasional group work. IMC 2, however, is the first class for me that nixed the lectures and exams, and focused mainly on group and client work. Although it has been intimidating and stressful at times, in the long run, I have learned so much. Being the control freak that I am, I like to have intense structure in my life so that I can make plans and execute goals. I am not one to change plans once I make them. While this class does have structure, it also has wild unpredictability when it comes to working with our specified clients. This was something that was very challenging for me, because I have never had to deal with sudden change in plans when it came to school or work. It sounds crazy for me to say, because in reality, there is so much change and unpredictability in the world. I’ve learned that in order to be successful, I need to let go of all prior expectations and adjust them accordingly.

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I feel like I have truly gained real life experience and I am so appreciative of that. I love how different this class is set up and I love how Dr. Persuit is adamant about preparing us for life after we graduate UNCW. Although this semester is coming to an end and I am super excited for the holidays, I really will miss this class.

Thanks for making it so memorable Dr. Persuit!

- Rachel Betterbid