I Guess I’ll Try Out This Thing Called Life

Well, that’s it my friends.  Yesterday I took my last exam, donned my best Don Draper power suit, and saluted my undergraduate experience with one last presentation.  The feeling of finality didn’t really have a chance to set in because the exhaustion was fighting for most of my attention, but today has been a different story.  Four years ago I came to the Dub looking to break out of my small-town Georgia bubble and become the next big thing in the movie-making world.  It took me one introductory course in film studies to realize it wasn’t the thing for me, but what freshman actually knows what they want to do anyway?!

So I spent my first year meeting new people from all over the world (here’s my shout-out to my I-House family), taking spontaneous road trips, and experiencing the best that my new home by the beach had to offer. If we’re being honest, I was thankful for a little time to just exist before I nailed down my major and had to think about growing up.

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I had no idea what COM Studies was, but thanks to one Jessica Ferrer, I stumbled upon the major and here we are.  I will always remember my freshman year when my good friend (and the best I-house DR) told me he could see me making impressive, impactful commercials.  Actually, I did forget it for a while, until a couple of years later when I found myself taking marketing and advertising classes within the COM department, and realized I’d finally found my niche in the world of creative advertising.  Thanks for that one, Rob!

The courses I took over my last two years (many of which were taught by Dr.Persuit) challenged me more than any I’d encountered so far, and showed me how much I really had to offer.  I knew I’d never be happy in any career that didn’t allow me to apply my creativity every day, and my department has taken me down a path of finally discovering what career I’m passionate about.  Now I’ve started to build a portfolio and I’m sending out resumes, and suddenly the real world is upon me.

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I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for my experiences at this school.  The people I met as an Orientation Leader and Resident Assistant, the friendships I developed in my classes, and all of the unplanned adventures helped me to grow and prepared me for all the changes yet to come.  As I start to pack my things and (hopefully) nail down a new job and new apartment in a new city in the next few weeks, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this place and all the amazing people and memories I get to take with me.

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So, final remarks in my final blog? Persuit’s students of the future… take good care of this blog, you have big shoes to fill if I do say so myself!

Farewell and Happy Graduation class of 2013!

- Ally Walton

Time to Fly…

As I sit down to write my Senior post, I am baffled. Where did the time go? It seems as though it was just yesterday I was leaving home, off to start a new chapter of my life in a new city by myself. At the same time, that could have been a lifetime ago. I’m the oldest child, so going off to college was a big step for everyone in my family. Everything I knew about the impending four years was either hearsay or invention. Those four years changed me in ways I can’t fully describe. UNCW has since become my home; the people I’ve met have become my family.

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Freshman year I was placed in Belk, the all girls dorm. There I met some girls who are today my best friends (bonding, of course, over how none of us wanted to be in an all-girls dorm!) I came to UNCW knowing I wanted to be a Communication Studies major. I hadn’t figured out a job title or anything, but that’s what college is for, right?  So I took 105…and then 200. By sophomore year I was a full-fledged major and I began taking classes that interested me…what a concept! I love (d) the freedom to choose my own classes and shape my own education. As a COM major, I’ve had the opportunity to takes classes that allow me to explore other cultures and perspectives (Interracial COM), classes that have taught me to hone skills that I didn’t even realize I needed (Mediation and Conflict Management) and classes that taught me to (occasionally) shut my mouth and open my ears to truly understand the thoughts and feelings of the people around me (Interpersonal and small group Com).

By my Junior year, I had decided on my focus. I started taking every Public Relations and Marketing class that the department had to offer. When I first walked into PR1, We were given what I now recognize as the “Classic” Dr. Persuit “this is not an easy class” talk. It didn’t scare me…I love a challenge! What I didn’t realize is that Dr. Persuit would go on to be one of the most influential figures in my college career. Through PR1, IMC1, IMC2 and Advertising 2, she’s pushed me harder than any professor I’ve ever had and I came through these classes knowing that I was capable not only of surviving, but of thriving.

ImageMy college career has been multifaceted. As a freshman, I took my first Women’s Studies class (with the amazingly passionate Amy Schlag) and promptly declared a minor. Through the interdisciplinary WGS minor, I’ve been able to take classes from a wide variety of departments on campus which has helped me to become a well-rounded person. The WGS minor has introduced me to some of the most amazing people on campus and some of my favorite professors (I’m looking at you Dr. Chadwick Roberts).

But college isn’t all about academics. I started getting involved Freshman year with my Area Chapter and by the end of my second year I was President of the Women’s Studies Student Association, and active in many other ways. It was in the Women’s Studies Resource Center where I met the incredible woman who I truly consider my mentor, advocate and friend: Dr. Michelle Scatton-Tessier. I cannot stress enough how much Michelle has done for me during my time at UNCW. She is one of the most selfless, encouraging, all-around awesome people I’ve ever met and without her; I would have driven myself crazy a long time ago. ;-)

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I’ve never looked back about my departmental choices, I have had the opportunity to focus my studies on two subjects that I absolutely love and I consider myself extremely fortunate for that. Through my involvement at UNCW, I’ve been able to participate in events, meet inspiring people, and take advantage of opportunities that I never would have previously dreamed of. I still don’t know what my “Job Title” is…but I DO know that I’m capable of achieving whatever I set my mind to and that, with a Communication Studies degree, I’m well-prepared to succeed in the professional world. Although I’m moving on into the “real world” I’ll take this place, these people and these experiences with me in my heart wherever I go. Once a Seahawk… Always a Seahawk.

-Lauren Habig

Confessions of a UNCW Undergrad

Though Graduation draws near, my Seahawk spirit will never die. My four years at UNCW has taught me well more than just academics. When I moved in to Galloway in August of 2009 as a young, naïve, eager boy, I had no idea the experience I was about to begin. Even though home is a mere 20 minutes away for me, my move to Wilmington was my fresh start. I decided I no longer wanted to care about what others thought of me and wanted to finally express myself instead of keeping it all bottled inside. My first step was something that I always wanted to do – I tried out for the UNCW Cheerleading squad. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and truly enhanced my college experience. I learned new skills and made great friends along the way. These are experiences I will never have the chance to relive again, so I cherish them very much. The rest of my freshman year was a fast, fun blur. I engaged in lots of campus activities such as Alpha Phi’s “King of Hearts”, and also “Mr. Galloway”. I made countless friends and learned a few life lessons as well.

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After goofing around like a social butterfly for my first two years, it was time to decide a major. Initially, I wanted to major in Education (though I never declared). However, after taking a few Education classes my freshman year, I decided it wasn’t for me. That left me in a pickle. It is easy to decide what you don’t want to major in, but extremely difficult to decide what you do want to major in. After chatting with a few friends, I was talked into taking COM 105. “It’s an interesting class and if you don’t like it then don’t major in it.” I figured I had nothing to lose. After learning more about the discipline, it caught my attention. I became intrigued in what Dr. Weber was teaching. In addition, I liked the fact that it is a very flexible major. By the end of the semester, I decided that this was the major for me. That was another one of the best decisions I’ve made.

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Though I met struggles along the way, my desire to succeed kept me going; however, I never would have have made it through without my friends, cheerleading, and the wonderful COM faculty. It still feels surreal that I’m graduating. I feel like I haven’t changed that much, but when I think of that boy that moved into Galloway, I realize I have. Leaving this school is definitely bittersweet. As I said earlier, I cherish my memories here. I couldn’t have asked for a better all around college experience. That being said, I realize that I’m ready to enter the work field and start the next phase of my life. And as I prepare to say goodbye to UNCW, I know I’ll always retain my Seahawk pride.

-Jay Reilly

Time Flies When You Live At The Beach

I remember my freshman year of high school like it was yesterday.  My brother had just gone off to college and I couldn’t believe where the time was going.  Fast-forward eight quick years and here I am: graduating from college in a week and a half.  Time definitely does fly when you’re having fun, but I can’t believe how fast these past four years have come and go.

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It all started four years ago.  Being from Massachusetts, I came to campus knowing no one.  It seemed like everyone knew everyone else but I didn’t let that hinder me.  I instantly started meeting people who are still some of my best friends and will be for some time now.  Like most freshmen, I had no idea what I wanted to major in.  I started in film studies but soon made the switch to Communication Studies.

When I started taking communication classes I knew it was going to be the right major for me.  It had the creative and multimedia side that reminded me of the film school but it also had the marketing and advertising side that I was also very interested in.  I went through the next three years learning about multimedia and design, research methods, interpersonal communication, advertising and marketing, working within groups, and much, much more.  I soon realized that no matter where my future takes me, the skills I have gained from the Communication Studies Department will help me get there.

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From moving into Galloway to moving out of my beach house, the past four years have been amazing.  I have made life-long friends, learned things that will help me in the future and have had a blast while doing it.  I could not have asked for a better college career and I’m so glad I was able to call Wilmington my home for the past four years.  This next week and a half will be the definition of bitter-sweet.  It is going to be extremely hard seeing my college years come to and end, but I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.  Thank you UNCW for an amazing four years that I will never forget!

Zach Abramo

The Time Has Come

Here we are. Ten days until graduation! The past four years have been the most incredible years of my life. It’s almost overwhelming to think of all that has happened to get to this place.

Growing up in Wilmington, I always said I would go to college anywhere but UNCW. However, when it came time to actually look at colleges, I realized how many opportunities UNCW provided. And at the end of four years, I cannot imagine going anywhere else, even though I tried. After changing by major about three times (because I could not figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life), I decided to try to get into the Sonography (ultrasound) Program at Cape Fear Community College. For three semesters, I took classes at UNCW and Cape Fear trying to figure what I wanted to do. In that last semester, I took COM 105 and absolutely loved it. Dr. Weber sold me on the greatness that is Communication Studies, so I changed my major again. After taking a few COM classes, I decided to fully “recommit” to UNCW and stopped pursuing the Sonography Program.

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During this “two-school” phase, I also got engaged and married to the best guy ever! My dream had always been to have a fall wedding, so we got married in October (yes, in the middle of the semester), but it worked out perfectly. Since then, we celebrated our one-year anniversary, got our first dog, Hudson, bought a house, and got a second dog, Winnie. Needless to say, graduating from college is the next step in growing up!

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Looking back at all the reasons I changed my major, landing on Communication Studies makes perfect sense. I wanted to be an art major for a while, and Communication Studies requires a huge level of creativity. I wanted to be a business major, and Communication Studies teaches things vital to the business world. I wanted to be a Community Health major, and Communication Studies teaches how to conduct research, how to advocate, and how to effectively present findings. By choosing Communication Studies, I finally felt like I was able to get all I wanted out of my educational experience at UNCW. I have truly enjoyed my courses and have been stretched to learn more and engage in projects that have impacted education. Taking all I have learned in the major I hope work in the field of advertising to combine the aspects research, business, and creativity that I was looking for all along.

With the support of all of my family, teachers, and friends, these past four years have been a wonderful journey. I cannot thank you all enough for the study sessions, wedding festivities, and moving boxes. I am truly excited to move into this next phase of life.

-Laura Tippett