UNCW Was Juuust What I Needed

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you planned them to. Five years ago, in 2008, I started my college career as a freshman at UNC Greensboro. At the time, I was a major of Vocal Performance and just knew that I was going to be a singer. Unfortunately for me, things didn’t happen quite the way I had hoped. After a while I changed majors to Communication Studies on a whim, and started to care less and less about school. I was honestly lost and didn’t have any focus or direction in life. My grades were spiraling downward and my parents were paying out the nose for an education that I cared nothing about. Flash forward three years when I’m forced to pack up my Greensboro life and move back home, to Wilmington. After a year at Cape Fear Community College, I managed to boost my GPA enough to be accepted at UNC Wilmington (phew!).

Even though Greensboro didn’t exactly work out, I had a great time. I lived in the dorms as a freshman, was involved in a cappella on-campus, and had a ton of friends. Shifting from knowing everyone in Greensboro to knowing nobody at UNCW was difficult. I quickly decided that, in order to make something out of my life, I needed to buckle down and focus on graduating. Because of this, I credit UNCG as my “college experience” and UNCW as my “school”.

For me, the fall semester of 2012 proved to be a lot of work. I decided to take COM 105 and 200 at the same, and was told that I only had one chance to make the required B or better. Thank goodness I had Dr. Olsen and Dr. Weber on my side to make my transfer as easy as possible. Even though he’s our Department Chair and has so much on his plate, Dr. Olsen was always willing to help me out and occasionally talk me off a cliff. I found myself going to Dr. Weber’s office at least once a week, just to chat about and listen to show tunes. The man sure knows his Broadway musicals. These two professors were my “welcome wagon” into the major, for which I’m eternally grateful.

Probably my most educational experience at the Dub was landing an internship with UNCW Presents. I had asked Shane Fernando with Arts and Programs if there were any opportunities to help out, and he informed me about an internship opportunity that was available with his department. Even though I knew nothing about arts management I knew that I loved the arts and couldn’t imagine a life without it, so I started as an intern in the spring. Since then, I have been lucky enough to work with a Grammy nominated organist, one of the original Supremes, and a New York based Broadway choreographer and dance troupe (posing with me, below).

Image

Working with UNCW Presents for two semesters has taught me more than I could have planned for. I now have published several press releases, can organize a talent’s schedule, and have professional email writing down to a science. I’ve networked with many people of power and have been given so many opportunities that I now have goosebumps just thinking about it.

Because of UNCW, I have morphed from having no goals whatsoever to getting my life back on track. I’ve learned how to develop a full IMC plan (thanks Dr. Persuit!), can use InDesign like a champ (Desktop Publishing is a worthwhile struggle), and have a better understanding of what direction I want to take. Post-graduation, this guy is moving to the Big Apple to pursue a career in Arts Administration! Thinking back, I don’t think that I would be as together as I am if I had stayed in Greensboro. Transferring to UNCW gave me just the kick in the pants that I needed. I am now confident that I can be a successful and functioning human being and look forward to the next, extremely exciting, phase of my life.

-Dylan Fowler

The Tassle’s Worth the Hassle

As of late, I have been so consumed with final papers, projects, preparing for final exams and getting everything in order to graduate that I pretty much haven’t had any time to breathe. These assignments combined with forethoughts of graduation and what will become of my life in the days, months and years following graduation have been drastically weighing down on me, and quite honestly stressing me out. These past few weeks I have been keeping a running countdown until graduation day. I am currently 8 days and 12 hours away from putting my time as an undergrad in the rearview mirror. I am constantly reminding myself that this is my final semester and to “finish up strong”. This has proven to be my motivation over the duration of the semester. Perhaps this briefly illustrates how anxious I am to make the next-step transitions in my life or how ready I am to be done with school forever.

Nonetheless, in my time spent cursing assignments and longing to graduate this semester I neglected to appreciate what the University of North Carolina Wilmington has done for me. It wasn’t until earlier this week that I had the time to clear and categorize all of my thoughts and emotions. It was in this instance that I had the opportunity to reflect and reminisce on my past four and a half years here at UNCW. After navigating through such significant memories I immediately kicked myself for being so quick to want to forget about them all. In my time here, I have established numerous relationships, friendships and have truly learned a great deal of information…and also forgot a lot. Whoops.

Image

After bouncing around a few different majors my Freshman and Sophomore years I found the perfect fit when my advisor recommended that The Department of Communication Studies may be an appropriate pathway for me. I was hooked from the first day of COM 105 when Dr. Weber announced that a “Communication Studies major is fit/qualified for nearly any profession he/she desires”. This notion reassured me that a field in marketing wasn’t entirely out of the question seeing how I initially did not meet the GPA requirements for the Cameron School of Business.

I am grateful for all of the COM faculty here at UNCW. They have helped make my college experience informative and memorable while keeping things fun. Dr. Olsen’s COM 200 course taught me quantitative research methods which are essential skills to master as a marketing specialist and an effective communicator. Dr. Persuit’s Integrated Marketing Communication courses not only increased my awareness of the prevalence of brands in the world around us but also ensured me that a field in marketing is appropriate for me. The decision to take COM 400 (the Capstone Course) with professor Trimble, proved to be the most beneficial in helping me prepare for my professional track after college. Professor Trimble helped me get out of my comfort zone when it came to interviewing and in regards to the job application process. With these professors, and all other professors efforts I consider myself a truly well-rounded communication specialist. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them!

The communication studies department not only provided me with a “home away from home” in Wilmington but also furnished me with the knowledge that will allow me to excel in any of my next step endeavors. For that I am extremely grateful and excited to spread my wings, take flight and soar like a seahawk!

-Parker Farfour

I Believe I Can Fly

It’s hard to believe that a week and a half from today, I will be in my cap and gown, and the life I know as a student will be over. I will be graduating from the University of North Carolina Wilmington as a Communication Major, focusing in Advertising and Public Relations! It has taken me 5 ½ years, 4 schools, and 3 different majors to get to where I am now (let’s just say I like to experience new things…often). Wilmington, UNCW, and the Communication Studies department specifically has been the perfect fit for me and I finally feel at home, a place to stay. Although I no longer feel that I have the mental or financial capacity to stay a student, UNCW will always feel like home to me and Wilmington is where I hope to start my career!

20131204-162923.jpg

So at the moment, in between juggling my final projects for the six courses I am taking, I am also applying to jobs in Wilmington within the marketing field. I have always said that I would move away from Wilmington for the perfect job, but they would have to pay me enough so that I could travel back whenever I want! I hope to work for a marketing agency or firm, but an in-house position at a company is something I will consider as well. Unlike many other Seahawk peers I do feel ready to enter the “real world” and soar!

20131204-163542.jpg

Being a student in the Department of Communication Studies of UNCW is where I have grown and continue to grow into the young professional that I aspire to become. When I transferred to UNCW, I had most of my general courses out of the way so I jumped right into the steps to become a COM major! This included taking Introduction to Communication (COM 150) with Dr. Weber and Research Methods (COM 200) with Dr. Olsen at the same time, which didn’t intimidate me at all. It only confirmed I was in the right department with the right professors. What makes the Communication Department at UNCW so successful is the professors. Through my Public Relation courses with Professor Chin, I have learned how to keep pushing harder to get the results I want under strict deadlines. Through my Capstone course with Professor Trimble, I can professionally present myself to (and impress) employers with an outstanding resume, cover letter, portfolio and interview skills.

The most influential professor that has made a huge impact on my life here is Dr. Persuit. From the moment I stepped in my transfer orientation, she caught my interest with this concept called IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication… duh), I took her class and I am hooked! Through the multiple courses I have taken with her she has not only taught me great insights on the many aspects of marketing but also on life in general. Ultimately she has inspired my creative passion for marketing! One quote from Dr. Persuit that I will never forget is “IMC’s goal isn’t to change attitude, it is to change behavior”; I have not only incorporated this within my marketing classes but throughout my life.

20131204-151550.jpg

So my experience at UNCW has been a little bit different than most. I didn’t enter as a freshman so I don’t have crazy dorm memories nor did I make my best friends here at UNCW. The experience UNCW did give me was a chance to expand my knowledge and practice what I would like to do with my life; and that is something that no one can ever take away from me! So thank you to everyone who helped me along the way here at UNCW, whether you are have been my professor, classmate, or just the barista at Port City Java in Randall, I appreciate it. I will always be a Seahawk at heart, I’m just spreading my wings and ready to fly!

-Kelsey Raskob

On a Lost, Senior Seahawk.

Many years ago, in the midst of my five-year career as an infantryman in the United States Army, I had a grand vision. My best friend at the time, Ryan Wood (pictured below on the left, with me in 2006), and I, were going to get a house together in Oklahoma City. I was going to go to college for creative writing, and he was going to go for art and political science. Our goal was to create a graphic novel showcasing the reality of American imperialism and its brutal effects on the globe. We assumed that eventually we would be rich enough to open a punk rock venue/bar together and go from there. The plan was solid. Nothing could of went wrong, until Ryan Wood was killed in Baghdad in 2007. That event threw everything off track.

MeNWood

So I got lost. I developed many problems, and worst of all (for me), my future was shot, my friend and focal point of my plan was gone. I left the Army with my plan dissolved, but eventually I moved away from my family in Arizona and enrolled at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, NC. I had no definable goal in mind, and I was only going to school to make money off of the government’s generous compensation for my service (Service members get a GI Bill when they get out, which pays them monthly to go to college.) I chose Communication Studies because it had the easiest math requirements, and seemed somewhat related to a career in some sort of writing, which was good enough for me at that time.

I made it to UNCW at 28 years old. I never felt like I fit into the college culture. I lived off campus my whole career and never got involved in extracurricular activities. I also found I could never connect on any lasting level with my classmates because I constantly compared them to the friendships I had forged in the inferno of 25 months of war. I noticed, a few months after completing all the prerequisite courses and earning an AA, that I was losing the knowledge I gained in those courses. There is no screening process to divide potentially dedicated, outstanding students from the ones who just attend to attend, and those listed second forget everything. So I slipped in through the cracks and ended up jaded by the ordeal. I approached college in a less-than-ideal way: I just did enough to get through it.

But the resources were, and are, there for those who are interested. There is a career center to build a resume, volunteering, applied learning, and internship opportunities to add valuable experience to your education. There are professors who, if you come to them with concerns, will go out of their way to help you reach the place you’re aiming for. But nobody is going to drop any of that in your lap. You have to seek it out and pursue it yourself. I didn’t reach out. I skirted by with the minimum, and am left with a mostly hollow experience of what could have been another milestone in my life.

What I have learned about myself in my four years of college is that my lack of a plan has morphed into a lack of passion, which has reinforced a lack of precise direction. I sit here on the cusp of graduation, with a hazy track of uncertainty unfolding before me. I see my classmates rattling off their big goals to their buddies, detailing the rungs they will need to climb to make those plans work, and I see their youth, which I am quickly losing. It leaves me wondering what I have been doing the past four years, and causes even more concern about the next four. I have the wisdom to know I did not do the best that I could in school, but the wisdom came too late to be of any use at UNCW.

It could be argued that I was never a go-getter, and was doomed from the start due to a personality defect, but at least I am here sharing my wisdom instead of shivering in a gutter somewhere. I did have a plan at one point, but have failed to create one since it was lost. So don’t write me off as just a bad example of a good college student. Look at me as a wise, bad example of a good college student, since I have recognized and shared my shortcomings. You could learn something from me. I could tell you how wonderful the opportunity was and how clear it made my life, or I could give you the truth of it. I went to UNCW without really knowing why, and now I am leaving without knowing exactly why I was there. College seems like a logical “next step” for many, but you have to engage with it far more than that for your education to be a life-changing experience. You have got to know yourself and know what you want out of life, or college is going to be just another grind for you.

To be fair, I did take an internship opportunity that may have sharpened me up a bit, and every one of my teachers were excellent, passionate, and dedicated to their craft. Not one person entrusted to my education failed me in the slightest. I remember being asked “What is your career goal?” during advising, and instead of sticking with “I don’t know,” I would come up with fuzzy answers to push the meeting along. But the tools were there. I just passed them up. UNCW was a great place that has enriched and guided many lives, and will continue to do so after I pass through. The tools will be there for you, and you ought to use them.

I learned many things in college, but the most important thing I learned wasn’t in the brochure, at orientation, on the website, or in the course catalog: have a plan and a backup plan as quickly as possible, and get motivated and involved enough to turn the plan into reality. Seek out and grab every opportunity that moves you towards that reality and never let up. Otherwise you may find yourself at 30 years old, sitting with backed up classwork clawing at your heels and a foggy future two weeks before graduation, wondering how so many others seem to have it all figured out while you float on through to no apparent destination.

-Chad Darrah

I must say, the situation is not as dire as I have presented it. All I know is that a lot of people think I am a good writer, enough to make me believe it. But I do not know how that translates into a career to tell an advisor. So I’ll trudge through the muck until it all clicks, or I will die before it ever clicks. Either way I am following a path that is good enough for me. I’m just not so sure where college fits on that path.

I also have to use my soapbox one last time to express a hearty thank you to Dr. Jeanne Persuit for giving me the most monumental, colossally meaningful display of encouragement I have ever received on this murky trek. I thank you with the highest degree that a blog post can convey, and can honestly say that that moment was the undisputed highlight of my college career.

I have to ask that you please raise a glass for Sergeant Ryan Mitchell Wood next time you get a chance. Google his name and title to get a feel for him, as he is the driving force of my motivation. Pay your respects. I give his memory and family extraordinary credit for helping me hold onto something sacred, which is a necessity to keep me moving.

Student Surveys

A large part of our Integrated Marketing Communication II class is to work with a client in the community. In creating an IMC Plan for our clients a large part of the plan is to gather information from students and the community. Two of our groups in class have created surveys specifically geared towards students. Below are the links to two students surveys, if you all could take a few minutes to complete the surveys it would be greatly appreciated!

Volunteer Survey: http://appserv01.uncw.edu/SelectSurveyNET//TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=723L6o9K

ETeal Survey: http://appserv01.uncw.edu/SelectSurveyNET//TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=983K9m7M

We appreciate your participation!