Lessons From a (almost) College Grad

Senior year of high school, I was so excited to dive headfirst into college, move seven hours away from home, and live at the beach. I thought I was invincible and ready for anything. Unfortunately, everything did not go as planned and my homesickness caused me to transfer to a university back home after only one semester at UNCW. Long story short, after a year and a half of finding myself and realizing what I wanted out of my college experience, I made my way back to Wilmington. It wasn’t until the beginning of my third year of college that I feel my experience truly began. I was able to press the “re-start button” and begin my journey as a Communication Studies major at UNCW.

Through this rocky experience, I have learned a few lessons that I think every freshman should know:

#1. Adjusting can be hard…give it time. I am almost positive that if I had given UNCW a full year to begin with, I would have never left. (Duh, it is WILMINGTON)

#2. You are going to college for a reason. Don’t take it for granted. It is really easy, as a new college student, to get caught up in the hype (especially when you live at the beach). Wilmington is such a fun place and there are so many distractions. One of my biggest regrets, however, is that I did not take school seriously enough in the beginning, and now I wish I had. It is simply a waste of time and money to not put your all into your schoolwork, and surprisingly there will still be time for fun.

#3. Don’t lose yourself (I know this sounds cheesy). I think that it is really easy to get caught up in fitting in, and making sure that you don’t miss out on any of the fun that everyone seems to be getting into. But the more you distance yourself from doing what YOU want to do, the more difficult and confusing college can be.


This has been a long, but amazing journey that I have had. I can honestly say I could not be in a better place at this moment. I truly believe that I have evolved into the exact person that I want to be.  I am so grateful that I made it back to UNCW. No matter where I go from here, I will always see Wilmington as my home.

Julia Tompkins