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.
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.
My 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. 😉
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.
What a great post, Lauren! I am so grateful to know someone like you. You are an extremely hard worker and detail oriented which makes you a phenomenal leader. I wish you nothing but the best of luck in your future endeavors and cannot wait to watch you change the world!!