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).

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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

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