For four years the class of 2014 have waited to reach this moment and in exactly 12 days we will have made it as undergraduates. Some of you will have noticed the title is a lyric from The Beatles’ song “Blackbird”. No, we seniors probably won’t be fighting the important battles that this song alludes to, but we will be facing challenges— the challenges of finding jobs, a new life, and even ourselves.
Yes, the four-year “beach party” is coming to an end and although I don’t have anything planned I feel confident in my next steps. I attribute this confidence to the UNCW Communication Studies Department. Not only have I found my passion in this major, but also I have gained life skills and knowledge. So instead of reminiscing on my wonderful four-year “beach party” (as some would call it), I want to give some major-related advice to those of you who are lucky enough to have another year here.
Things I did that you should do:
Take as many upper level classes (300-400 levels) as you can.
Seriously, do it! Forget about the “it is going to be tons of work” and just do it! Not only will you gain knowledge, but also you will gain experience. Some classes I personally got a lot out of were strategic writing (even though it is a 200 level), the ad classes, PR II, and IMC II. The work I completed in these classes pushed me to assess problems and find solutions in ways I didn’t know I could. Not only did I walk away with portfolio artifacts, but I felt what I had done really helped the clients I worked with.
Find a mentor.
I applied to be a part of Project Protégé this year. (A program associated with CSS.) It was one of the best things I could have done. Even though it was only a couple of months long, I had a wonderful mentor who I could ask advice from and talk about the industry with. My only regret is I wish I had done it earlier.
Take classes outside of your immediate focus.
My focus is IMC, PR and advertising. Since I have known that was my interest from day one I took many of those classes, but this past fall I took decided to take Dr. Weber’s WWII Rhetoric: American Identity course. It was one of the most enjoyable and interesting classes I have taken at UNCW. Therefore, I recommend taking a couple of classes outside of your focus; it really helps broaden your horizons.
After taking a media and integrated marketing communication class, I started becoming curious about these subjects. So whenever a professor would mention something in class that I thought was interesting I would write it down and Google it later. Through this I found Mashable, my go to tech news website, and Girl Talk the best mashup artist ever! Yes, I sound like a nerd, but the knowledge you gain from being curious helps you in ways you couldn’t imagine.
In addition to this list I must thank a couple of people, first my parents (for reasons obvious to all graduates). Second the organizations that gave me the opportunity to contribute to their team as an intern, the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival and UNCW Alumni Relations. My experience with them was enjoyable and the skills I learned invaluable. And the last mention is to my Pier601 Creative co-founders, for making my last semester at UNC Wonderful even more wonderful. It has been a pleasure getting to know and work with such a creative, talented and personable bunch. Thank you Dr. Persuit for giving me the opportunity to participate in this group DIS. The experience, knowledge, and guidance you have given me throughout the many classes I have taken can’t be returned in my gratitude. So thank you!
To all future IMCHawk bloggers, take this blog as a challenge, not a chore. Put your heart into it: be curious, be passionate, and be critical about the content you write. This blog becomes your moment, so fly.