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.
For being a rising junior, I find this post exceptionally helpful. These tips are ones that I can still execute successfully. I think it is important to know that you can branch out beyond your initial interests within the major. I am interested in IMC and advertising as well but would also like to take a course in interpersonal communication because I am also curious about this. I am excited to be able to collect artifacts from all these classes for my COM 400 portfolio and am glad that I have saved all of my work up until this point to contribute to that. I think I will strive to be more curious and discover more things outside the classroom that could help me with my major.
I love how you started off this blog post with relating a song by the Beatles to your experience at this point in your life. It is crazy to think that graduation is coming up, and I enjoyed reading about how you connected that to the song. Not only that, but the advice you have given for Communication Studies majors is no doubt, very helpful! Your transition from graduating in 12 days to reflecting back on your experience at UNCW was smooth, and very thought out.
Being a rising senior next year I really appreciated this post. I think this advice is very good for me being that was a transfer student from Cape Fear my Junior year so I haven’t really been all that involved on campus as others that were here all four years. I would love to join an organization within CSS that will help me gain experience and knowledge, and even get a mentor that will help answer any questions I have about the major that will make me feel more comfortable. I think I will also be more selective with my classes and be willing to step outside what I normally would take, being that I only have one year left I think it’s important to take as many as experiences that I can because I don’t know what might spark my interest.
If you are looking for a mentor, email Professor Chin at the beginning of the fall semester and ask about the Project Protege program.
Avery, I also transferred here from a community college in North Carolina and I haven’t been as involved as I’d like to be. This post introduced a few options that I wasn’t even aware of, and knowing that there are others that are interested in joining an organization, but haven’t is comforting to me. Maybe I’ll see you in CSS next semester!!
I thought your post was very inspiring. As a rising junior sometimes the intimidation of what is to come can be overwhelming. I thought you provided clear and helpful goals that will help in my own success as a college student. It sounds like you have had a very fulfilling time here at UNCW and learned a lot. I’m sure you will do great things after graduation and reminding us all to challenge ourselves to always learn something new is an obvious testament to your well rounded appreciation for differences. Good luck in your future endeavors!
I found this post to be informational, helpful, and motivating. Going into junior year I was nervous about advancing into upper level classes. However this post is letting me see into the future to realize that it will be difficult but will be worth it in the end. This was also a wake up call that I need to be thinking about classes and how they will affect me as I move closer to graduation. Being more adventures and less skeptical about classes. Good Luck after graduation!
I am a rising Senior, and you made me rethink some classes to get out of my comfort zone. This was great advice, and I will take everything into consideration. When reading this, it made me think that I have not done everything I wanted to do at Wilmington, and I really need to take advantage of the opportunities that Communication Studies Major has to offer. Thank you for the advice you gave and your experiences that you shared in the major. This was very helpful, and I do not want to leave UNCW feeling that I am not ready for the “real world”. I wish you the best of luck in everything you do!
After reading your post, I already feel more motivated and more prepared to graduate! As a transfer student, I am slacking in having enough hours to graduate on time but I do however love the advice you gave and how you gave guidance on what classes are great to take. That definitely helps me out a lot! It is such a relief to know that you are so happy you chose COMM studies as your major and that it only gets better once you get up in the 300 and 400 level courses because that is where I am at right now! Thank you for giving your advice and sharing with us all your awesome story of your college career. Good luck with everything!!
It’s great to be able to hear advice from a graduating Com Studies student. This blog was very motivating. It reminded me that I need to push myself and go after things. It’s important to broaden your horizons as a COM student. UNCW has so many resources for us to be successful students, and sometimes I have to remind myself to use them!
I will be graduating in the Fall at UNCW and really enjoyed reading your post. I changed my major three times in college, so I definitely think I have a broad range of classes on my record. The Communication Studies department has been great to be a part of, and I have learned a lot in each COM class that I have taken. I will definitely take as much of your advice that I can and apply it to my final summer and fall semesters.
I have found this post to be extremely helpful. I really appreciate all of the tips you listed, and I will most definitely think about those in the next couple of years I have left here at UNCW. I also really enjoyed the reference to The Beatles song. Congratulations on graduating, and I wish you the best of luck!
I can not relate how important it is to find and have a mentor! I did not find a mentor till my senior year first semester and I felt as though I had so much catching up to do. This is a key piece of advice that you included and something that I think everyone should take wholeheartedly. Mentors are so beneficial because they are your key to the world outside of college and have real world experiences and connections that can directly benefit you. My only wish is that you had explained how important is it to network while you are in college, not just with your classmates but professors and on campus job fairs and career centers. Those are both resources that are over looked or passed by from most students but are very insightful and beneficial. Once you graduate the networks and connections that you have built could help you further or jump start your career or even open other doors for your future.
Overall this was a great blog post.
Congratulations to all the 2014 grads!! You did it!
I’m really glad you brought up networking. It is something I did not do and I wish I had participated in. The Project Protege mixers were the only type of network events I went to outside of the alumni events I worked in my internship. Participating in upper level classes and going to your professor with questions is a great way for them to get to know you. Ms. Bulger always says how happy she is to see a student come visit her in office hours. Could you share with us some ways you currently network or networked in college? Thanks for the comment!
Thank you for writing this. I changed my major last minute from Psychology to Communication Studies and will not graduate a semester later than my class. However, I am not sad or disappointed. I am able to have one more semester to experience our beautiful campus that is UNCW and utilize some of this advice you have granted us in your blog. It was inspirational and I will certainly take your tips into consideration during the end of my time in undergrad.
This was extremely helpful. As students we always need to read things like this! Sometimes we think to ourselves about our next move or the things we need to do but often times we don’t actually go seek help. This blog was great and right on time!
I agree with you on writing the blog. I was very nervous at the beginning of the semester about writing a blog but it has been fun. I have learned a lot through the process and my self-confidence in writing has grown. Congratulations on your graduation!