Time to Leave the Nest

From the beginning of my college adventure I feared the day when I would finally walk across that stage to shake the chancellors hand and receive my diploma. Not much has changed about that fear, but thanks to my degree in Communication Studies at UNCW I now have a sparked a sense of excitement. Like every other student in college, I’m afraid of the unknown, which is why I enjoyed college so much. I knew what classes and professors I was going to be taking each semester, but once you graduate the rest of your life is full of unknowns. But now I feel excited about the unknowns because of how well this department has prepared me for life after college.

I began my college adventure at Lenoir-Rhyne as a student athlete majoring in Sports Management, but after two years at a university smaller than my high school I knew I needed a change of scenery.  It wasn’t easy to leave my lacrosse team behind because of the bond we created over those two years but I felt very strongly that earning a degree at UNCW benefit me in the long run.  Upon arriving on campus I knew UNCW didn’t offer Sports Management as a major so I turned to the major that I felt would give me the best chance to enter a related field.

I’d be lying if I said I loved UNCW from the moment I stepped on campus because in reality my first year wasn’t everything I imagined it would be.  It was the first time I was not on a sports team where I was forced to become friends with the guys I was around everyday.  Instead of sulking around I decided to be more active on campus and I joined the Club Lacrosse team.  I obviously didn’t get the same sense of team bonding as  I did with my team at my old school but it was better than nothing.  That is why I encourage everyone to join at least one club on campus your first semester here and to stick with it until you graduate.  The Club Lacrosse team has had its obstacles, but I have really enjoyed seeing the transformation of the team, which will be rewarding for any club you decide to join.  Once I found my niche here in Wilmington I have loved being here more than anything and hope I never have to leave.

I really didn’t expect to love Wilmington as much as I did, but the more I got involved on campus and in the community, the harder it is going to be for me to leave this beautiful city.  College is the most important part of anyone’s life because it is the first time you finally leave home and find out who you truly are as an individual.  Like every other student I have been faced with tough decisions that have formed me into the person I am today and I wouldn’t change any choice I made during my journey.  I’m still afraid of the unknowns that life has in store for me after I walk across that stage, but thanks to my experiences here at UNCW I know I’m ready for anything life throws at me, which has made me really excited for my future.

Tony Mangili