If these were supposed to have been the most exciting years of my life, then I think I could die happy knowing that… Although this four and a half year haul might not have been the typical American student collegiate experience. I was fortunate enough to go to school in my favorite town for four and a half years. Having some personal tragedies in high school my grades suffered the most crucial year and I resorted to Cape Fear Community College (because I knew I always wanted to live in Wilmington) for my freshman year. I know some people are hesitant to face the fact that going to a community college instead of a university is what’s best for them after high school, but I knew I needed a less overwhelming amount of school work to adjust to this new lifestyle. It can be easy to get caught up in the “slack” they give you (like being able to miss 9 classes per class ha-ha) but hey, I made it out and I got to extend my education to UNCW. Community College ended up being just the smooth transition from education and motivation I needed to get the heck out of there and on to better things…
I wanted to come to UNCW with an open mind to anything from classes, to making new connections and getting myself out of my comfort zone. That started with joining a sorority. I didn’t think Greek life would ever be anything of my interest, but I took it as an opportunity to meet new people. I am not a full time member as of my extra semester here, but I have made lifelong friends through these organizations. I also participated more throughout the community thanks to volunteering and the philanthropic events. I learned through Greek life a very important lesson that could be learned in many different aspects of life, that what you put into something is what you get out of it. I got to know all the girls in my pledge class and made connections with older girls and in other sororities that way as well which I will be forever grateful for.
Confining myself in the bubble of one sorority started to make me realize I wanted to get out of my comfort zone again and I decided to study abroad in Spain during my spring semester junior year. Communication studies being my major, it allowed me to do this! It was hard missing my best friend’s graduation that were a year ahead, but I knew it would be worth having the experience of a lifetime. I intended to go into another country alone, but luckily I was surprised to find two friends from my sorority going to the same country as well. This made traveling to other countries in Europe a lot safer. I was able to make connections in infinite amounts of places instead of just throughout Greek life on campus.
Returning for my senior year I had the advantage of living on Wrightsville Beach ocean front with two of my best friends. They were both a year ahead of me so that motivated me to get my schoolwork done since they never had any. This is when I really realized that working hard lets you play hard. After my technical “senior year” came to an end, I started to realize how much is going to change after graduating and I was thankful I had an extra semester this past fall to really indulge with my time here and appreciate every moment for what it’s worth. Whether it be making deeper connections with my professors, networking myself on campus to get internships or just soaking up the last moments in my beach house with my best friends. I have been extremely grateful for all my moments here at UNCW and it has taught me that these awesome learning experiences we have allow us to apply our knowledge to real life situations like work and travel. I have also learned that once school is over, you don’t just stop learning because life is school. We are always going to be students, it just depends on whether you want to participate and enjoy it or be a robot and just do what is expected.
That being said, I will not be doing what is expected after graduating such as get a job, get a house, pay the bills, repeat. I am lucky enough to travel to Southeast Asia for a month and visit my cousin who is teaching English abroad. I am hoping to gain insight from her and maybe find a country fit for me to teach English in and continue using my Spanish in third world countries such as Guatemala. After traveling, I hope to take my skills from school and help expand a family tree business from Charlotte into Charleston, SC. Who knows though? The possibilities are endless, after dedicating my time to education for about 20 years the next move is up to me.
Cheers class of 2015!!