Our university is one of those colleges that people from all over the country attend – Colorado, Oregon, California, Texas, the Midwest, the Northern New England states, and, of course, the south. We each have our own favorite football team that we take pride in and cheer for each week. We each have our own clique; whether you’re involved in Greek life, campus ministry, if you surf, or spend your time learning photography or studying film, you have it. You have your niche; you have your people. And those different groups, different peoples, they make up a body. We are all united by a common ground, a foundation. We are teal. We are the Seahawks. We find a shared meaning in that. It’s how we cultivate shared virtues that define and shape our community. We’ve grown our campus of yellow and teal over time through relationships and form a bond in those places.
With that I encourage you, whatever year you are, embrace the experience. Stop and look around. Take it in. Embrace the community of this university. This phase of life is special and sacred; you’re caught in the moments of “I can do anything, I’m so ready for the real world,” while still sometimes needing to hear your mom comfort you on the other side of the phone. We’re still kids and yet adults. We’re still learning and growing and embracing who we’re becoming.
So, listen to that band playing in the amphitheater because chances are they’re actually really good. Stop and laugh at Brother Ross (don’t lie, we’ve all done it), engage him in a debate. Paint the rock. Spend the night in the library because you didn’t begin to study for your test until the day before. Walk to class in a hurricane. Go to all of the athletic games and loudly cheer on the players. Take a picture with Sammy the Seahawk. Run through campus and down chancellors at night when the lamps are on. I guarantee it’s more breathtaking than you realize.
Go to the beach at 3:00 in the morning with your roommates and admire the stars. Write a letter and put it in the Wrightsville Beach Mailbox. Get Kilwins and eat it on the river walk. Form a relationship with your professors because they have more resources than you will when you graduate and if you’ve formed a relationship with them and push through their classes intently, they will be willing to help you come graduation.
UNCW is where you grow from that nervous freshman to the confident, empowered (yet still nervous) senior with graduation in the near future. Take pride in our school. Your school. Take pride in UNCW. Take pride in where you came from and where you had those life-changing, gut-wrenching, absolutely beautiful moments. When you leave this campus with your diploma, cap and gown, whether that’s in a semester or three and a half more years, teal will be engraved on your heart. The Seahawk emblem will be engrained in your mind and, love it or hate it, you will find yourself taking pride in UNCW because it’s where you became someone ready to take on the world.
-Kaity Bryant ’17
I think this is a great reminder to each of us to be all in, present in the moment and experiencing the ups and downs of life whether 5, 25 or 55 (but not 49)! 🙂
I thought this post was super relevant especially to a senior. I think we can get too caught up in the studying and academics that we forget that these are the years that are shaping our lives. So I agree, let’s live more this year and worry less.
It is a blessing to be able to be caught up in studying and academics. Perhaps people shouldn’t worry (as in anxiety) but have concern and show concern for how living their good times make impact others. Some people are caught up in trying to regain what was lost due to experience with others who do not exercise caution in regard to how their actions affect others. Some people do not have the chance to experience carefree college years. Some people’s lives are changed forever before they finish high school. When that happens and a person shows no concern, it shapes their lives as a person who runs from responsibilities. A responsible person can still have fun without hurting others, neglecting others, or neglecting to study for an exam until the last minute. One can’t expect to run wild and crazy and take on UNCW and then the world.
Madison, You are truly excellent at living more and worrying less. You not show any concern about how your poor leadership destroyed a person’s life forever. Not only do you do nothing to help that person with the sever burden you caused them, but you offer them no encouragement either. How many people are such forceful leaders that they ignore all input from others and lead a novice cyclist across a busy street against a light when so many off road bike paths abound? How could you do such a cruel thing and then be even crueler afterwards. I think that UNCW should be ashamed that you are a graduate of their school.
Ask Madison about 08/23/2012. Ask her if she ever worried about Nicole.
This article really hit home with me, I am a transfer student but I have had an extremely abusive upbringing up until I moved out on my own at the ripe age of 16. It reminded me that no matter who you are or where you come from that when at UNCW you can work to where you want to be along with becoming the best version of yourself possible. Your post designated on a deep level with me, and for that I thank you. It has encouraged me to work harder and go after what I want to achieve vigorously.
This post was a great way to make us as students stop and really appreciate our wonderful university and the area that surrounds it. I’ve lived in Wilmington my whole life (20 years) and being new to UNCW having transferred from Cape Fear Community College, I feel like I find something new on a daily basis that makes my college experience in Wilmington worthwhile. I really like how you embrace the idea of pride. My pride is constantly growing as a student and as a Wilmington native.
I think we get so caught up in life’s daily events that we forget to appreciate what’s around us. This is an awesome reminder of some of the things Wilmington and UNCW offers.
This article felt a lot more personal and really spoke out to me so I enjoyed that. As a transfer student last year I was so pumped about finally being at UNCW, I got involved and tried to do everything that UNCW had to offer. Rolling into my second year here and everything is kind of “old news” this was like a reality check that I am not going to be here forever, so this made me realize I should do more things for the college experience.
This post really got me. Especially the part about “…needing to hear your mom comfort you on the other side of the phone.” We don’t think about the stuff that we naturally receive while in college like freedom and community. With freedom and community at our fingertips, I dread the day when I figure out how much I really had until it’s gone.
This is so true. We go to such a beautiful school and while we tend to get so caught up in our academics, we need to take time to appreciate our wonderful campus, thank our professors, and go to the beach every chance we get! College is such a great experience and we need to savor it as much as possible. 🙂
I have always struggled to explain to people “what UNCW is like” and I think your post explained everything I have always wanted to say but couldnt find the words to say. Being from Wilmington and growing up on Wrightsville beach, I forget to stop sometimes and look at how beautiful of a place I live in because I am so caught up in life’s daily tasks. As I go through my senior year here at UNCW I have made it a point to stop and enjoy the incredible things this school and town have to offer me because I know once I am gone I am going to regret worrying so much about school and not taking in all this community has to offer. Going to college at UNCW has given me memories I will cherish forever but in the moment it is hard for me to recognize how special they are to me but I know as soon as I graduate I will really appreciate the time I had in my four years at UNCW
I couldn’t agree anymore with your post. Something i think UNCW lacks is pride in which students take seriously at UNCW. I have friends that have recently graduated and they always tell me how great i have it here after leaving. Lots of people complain about wanting to leave and move on, but once it happens they find themselves constantly reminiscing about the great qualities of this town!
Some people don’t get to go to college. Some people spend a few hours with Madison Hartung and their lives are ruined forever. Madison Hartung wants to call it an accident. How can urging someone to follow you be an accident? Madison wants to say it was God’a plan for the other person to suffer and be disabled. Madison wants to ignore God’s plan for Madison to show courage and grace to help someone recover and support them in their grief. Madison wants to forget about Nicole Polen and August 23, 2012 and “be wild, be crazy, and be beautiful, be her, because everyone else is taken.” Madison refuses to accept that she took someone’s life and entire essence. Madison wants to play the victim. The 4.0, honor student, grad student, business CEO, horse trainer, etc. while someone she knows struggles everyday to write, take a class, and walk. Madison Hartung is a UNCW graduate and a destroyer. Nicole can’t forget that day, but to Madison it’s just something to get over.