Four years ago, I would have never imagined myself living my best life at the best beach in North Carolina (I’m not biased, I’ve been to other beaches and still believe this is the best one). You see, I was a transfer student. I went to the University of North Carolina Charlotte for two years. My best friend since third grade went to the University of North Carolina Wilmington and I had gone up to visit her a couple of times, during which I was unintentionally slowly convincing myself to transfer there. After my sophomore year, I decided to take a chance and just go for it. These two years have been the best two years of my life to the point where I am still somehow avoiding the thought about graduating this upcoming May. The University of North Carolina Wilmington and Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach itself will forever hold a special place in my heart. To those of you reading this blog, I hope reading this will make you realize to cherish your memories here at UNCW and to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities the university and this little beach town of ours has given us. Here is some insightful advice I now share to you that I have learned along the way here at UNCW.
- Eat the free Insomnia cookies and buy the Girl Scout cookies you are convincing yourself not to buy. You’re walking towards the library dreading this 20 page conspiracy paper you’re about to write for Bollinger’s class and then you start to smell the heavenly scent of melted chocolate chips cookies. During which you are trying to avoid the nice sweet Insomnia Cookie employee handing out free warm cookies in front of the library. Well, listen to me and listen to me well… do it. Eat the dang cookie, it will take your mind of off this paper you’re dreading for at least 10 seconds, I swear.
- Do not wear shoes when it rains. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve gotten to campus thinking the sun was going to shine throughout the whole day. Nope. I get out of my first class of the day, it’s pouring, and I forgot my umbrella at home. The next best thing to do is take your shoes off… and run. When it rains in Wilmington, it pours. Save your shoes and run barefoot, no one will judge I promise. Some people don’t even wear shoes when it’s sunny out. It’s awesome.
- Do not under any circumstance wait last minute to print a paper off in the Leutze lobby. Just trust me on this one, don’t do it.
- Take applied learning courses. Through the applied learning courses that I was so fortunate to have taken here at UNCW, I have gained tons of hands-on experience that has prepared me for the real world after I graduate.
- Study abroad. This is something that I didn’t do and is my biggest regret. The experience and memories are irreplaceable (well that’s just what I’ve heard, but it’s obviously true).
- Attend the Leadership Lecture Series. Did you guys’ know that this year we had the author of memoir-turned Netflix series Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman, come speak on campus? Or that this upcoming Fall, Tarana Burke, the creator of the #metoo movement will be coming to speak? TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES, I’M PISSED I’ M NOT GOING TO BE HERE IN THE FALL. It’s an amazing experience being able to listen and gain insight from such powerful and inspirational people coming from all over the world and for FREE since you are a student.
- Get to know your professors. This is a biggie. Getting to know your professors will 100% help you in the long run. They can make for great references as you apply to jobs and they also give great advice. They will always want what’s best for you, don’t let intimidation get the best of ya!
- Take advantage of the recreation center. Dude that place is awesome. They even have an awesome outdoor pool and an area to munch at if you’d rather get your tan on and eat than take a spin class.
It’s not a secret… being at the beach was a part of the reason you chose UNCW. So here is some advice to gain the full-on experience of living near beach.
- If you don’t already live at the beach (the rent is through the roof I don’t blame you), you better wake up as early as you can on the days that it is 75 degrees and sunny outside and find yourself a good parking spot. Even the traffic is horrendous on Eastwood on nice beach days.
- The best place to study at with the best view is SUNday’s Cafe on South End. Now SUNday’s can get a little rowdy if you get there too late… they sell beer and that’s where men in their low 60’s like to hangout and drink while discussing the weather.
- On North End, if you drive as far as you can until you get to the very end of the island right next to Shell Island Resort, there is a mailbox filled with letters on one of the accesses. The letters consist of love letters, prayers, thoughts, everything you can think of. If you’re just as much as a hopeless romantic like myself, you will appreciate this. Wait until an hour before the sunset is supposed to go down, get Chipotle to-go, bring a blanket, and read every letter until it’s dark out and you can no longer read the words. Maybe even write a letter yourself.
- There’s free library mailbox’s throughout the streets of Wrightsville Beach. Yup, I couldn’t believe it either when I first heard of it. And when you’re done reading one book, you can return it (or keep it if you really loved it) and get yourself another one! The books range from A Savage Place to The Acne Prescription (I’m a skin freak and hate pimples so obviously I kept the book about acne).
- Force yourself to wake up and watch the sunrise at least once. Please. This is not me asking you it’s me telling you. There is something so peaceful about watching the sunrise on Wrightsville beach, to the point where no one cares about your morning breath.
- Walk the loop. Now if you run it, then props to you my friend that is a 2.7 mile run.
- Take advantage of Tower 7’s specials! Monday – 1/2 fajitas, Tuesday – 5$ Tostadas, Wednesday – 1/2 price quesadillas, Thursday – 3$ Baja Fish Tacos. Now you have no excuse not to know about their specials. Sorry!
- Last but not least, do not under any circumstance swim in the ocean with goggles and open your eyes. You will be terrified.
Well now I can honestly say that after sitting down and writing this blog about the time I’ve spent at UNCW, it has finally hit me that I graduate in 12 days. Thank you Dr. Persuit, this is all your fault. – Marissa Makar