Senior blogs are supposed to write themselves, right? I feel like I should have something profound for those of you reading this, some beyond-the-stole wisdom to impart on you. Tough luck, I don’t. I ain’t that special. Do I have advice? Not any you haven’t heard already. From what I remember some of the most uttered words and phrases at UNCW are “Internships,” “Study Abroad,” and “Get Involved.” I did two of those. I’ll let you guess which ones I did.
Look at those three words/phrases though. They all involve applied learning. It seems like I’m brown-nosing (ETEAL was our client this year for AD II) but the main thing I’m taking away from UNCW is its focus on applied learning, or rather the effect that applied learning had on me. UNCW is in a league of its own when it comes to applied learning. Or at least a league it shares with SUNY (We’re coming for you SUNY!). Google “applied learning” right now. What schools show up? SUNY and UNCW. And that’s not just because you’ve googled UNCW a bunch of times (although Search Engine Optimization does play a role). UNCW is one of the top colleges in the nation for applied learning. And that’s AMAZING.
I can tell you that now, as I am applying for jobs, it’s great to have that physical experience under my belt. Including my internship, I’ve worked with 3 nonprofits in Wilmington, and 3 or 4 on-campus organizations. I can relate requirements, qualifications, and responsibilities in jobs to my work in those organizations, and I am much better off for it.
But enough of that, where’s the sappy crap? I don’t have any. I don’t like looking back. That being said, you guys are in a great university that can help you an incredible amount, if you will just let it. I will say it helped me in ways beyond education – like becoming a better person. Okay, that’s the last sappy crap I’ll have.
But while I have your attention and my platform, I figured I’d plug a few things. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give shoutouts to my specifications – IMC and Nonprofit Management. One realm of work often goes unnoticed by COM majors, although recently there’s been an uptick in interest – nonprofits. Fun fact, Wilmington has one of the highest amounts of nonprofits per capita in the state, so there’s bound to be a nonprofit for whatever your fit or cause is. One thing they tell you in COM 400 is find a job that you like, that you fit in – and there’s a nonprofit for EVERYTHING.
Got a passion for business? You can work for a business association, or maybe a nonprofit focused in providing support for small businesses. Politics? Oh, you know there’s a million nonprofits for that and they’re always looking for volunteers, not to mention people good at communicating. Health? Most hospitals are nonprofits. Seriously. There’s also the red cross, or doctors without borders. Know what you stand for and find your nonprofit. They’re not hiring? Volunteer, and keep volunteering. You’ll be at the top of their list when they start hiring again.
Even if you’re not into nonprofits, almost every business you see could use a marketing or communication studies employee. There are opportunities galore behind every storefront and business high-rise.
The point is, there’s opportunities everywhere. My parents (two schoolteachers) didn’t understand why job applications were stressing me out so much, until they realized when they got jobs, they really only had to apply to schools. They didn’t have that fear of not applying to the right places, because all their opportunities were laid bare. But me? Every organization needs a marketing person. Hell, the Wilmington symphony has one. I’m terrified of the ocean in front of me, but just like the real ocean, there are thriving ecosystems in play. You just have to dive in and find them. UNCW gave you the dive license, and you know what kind of fish you’re looking to swim with.
Moral of the story? You got this.
– Eli J.