I can honestly say it has felt like a lifetime since I first enrolled in college and began my studies. Having attended an early college program for high school, I took my first college course at 14. Intro to Computer Science was a breeze and I thought I had college all figured out. Little did I know the roller coaster I was embarking on.
It took me a long time to decide what I wanted to do after high school and the fast track I put myself on had no time for reluctance. Sometime around the end of sophomore year it all clicked; communication was where my heart was. It’s kind of impressive how life has a way of putting everything into place. Once I got the idea of studying communication, I was coming across amazing teachers and people who encouraged me to pursue what I love. They all helped me map my journey to that goal. I was lucky to receive constant support while completing my high school diploma and associates degree and for that I’m forever grateful. I had an awesome foundation going into university.
However, as most of us know at this point, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. I had so many bumps in the road during my time at UNCW, I can barely believe it all happened. Through it all, I just have two pieces of advice for future graduates, advice I wish I could give my eighteen-year-old self.
Show up, but remember to take time for yourself too. Show up to your classes, show up to a new club that seems interesting, show up to that event even if you’re feeling lazy! Showing up is the easiest thing you can do, though I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. That’s when it’s important to remember you’re allowed to take time for yourself. Going to college is overwhelming enough, but when you factor in working, extracurricular activities, and social obligations it can seem impossible. Taking some time for yourself is the only way to stay sane and it’s easy to forget how important that is when we have so much going.
When I first got to UNCW, I avoided events and anything that wasn’t my classes for the first couple of months. I found it so difficult to get involved at a school with so many students after coming from a graduating class of fifty six. I found it even more difficult to make time for things that weren’t my studies or going back to my hometown. With a little push from my roommates and realizing that the answer to my problems weren’t at home, I started to integrate myself into the UNCW community. Since then, time has flown by and I cannot believe it’s all coming to an end.
University changed me in ways I could never imagine, but I think I’m just a better version of who I came to school as. So, to all the Seahawks who still have a way to go, good luck and take care of yourselves! Time flies when you’re bleeding teal.
-Rachel Montesinos Jorro