A wise friend once told me four years ago that college is like the greatest sleepaway camp you can imagine. Being a part of UNCW for the past four years of my life has been amazing, scary, hard, and has gifted me the greatest growth I have ever experienced.

If you’re a freshman reading this and you’re getting ready to pack up your things after exams and head home for the summer don’t forget to remember. These days will fly by, you’ll blink and you’re walking across the stage.


College at UNCW is the greatest summer camp you have ever been to. Beach activities just 15 minutes away, a dining hall that doesn’t serve you mystery meat (praise for hawks), and bathrooms you don’t share with 15 other campers. Not to mention what you learn here will shape the rest of your life, you’re not learning to basketweave folks! The people you meet could be your forever friends. The things you study will prepare you for the work you do for the rest of your life. The things you do with your spare time will shape your priorities, mindset, and investments.


School goes way faster than you’d think, is harder than you think, and can flip your whole world around. It will be so easy to think about the next thing, always worry about which classes you’ll take next semester, what major you’ll choose or what job you’ll have when you graduate. If I could leave you with any parting wisdom it would be this: stop and take a breath. Your perfect plans may not work out as you’d hope, but it’s OK. Stop, and take a breath, time will fly.


-Ellis Thomas