The University of Never-ending Catastrophes in Wilmington

What we’re experiencing now is unexplainable. I am a senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and have survived at least two disasters every year since starting in 2016. What is it like to choose a university that continuously experiences disaster after disaster? Beautiful Chaos.

From the first semester, the class of 2020 should’ve seen what was coming. After experiencing the 2016 election when multiple professors canceled classes for a week in disappointment, came hurricane Mathew, hurricane Maria, hurricane Michael, hurricane Florence, hurricane Dorian, and now the coronavirus. The Spring 2020 class will not walk across the stage commemorating their achievements in May; they will not have their last look at the campus after their final, final. The class of 2020 will look back and remember the time of their final semester at the university they chose and love, closing and sending them off two months early. But I wouldn’t change my university for anything.

In the words of Kourtney Kardashian “Kim, there are people dying;” trust me, we all know how selfish we sound right now. We get it people are dying and the world is going through a pandemic, but for one second can’t we just mourn the loss of our senior spring semester? I am now 21 years old, living at home, finishing class online with my two boomer parents who would like nothing more than for me to “walk the dog, vacuum the kitchen, and if you’ve got time could you empty the dishwasher?” I’m supposed to be at school. I was supposed to be going to beach bars every Thursday until I graduate and have to be an adult. Where are my friends and why does my dad keep spraying me with Lysol?!

What I can say about this experience so far is, it is terrible. If I wanted online classes I would’ve enrolled in online classes. Every professor is using a different form of communication. Why? Some are on Slack, some have their own website, some are on Zoom, and some are on Canvas. A bit of advice for the university, if this does happen again, make all professors use one outlet of communication because checking four different outlets is crazy and I’m tired. I want to be in my perfect building of Leutze laughing at something Dr. Olsen wrote in an email or how long Dr.Weber’s emails always are.

Online courses are death, and I mean that. Who on Earth wants to sit in the same room all day and do homework? Who’s idea was this? I want to walk to Leutze and sit in a class of students and complain about having to be there. Do you want to know why I want that? Because no one was actually mad they were there. Everyone was thrilled to leave their apartments and see their friends that they never saw outside class. The only part of the complaints I can actually say was true, was group projects and if you say you liked them then you were the slacker that made everyone hate them.

In the last two weeks, I have gone from spring break to quarantine spring break, moved out of my dorm, moved home, and started a semester online. During this very busy time I have had little time to think, but when I did, I thought of my time at UNCW. I know this will sound crazy, especially if you aren’t a senior, but I miss walking to class. I found a university that was so much my home that I dreaded graduation. I hated summer break when I had to leave and I miss it more than words can tell you. If given the chance right now I would start over at freshman year, and I wouldn’t change anything. I would genuinely retake chemistry just to fail so I could replace it with prehistoric life (yeah you can do that) if it meant I could have four more years.

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You know how everyone says “you’ll be ready when it’s here”? Well, that was never me. I faked every minute of pretending to be sick of studying, I loved it. Even when hurricane after hurricane hit I never regretted my choice of coming to UNCW. Now that it’s over, and I’m at home taking classes online, I realize my time there was the ‘good old days’.

If you’re a student at UNCW, take one bit of advice from me – DO EVERYTHING. Take too many core curriculum classes, change your major, add a minor, drop both and be undecided, take acting for non-majors with Mike (I promise it’s so worth it). If you’re a student at UNCW and you think your time isn’t going to go by too fast – you’re wrong. A cliche but true. UNCW is the place to make memories (some to remember and some you wish you could forget). This is the time and the place to do it all. Oh, and skip class at least once a year for the beach, you’re never going to regret that choice.

So what has it been like going to UNCW from 2016-2020 and now dealing with the coronavirus? It’s beautiful chaos and I wouldn’t change it for the world.


Zoe Coleman, UNCW COM Class of Spring 2020

Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. Zoe is a Senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington graduating with a B.A. in Communication Studies focused on Integrated Marketing Communication. She is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority Theta Xi chapter. After graduation, Zoe will pursue a career in sales with the company Red Ventures in Charlotte, North Carolina. When Zoe is not working in the classroom she enjoys reading the latest novels available and exploring Wilmington.