Imperfect Vision. C/O 2020

UNCW was my last choice for college. Of the seven universities that I applied to, I was denied from three, waitlisted for two, and accepted into two, UNCW and ECU. The deciding factor between the colleges was the film program offered here at The Dub. My entire life had been filled with film, entertainment, and the performing arts. It had only made sense that all I had ever dreamed of was seeing my name in lights.

I was one of those kids that came to college claiming that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and was I wrong. Despite the fact that I still do not have a perfect picture of the way that I want my life to look like, I feel more sure about anything that I’ve ever felt before. I like to tell people that I didn’t choose COM but that COM chose me. I became a Communication Studies major at the perfect moment in my college career. While I was still very unsure about a lot of things, I was excited to go into a major that would help me become a better writer, researcher, and most importantly, a better person.

In these four years I have experienced racism, discrimination, grief, happiness, excitement, disappointment, exhaustion, and so much more. UNCW has helped me grow, evolve, and blossom into a woman that has proven to be ever better than my wildest dreams. During my time here I have written for the newspaper (#StaffWriterTurnedManagingEditor), raised over $20,000 for the university, been published into a UNCW textbook, participated in a number of research projects and proposals, and met some of the best people along the way.

Even though my final semester here has taken a turn that no one could have seen coming, I think that this is a perfect way to move on to the next chapter of my life. As a Christian, I believe that our stories have already been written, and no matter how much we try to avoid, some things are completely out of our control and that’s okay. Life isn’t about the moments that we had pictured in our head, it’s about the moments that we had outside of our daydreams. It’s about spontaneous trips, binge watching Netflix shows, learning dances on Tik Tok, and learning how to roll with the punches however they come. Four years, three hurricanes, and a pandemic later, I can say that I am prepared to take life head on during the good and the bad.

Valerie Keys, UNCW COM Class of Spring 2020

Valerie has accepted a fellowship with Lead for North Carolina – an organization that strives to strengthen NC local governments by creating future public service leaders. Valerie will be working with the Pembroke NC local government.