There is so much I could say about my time at UNCW. I evacuated for three hurricanes and then sent home to work online during my last semester due to the Coronavirus. Despite the challenges, I learned the value of not just education, but of learning.
A very important person to me once said, “never let your education stand in the way of your learning.” Now, this is not a free pass to skip out on your schoolwork in the name of “learning” but school is not the only place you will grow and learn skills. Experience is what grows you and school helps prepare you for that. But true learning comes from wanting to know something and then doing all you can to figure it out.
I am a COM major, which means I have good transferable skills so I can do what I want, but I figured out late in the game what I wanted was to do graphic design. Of course, I took a couple classes but most of my skill and knowledge about graphic design came from self-learning. From trying and failing, watching YouTube tutorials and trying again, and Googling questions until I had something look the way I wanted it to. It came from putting myself out there and offering my services to people who needed them.
School is important and always will be but should never be the most important thing in your life and shouldn’t be the only place where you learn. Make friends who will teach you important things, go new places, try new things, meet new people, try and learn that skill you always thought would be cool to know. I have always loved art, but I was not naturally good at it. It took a lot of time, videos, learning, and failing to become the artist and designer I am today. And I’m still only mediocre to good. It takes time.
Never let your education stand in the way of your learning. Learn because you want it and need it. Learn because your life depends on it. Become an educated person – not a person who paid for an education. Your classes and time at college are not the end-all, be-all, but a doorway into a much bigger realm of experiences that you can chose to engage with or not. Luckily, you get to be in classes learning about something you love. Dive in. Talk to other students and professors to learn more. Get connected. Not because you will get a 100% for a grade but because you will learn.
You have the time right now to learn something new, Seahawks. Do it.
Melissa Marks, UNCW COM Class of Spring 2020