Choosing a Path Least Expected

After graduating from high school, I expected my journey in college to be a straight path. Pick a university that I attend all four years, choose a major that I stick with throughout my undergraduate career, graduate on time and enter the professional world. Although I did not follow this path, I am grateful for the journey I have taken. After about five months at the university I was attending as a freshman, I knew that I was not happy and this was not the university I was meant to be at. I began exploring other options and finally chose UNC Wilmington. Attending UNC Wilmington has been the greatest blessing that I could have ever asked for.

When I first arrived at UNCW I thought I wanted to be a physical therapist. I knew that I always enjoyed helping people, so I chose to go with the path of an Exercise Science major. Over the course of the next year, something was not clicking. I could not find the passion and interest within this major that I originally hoped for. This is when I began to evaluate myself and my options. I had a few friends who were in the Communication Studies department focusing on the IMC track. After much thought, I decided to make the switch to Communication Studies. Ever since I made that switch, I have not once second-guessed my decision.

Before changing my major halfway through my junior year, I knew there would be a possibility that I would graduate late. Of course, this worried me at first, but I soon realized that everyone completes college at their own pace and there is nothing wrong with my graduation date being a semester later than originally planned. I realized that we are all on our own timeline and not everyone’s journey will be the same. One piece of advice I have for someone worrying about something similar, is to focus on yourself. It is okay to worry because that is natural, but just know that you will finish at the time that you are supposed to. As clichéd as it sounds, everything does happen for a reason. I truly stand by that.

I knew that everything happens for a reason when COVID-19 struck our world. As terrible as this virus has been, it has allowed me to ease myself into the professional world which has ultimately been of great benefit to me. This past summer I had the privilege of being a marketing intern at an environmental sustainability company. The company is based out of San Francisco. Although this internship was not like normal ones due to COVID-19, I have learned more now than I ever could have hoped for. If I did not change my major and push back my graduation date, I may have not had this same opportunity. I cherish the journey that brought me here and the experiences that I have had. Working as a marketing intern and amplifying the voice of this brand that has incredible goals to change the world has been the most rewarding experience.

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

As I worked through the Communication Studies and IMC curriculum, I found a natural passion and interest within this field. Looking back on my four and a half years as an undergrad, I have truly realized that everything has a way of working itself out. Going into college, I always thought I was destined to work in the medical field. Although I still have some interest in that area and applaud those who choose that path, I came to realize the path I was destined for was elsewhere. You can be so set on a path for yourself, but life has a way of leading you to doors that you are meant for whether you realize it or not.

As I look into the future, I am very curious about where life will take me. Life can be so unpredictable and the uncertainty extremely nerve-racking. Some goals I have for myself and my future is to always find joy in what I do and to never stop doubting myself. I have struggled a lot with self-doubt, but have realized that you are your biggest critic. Realizing that while also realizing your potential is what will help you succeed in life. You can do incredible things if you always have faith in yourself. If you are reading this, this is your reminder to never stop working for what you want and to always believe in yourself.

Written by Kendal Powell, UNCW COM Senior