When I first came to UNCW in the fall of 2017, I had no clue about what I wanted to study. I had floated through high school without much of any deep thought about what I wanted to do with my life, much less study at college. Like many people who turn to Communication Studies, I was no good at math or science. While I was better at history and English, what we were learning never grabbed my interest at the time and I did not think I could make enough money using what I learned from those areas. I knew I liked movies, so for lack of a better idea I spent my first semester studying film and a handful of other classes I thought would be interesting to me, like theatre and psychology.
I quickly learned that what I really liked was watching movies, not studying them. The semester after that, I dropped Film Studies and tried out other classes, one of them being COM 105. Communication Studies just seemed to click with me. I stumbled into the major without really giving it another thought. Neither the course itself or Communication Studies in general grabbed my interest but if this was what came naturally to me, why not stick with it for as long as possible?
This lax decision sent me down the path to finding lifelong friends, influential professors, and gaining a practical skillset that I can use both in my career and outside of it. My advice to current COM students would be to get involved in as much as possible. You’ll learn a lot in the major but it will never stick with you if you don’t apply what you learn outside of the classroom, and your classes can only teach you so much. My freshman year I joined the Association for Campus Entertainment, also known as ACE, which gave me the opportunity to apply concepts from the classroom in a variety of leadership positions and really dial in on how important what I was learning was and what it meant to be a student leader. ACE springboarded me into further opportunities that are too many to count and all of them crucial to my development. By taking every opportunity that comes your way, you will ensure that none of what you learn is wasted. All of it is valuable, even if you do not use it straight away.
Most of all though, learn to just roll with the punches. While I wouldn’t recommend enduring three hurricanes and a pandemic as part of your college experience, it definitely helped me put things in perspective. There’s no telling what challenges you might face in the future, and worrying about them before they even arrive will only paralyze you with fear. When you face adversity in the future, whatever form it might take, remember that your major and your experiences arm you with the tools you need to overcome it.
Written by Ryan Moody. You can learn more about Ryan and our other blog writers by clicking the “Our Team” banner at the top!