Finding My Way to the Top

My college career has consisted of four different schools. Carson Newman University, Sandhills Community College, Milligan University, and now UNCW. It’s a long story as to why this is a thing, so I won’t get into any details. But, I can say that a big reason for my scenic route through college was that I had trouble finding a school that felt like home to me. The past three schools were great schools, but I did not fall in love with them like I had planned. It wasn’t until I came to Wilmington that I finally was able to call a place “home” and truly mean it. I transferred here the second semester of my junior year and haven’t looked back.

Newly-renovated entrance to the UNC Wilmington campus along South College Road. UNCW / Jamie Moncrief

When I came to UNCW, I was a business major with an emphasis in marketing. Honestly, I was struggling. I had this idea that if I wanted to get into sales and the business field, I needed to be a business major and get a degree in business. This is where I was wrong, and I paid the price for it. I went through that one semester here at UNCW, and I’ll be honest with you, I was not a fan at all. I was struggling in all of my classes, I was stressing about how long it was going to take me to graduate, and I was beginning to tell myself that I was a failure. It wasn’t until the fall semester of my senior year that things started to turn around for me, and that was because of this little thing they call COM.

I came to the conclusion that the road I was going down was not the road for me. I swallowed my pride and went to my advisor’s office in hopes of creating a plan for myself and my future at UNCW. After a small discussion, my advisor brought up communication studies and began to brag about the department here at the dub. After some consideration, pulling some strings, and a bit of prayer, I decided to change my major to COM. I understood that because of all the transferring that I had done in the past, I would have to spend an extra year in college to finish my degree if I switched. At times I had thought of myself as a failure because I did not complete what I had started in my business education. I even thought that I might not be able to have a business career because I was not getting my degree in it anymore. All of these thoughts were completely wrong and I found out very quickly that everything I was telling myself about my decision was completely wrong.

Here I am, in my last semester as a COM major, about to graduate from the great University of North Carolina Wilmington. I currently hold a full time, “grown up” job at Cellular Sales, the number one Verizon retailer, a job that I thought would not be possible at first because I was not getting my degree in business anymore. That was another thing that I quickly learned – COM studies allows you have a wide range of careers to pick from. You can nearly choose whatever you want to do! After learning that COM broadens your horizons instead of minimalizing it, it was like a huge weight being lifted from my shoulders. Here I am, in a sales job, a goal of mine that I had written down for years, all because of COM. Could I have done something completely different to start off my career? Of course! That is the beauty of COM and everything it has to offer.

In days, I’ll be graduating. Because of COM, I’ve improved my skill set more than I could have ever imagined. Because of COM I have new friends who I will be friends with for the rest of my life. Because of COM I have complete control over the rest of my life and the rest of my career. Because of COM, I found my new home in Wilmington and no matter where I go from here, the Dub will always me home to me.

Brady Childers is a May 2021 graduate. His father inspired him to pursue a career in business. Brady loves meeting new people and solving their problems.