By Kelly Geiger
The average graduating senior is feeling a variety of emotions. Reflection. We are looking back on our four years of many hurricanes, a pandemic, hundreds of assignments, and countless memories with friends. Joy. We did it! Finally, most graduating seniors are feeling a sense of fear. The unknown, the corporate world, the idea of truly becoming an adult and getting a job to support ourselves is a lot to take in. These are the average overwhelming feelings of a graduating senior, but I can truly say I am prepared for this new season of life, and I believe that the COM department at UNCW has been essential in preparing me for my post-graduate journey.
Building the Foundation
I came into UNCW with a love for art and an understanding that I needed to find a way to incorporate this into a corporate role. I felt a pull to the corporate world but not exactly to the business school. After talks with my mentors and advisors, I was introduced to the COM Department. I immediately jumped in and realized a passion for communication I never knew I had.
When I declared my major, I was stoked to dive headfirst into the courses I thought would interest me. Some of these courses included: Interpersonal Communication, Storytelling and Culture, and Research Methods. But, while I was taking those courses, I began to lose that passion I discovered for communication. I understood how broad the major could be and quickly found that I was enrolling in courses related to a concentration that didn’t interest me. I felt a strong need to include the fact that even after declaring my major, there were still times I felt a bit lost or confused. It was extremely helpful to have a variety of COM professors that wanted to see me succeed. These professors guided me in the right direction and thankfully I was introduced to the Integrated Marketing Communication concentration.
After completing the introduction courses, it was time for me to focus more on IMC classes. I found that IMC could utilize my artistic abilities and I was intrigued by the combination of skills I could gain and techniques I could learn from these classes. By majoring in Communication with a concentration in IMC I felt that the foundation I was building for myself would be sustainable and interesting throughout the entirety of my college career.
Complementing My Major
I noticed that graphic design skills were highly valued in the IMC concentration and with a bit more research, I found my future profession. I changed my minor to Digital Arts and took as many graphic design-related courses as possible. During many of my communication classes junior year, I found my graphic design skills were essential to group assignments as well as individual ones. This was around the same time I started looking for internship opportunities to help further my graphic design capabilities and build my resume. The portfolio I created with my assignments from courses at UNCW, I gained two internships in my junior year. The work I was doing at UNCW was extremely diverse and useful to show my skills as well as my quick progress.
Setting Myself Up for Post-Grad Success
Senior year I wanted to focus on setting myself up for success based on instruction I received from many of my COM professors. I continued to follow my passion for graphic design and communication and applied for more serious internships/part time jobs as a graphic designer. I gained more confidence in myself as I received praise from professors and landed jobs. As I took higher-level courses in the COM department, I fell more in love with what I was doing, and I can finally say my senior year of college, I actually enjoy class. Trust me, this is a rare for me to say.
Com Could Be the Choice for You Too!
When I talk to people coming into college or undecided students, I constantly recommend majoring in Communication Studies. While IMC might not be for everyone, I feel that a COM degree can be valuable and useful for hundreds of careers. The COM department at UNCW is full of amazing, dedicated, and talented students and faculty. I couldn’t have imagined myself at any other school and more importantly in any other major. I feel not only prepared but excited to join the workforce, and this is all thanks to the hard work that my professors have put into my education.
I am excited to say I am a UNCW grad and will continue to spread the word of our great COM department!