Setting Myself Up for Success

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. 

(Photo via Star News Online)

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!