By Hope Weaver
Entering the college atmosphere comes with a lot of pressure. Choosing a major, making new friends, living independently for the first time, mastering time management are all things that the college experience teaches you. It is a stressful environment and can seem like a daunting four years. Choosing a major is the first decision that is required of a college student. Determining an area of study is no easy task. It is important to keep in mind future careers and business opportunities when picking a major and minor. In my experience, this decision came with many follow-up questions. I had to ask myself where I wanted to be in four years, what I saw myself doing, and whom I saw myself around. I originally chose Business as my major, but soon realized that it was not for me. I felt defeated by the classes, pressured to be someone I was not, began comparing myself to other students, and my grades began to suffer. I wanted to be challenged in my academics but feeling like a failure was a price I was not willing to pay. I changed my major second semester of my freshman year and I am extremely happy that I did. I wanted to enjoy college for all it had to offer while succeeding in my coursework.
I am able to speak in front of people without my anxiety taking over, I am confident in my verbal communication skill, I can lead others successfully all because of a decision I made my second semester of college. I had to do deep self-reflection in order to make the right decision for my college studies. I chose to major in Communication and minor in Leadership because it made me feel more fulfilled as a student and as an individual. More specifically, I felt that I was learning material that would not only help me with my academic studies but my journey into adulthood as well. The study of Communication would give me tools to succeed beyond college and prepare me for all of my future career endeavors. I didn’t think that I would resonate with a Leadership minor. I saw myself as a follower not a leader, but with my knowledge now I understand that leaders are not born, they are made. I have the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently with those around me regardless of the environment. I am thankful that I changed my major so early on because now, as a soon to be college graduate, I have a variety of career options available to me.
For example, I can use the interpersonal communication skills I have learned to be a personal assistant, helping others organize their daily life and maintain their responsibilities in a professional way. I can channel my organizational communication skills and find a career as an event planner. Using what I know about groups and communication styles to help other’s visions come to life. On the other hand, the skills I learned regarding verbal and non-verbal communication would be well suited in a sales position or human resources. Lastly, I can utilize the social media experiences I already have combined with my communication and virtual leadership tools to be a social media manager.
Dear Future Seahawks
If I could give advice to first-year students, it would be to view college as a personal growth tool instead of a mandatory step towards corporate America. College is an incredible stepping stone toward professional careers but that is not all it is worth. The memories I made, friends I gained, lessons I learned, and the changes I made are far more important than the career opportunities that followed. I would encourage college freshmen to choose a major that makes them feel passionate about learning and self-discovery. During my time at UNCW, I experienced two hurricanes and the start of a global pandemic. With these interruptions it was very hard to stay focused on my education; I am thankful for the technology I was able to rely on during this time and would encourage others to make use of their resources. UNCW and many other institutions make success very possible. It is important to view education as more than an academic outlet. Meaning, if taken seriously the college experience is the gateway to adulthood. I am proud to be a college graduate and even more proud of the person I have grown to be in the last four years here at UNCW.