The End of a Chapter

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Five and a half years ago I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. Little did I know then it would be one of the best decisions I have ever made. My story is a little different than most, not only did I come to UNCW because of its incredible academic reputation but largely in part to the fact that I had been given a scholarship to play golf on the women’s golf team. I had visited several schools for golf but when I visited UNCW there was something special about this place and finally four years later I can put that special feeling into words.

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At the time of my arrival as I freshman I had plans to major in Exercise Science but that would quickly change when I found out that the required labs for Biology and Chemistry would take place during the midafternoon and cut into my golf practice. Not only that, I sat in class watching the clock, waiting so anxiously for class to be over. My heart and soul was just not interested in that field that I once thought it was. I would find a new passion in me besides golf and thanks in large part to Dr. Weber, Dr. Persuit, and Dr. Pullum the classes I would take from these phenomenal professors and wealth of knowledge I would gain is one of the many reasons I am graduating as a Communication Studies major.

As I reflect on my past four years with graduation quickly approaching I think about all the professors and classes that I have taken, but two classes in particular stand out. Integrated Marketing Communication II and Advertising II. These classes aren’t your typical lecture and take notes with a lengthy exam periodically. These classes have clients and this is where you get to put all your skills and everything you have learned to use. I have been fortunate to work on projects such as Hurricane Zephyr (a full scale exercise in preparation for the potential of major category 4 or 5 hurricane to hit campus) and learn the steps to the renaming process. This semester in AD II we worked on transforming the IMC Curriculum, planning the first ever COM Studies Week and running the 5thannual ETEAL Instagram Contest. These projects have helped me grow with unparalleled experience as a student.

 

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UNCW is more than a place to earn a degree, more than a university located by the beach, more than just a school. UNCW has become my home and has become a major part of me. I have learned more than I could have imagined, made more memories than I could have dreamed of, and built friendships to last a lifetime. To current students and students to come I encourage you to try things outside of your comfort zone, be spontaneous, and enjoy these years. They have truly been the best four years of my life and I hope they will be for you too! Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back from achieving your wildest dreams!

Thank you to all my coaches, teammates, professors, and friends for making these past four years the best four years of my life!

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  –Eleanor Roosevelt

 

-Kayla Thompson

Two Roads Diverged…

Everyone has their own path and that’s okay–it’s the point. It’s what makes your college experience special and molds who you into become at the end of it. I was fortunate enough to attend UNCW for five years and I’ve never been more grateful to have this opportunity.

As with everything in life, there will always be ebbs and flows. Over the past five years there have definitely been some ups and downs, but my time here exceeded all my expectations. I didn’t know what to expect, especially coming from such a small island over 1300 miles away, but if I had to go back I wouldn’t have changed a thing. The first time I heard about UNCW I was a sophomore in high school and for some reason I had a gut feeling it was going to be the place for me. It’s crazy for me to think I had no clue at the time that this place and school would become a second home. The Greek meaning of the word sophomore translates to “wise fool,” which I think is pretty fitting. I still view myself as a bit of a wise fool, just with a liiittle more experience. With every year that passes you begin to recognize how you’ve changed and how much knowledge you’ve gained, both in school and life in general.

College is this pivotal stage in our lives where we really get to know ourselves for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, no one has it all figured out and if they think they do they’re in denial. We are all constantly learning and growing. That’s why it’s impossible to determine what we’re going to do if we don’t even fully know who we are. That being said, one of the biggest misconceptions about graduating is having to know what you want to do. Some people are fortunate enough to find their passions early on, but for some of us it’s simply just going to take more time. I never fully accepted that concept until this past year. I spent a lot of my time being discouraged by the fact that I didn’t know what direction I was going in. Let’s just say there many a phone call to my mom saying, “what am I doing with my life??” meanwhile I’m crying in a study room in the library at 2am. Cut to 3 years later and I MADE IT!!! And so will you!!! I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life, but I’m loving every moment. Cherish the time you have here because you’ll never be at this age or at this point in your life again.

I’ll keep my words of advice short and in no particular order:

First, go to class. Just do it. I know it’s so tempting sometimes, especially with the beach right there, but it makes all the difference in the long run. Be smart about your absences, it will bite you in the *ss.

Second, figure out your priorities. This applies to the courses you take, the people you surround yourself with, and how you decide to spend your free time. Life is all about the opportunity cost of doing one thing over another.

Third, don’t forget to be a wise fool sometimes. Work hard, but remember to give yourself a break. Right now we’re all at that age where we know better, yet still make decisions that aren’t the best, but that’s what we’re supposed to do!! You live and you learn and it’s never a loss if you learn from your mistakes.

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THNAK YOU UNCW FOR GIVING ME SOME OF THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE!!! NO matter where I go or what I do, I will always be a Seahawk at heart.

It’s been real!
Magdalena

 

 

Tomorrow Belongs to the People Who Prepare For It Today

As a transfer student and only having been at UNCW for 2 short years, I decided to take advantage of my time here at the dub and be as involved as much as I could. I’m not going to list out every single thing you should do during your time at UNCW because everyone is different and each one of you will have different goals within your college career. But what I am going to tell you to do is to be involved on campus and within your community as much as you can!

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Volunteering at the Azalea Festival as a part of my Spring 2018 internship at CFCC

If you want to join a club or an organization on campus, DO IT. If you want to volunteer at the Azalea Festival or complete an internship (or a couple), then DO IT. Don’t stick with things that make you comfortable. Do what will benefit you in the long run! This is your time to learn and grow. You’re young and you will make mistakes. Mistakes will only make you wiser. Don’t be afraid to speak up in class or in a group project (trust me, you’ll have plenty of group projects if you haven’t already). Because I was that girl. I was that girl who was afraid of what others thought about me or if I might say something dumb in class.

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Photo from my Fall 2017 internship at Wilmington Design Company

Don’t forget to balance your life. Work hard, play hard. Enjoy the beach life but also remember to explore the historic downtown Wilmington. Visit the museums and learn a little (outside of school). Eat at local restaurants, like Tower 7 or Fork ‘N’ Cork. Go paddle boarding at Wrightsville Beach and visit the Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Wilmington has a lot to offer and taking advantage of UNCW and the city itself will get you far.

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Photo from the Conference on Applied Learning in Higher Education (CALHE) where I was one of several student coordinators

Lastly, don’t forget to network along the way! Make connections anywhere you can. Don’t be afraid to talk to a complete stranger because you never know who that stranger might be… 😉

Make an impact on UNCW, Wilmington and your future!

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Until next time…UNC-DUB!

Emily Holt

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Go and Serve Your Community

Senior blogs are supposed to write themselves, right? I feel like I should have something profound for those of you reading this, some beyond-the-stole wisdom to impart on you. Tough luck, I don’t. I ain’t that special. Do I have advice? Not any you haven’t heard already. From what I remember some of the most uttered words and phrases at UNCW are “Internships,” “Study Abroad,” and “Get Involved.” I did two of those. I’ll let you guess which ones I did.

Look at those three words/phrases though. They all involve applied learning. It seems like I’m brown-nosing (ETEAL was our client this year for AD II) but the main thing I’m taking away from UNCW is its focus on applied learning, or rather the effect that applied learning had on me. UNCW is in a league of its own when it comes to applied learning. Or at least a league it shares with SUNY (We’re coming for you SUNY!). Google “applied learning” right now. What schools show up? SUNY and UNCW. And that’s not just because you’ve googled UNCW a bunch of times (although Search Engine Optimization does play a role). UNCW is one of the top colleges in the nation for applied learning. And that’s AMAZING.

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I can tell you that now, as I am applying for jobs, it’s great to have that physical experience under my belt. Including my internship, I’ve worked with 3 nonprofits in Wilmington, and 3 or 4 on-campus organizations. I can relate requirements, qualifications, and responsibilities in jobs to my work in those organizations, and I am much better off for it.

But enough of that, where’s the sappy crap? I don’t have any. I don’t like looking back. That being said, you guys are in a great university that can help you an incredible amount, if you will just let it. I will say it helped me in ways beyond education – like becoming a better person. Okay, that’s the last sappy crap I’ll have.

But while I have your attention and my platform, I figured I’d plug a few things. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give shoutouts to my specifications – IMC and Nonprofit Management. One realm of work often goes unnoticed by COM majors, although recently there’s been an uptick in interest – nonprofits. Fun fact, Wilmington has one of the highest amounts of nonprofits per capita in the state, so there’s bound to be a nonprofit for whatever your fit or cause is. One thing they tell you in COM 400 is find a job that you like, that you fit in – and there’s a nonprofit for EVERYTHING.

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Got a passion for business? You can work for a business association, or maybe a nonprofit focused in providing support for small businesses. Politics? Oh, you know there’s a million nonprofits for that and they’re always looking for volunteers, not to mention people good at communicating. Health? Most hospitals are nonprofits. Seriously. There’s also the red cross, or doctors without borders. Know what you stand for and find your nonprofit. They’re not hiring? Volunteer, and keep volunteering. You’ll be at the top of their list when they start hiring again.

Even if you’re not into nonprofits, almost every business you see could use a marketing or communication studies employee. There are opportunities galore behind every storefront and business high-rise.

The point is, there’s opportunities everywhere. My parents (two schoolteachers) didn’t understand why job applications were stressing me out so much, until they realized when they got jobs, they really only had to apply to schools. They didn’t have that fear of not applying to the right places, because all their opportunities were laid bare. But me? Every organization needs a marketing person. Hell, the Wilmington symphony has one. I’m terrified of the ocean in front of me, but just like the real ocean, there are thriving ecosystems in play. You just have to dive in and find them. UNCW gave you the dive license, and you know what kind of fish you’re looking to swim with.

Moral of the story? You got this.

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Signing out,
– Eli J.

Where did the time go?

Well, UNCW, it seems our time together is coming to an end.

We spent 4 years together, and through those years we’ve experienced a multitude of emotions. You brought me plenty of good days, some bad days, and a few days that I would love to re-do. There were plenty of laughs, tears (both good and bad), a few existential crises, and plenty of memories had with you.

Although I came to you in hopes of becoming a Physical Therapist, I learned early on freshman year that chemistry is not my friend (*cue breaking out in stress hives at Randall when studying for my chem final*) and that I would be better off in a different field. Enter Scene: Communication Studies.

A big shoutout goes to Dr. McKinney’s COM 104 class for being the reason why I made the switch of majors. Although I took this to fulfill gen-ed requirements, I was in it during the same semester as The Worst Chemistry Class Ever. I realized COM would be a much less stressful path and man was I right (or at least I think I was, no com class has made me break out in hives like chemistry did, so). Plus, with COM I could take PR/IMC/AD classes and mix in some interpersonal communication classes as well. Overall, I’d say I’m satisfied with my choice in major. Each day I genuinely looked forward to seeing my COM professors, especially Dr. Pullum. If you do anything during your time as a COM major, take a class with him. I promise you will not regret it. Just trust me on this one.

I’m not sure exactly what I want to do when I grow up, but I feel confident that my skills learned through COM will be able to help me out in whatever field I ultimately pursue.

It isn’t just my classes that have helped me prepare for my entry into the “Real World.” I went out of my comfort zone and joined a sorority my sophomore year. Middle school me would cringe at college me for doing that. However, I am so glad that I did because it allowed me the opportunity to hold positions and apply what my classes taught me. It also led me to meet some really great gals who have helped me learn more about myself and who I am. Although I still don’t know who I ~really~ am, I think this experience helped me to realize the kind of person I want to aim to be.

A lot of people keep asking me, “are you ready to graduate?”

To be honest, I have no idea. No matter how I feel about it, in 12 days I will be a graduate of UNCW. In 5 days, what I have known to be my life for the past 4 years will come to an end. The world will keep turning. Life will go on, but in a different way.

Do I know what I am doing? Probably not. But am I stoked for the next adventure that lies ahead? You bet. 

This isn’t a goodbye, UNCW, but a see you in a few years (when hopefully construction is over and parking exists). Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

p.s. men’s basketball will make it back to march madness by 2020, you can quote me on that.

– Kiahna Hamilton

The 17th Grade

We all have heard the saying “girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.” So, I don’t know any boys that have gone to Jupiter so I can’t really speak to that, but I knew early on it’d be in my best interest to go to college to get more knowledge so that’s what I did!

I have had the privilege of spending the last three years here at UNCW. I have truly grown and learned more in the last three years than I would have ever imagined. This love affair started my freshman year of college with the UNCW virtual tour. UNCW sparked my interest early on my freshman year when I knew I didn’t want to be at the university I was currently at. Because I was on the university’s softball team I couldn’t take any casual 8-hour trips to NC during the school year, so I did a lot of research on the school and the city of Wilmington. I think it’s safe to say that if you fall in love with a place solely on what you see on the internet it’s gonna be good. (I would not advise applying that rule to online dating)

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I was admitted to UNCW May 31st, 2015, Sent my deposit June 1st and on August 12th moved 8 hours away from my little farm town in PA. With Gods provision, only two days into being here I met this girl at a boutique who was starting a women’s ministry on campus. I now hold a leadership position within this ministry called Delight and it’s been the main source of my community here which I’m beyond grateful for.

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I could go on and on with stories and memories from my time here but I know you don’t want to read all of that. So here are some tips on how I would recommend spending the rest of your time in your undergrad.

Go to class – Regardless of the weather outside or how pointless you may think it is, go to class. Your chances of doing well in a class are so much higher if you just show up. It keeps you accountable for the work that needs to be done and can provide structure for your day.

Don’t strive for perfection– You can’t be perfect at everything

Push yourself-  try and solve the problem by yourself before you ask for help (within reason) you will learn more by problem-solving!

Explore – you’d be surprised what you find. Wilmington is filled with beautiful scenery and AMAZING local food. So just drive, bike, walk around!

That’s all I’ve got. I know this post is super sporadic but that’s honestly what my train of thought looks like with only a few days until graduation.

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Thank you UNCW, Wilmington and North Carolina, it has truly been a treat to experience your beauty the last three years. I will be back!

-Jackie DiGiacomo

 

It’s Been Swell

It’s hard to believe that in less than two weeks I will be walking across a stage in my cap and gown. Granted it will be fun, but it is honestly quite terrifying. This is the moment where everything changes, and a part of me wishes I can go back to freshman year. There are a couple of things I missed out on that I wanted to do, but there were also things I wouldn’t give up for the world. Here’s a few of them:

1: Don’t be afraid to Study Abroad for a Semester

In other words don’t be like me. I always wanted to go to Kyoto, Japan or Seoul, South Korea. However, I was to afraid of traveling on my own to actually allow myself to experience the chance of a lifetime. All the time I here my fellow classmates discuss their study abroad trip impacted them. How it made them courageous, more independent, and more well rounded. They experienced something so precious and life changing.

2: Internship Internship Internship

So technically I have never done an Internship, but I have volunteer opportunities that I have taken up that can suffice as internships. Either way, it is important to get hands on experience in your career field before graduating. However, don’t do it just so you can have a better chance of getting a job once you graduate. Do it for you. An internship helps you be prepared for the career world while also building up your confidence as a future graduate. With my applied learning classes and volunteer opportunities I have gain the confidence I need to walk into an interview prepared for whatever they ask me.

3: Career Service Center

Please go to the Career Service Center before applying to a job or internship. This center is here to help you build powerful resumes and portfolios that can help you stand out against the others. Sadly, I took them for granted and didn’t go to them for a couple of job opportunities. However, next week I will be heading over there to get my resume and portfolio in check before applying to jobs matching my career fields. Not to mention they can help you prepare for interviews and what to wear to interviews. They are my life savior basically.

4: Treat Every Class Like It’s Your Career

No, but seriously do this. All the classes you take at UNCW will be beneficial in some way, shape, or form.  Trust me on this. That is why it is important to treat every class seriously. Read the books. Write a paper that you would be proud of. All the projects you get? Complete them in a manner that you can put in a portfolio and show a future employer. Pay attention to the professor. Your classes here at UNCW is almost in a way an internship, because everything you learn you will most likely use somehow. Yes, I know it sucks to ready a book that can be very dry and almost cry worth, but it’s worth it. You will be better prepared and more confident of your skills if you do.

5: Find Your Passion

A fact about me is that if I’m not passionate about what I’m doing, I will do terribly at it. That’s just how it is for me. I was scared of this because there were people always saying that your job will most likely not be your passion. In response I asked myself what is the point of getting a degree in something that you won’t love or have a passion for? Now, your career won’t always be rainbows and butterflies, but it shouldn’t be miserable either. However, if you have a passion for it the good days will always out way the bad days. I’ve come to realized that my passion is helping others. Whether they’re a customer, client, team member, or an employer.  I want to make the people around me happy and know that they have someone that they can depend on. Following my passion I am so excited to graduate and enter the workforce, because I can wait to follow my passion and see what happens.

I guess I am really sappy or cliche right now, but who cares. This is what I see when I look back on my years at UNCW. From an ignorant freshman to a senior who’s following her passion and dreams. Either way, it has been an honor to be a Seahawk these past four years. Thanks for the memories!

-Myranda Ross