Taking the Leap Proved to be Worth It

It’s safe to say that before I came to UNCW and became a communication studies major, I was living with my eyes closed. It’s hard to put into words just how thankful I am that I decided to attend UNCW, but I’ll give it my best shot.

I will start with the university as a whole.

Not only is it located in a beautiful place geographically, just look at the campus, but it is filled with people who are dedicated to getting the most out of every student. Transferring from a smaller school, I have to admit I was worried at first about becoming just another number lost in the crowd. I would soon realize that this was far from the case.

UNCW proved to be the perfect place to learn and grow

Not only did I feel right at home here, but my belief that the education I was going to receive would be superior, was confirmed.

As a transfer student going from already being a COM major, to PCOM, and forced to take public speaking, I was not exactly thrilled about my decision to attend UNCW my first semester.

Those initial feelings of doubt could not be farther from how I feel now.

After getting through the gateway courses, I started to realize how much being a COM major at UNCW had to offer. Taking courses outside of my focus such as interracial communication and political communication, combined with courses such as IMC I and Advertising II, helped me gain a broader perspective of the world and a better understanding of how everything is connected.

In addition to providing me with this broader and better understanding of the world, it also made me think more critically about it.

Everything is not always as it appears and it is important to understand how to think for yourself. Every course I have taken here has addressed this mindset, and is something that UNCW and the COM department should take great pride in.

Not every university prepares students equally

As a-soon-to be graduate from UNCW, I am more prepared to start my career than I could have ever imagined. I will be forever grateful for this, but I am more grateful for how prepared I will be to better myself in all aspects of my life.

My eyes are now open, and I will do my best to understand all I see.

Brian Clifford ’17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here’s to Being Thankful My Plan A Sucked.

My last blog post on here, wow. I can’t believe it’s over.

Alright, here we go-

I didn’t plan on going to UNCW; it just wasn’t my ‘Plan A’.

I didn’t plan on anything happening the way it did. But you know, life is funny like that.

My whole life, I had always lived by the beach. But my freshmen year of college at ECU made me feel completely landlocked, lost, and not at all satisfied with tailgates and purple/gold color coordination. The pirate’s life was in fact not for me. I was miserable, and sooo not into skipping class for football.

I didn’t have a Plan B, so I just went for it, and followed my way back to the coast and transferred.

I never really found my fit in the land of purple and gold. But when I came to UNCW, it felt like home. And the funniest thing about it? I’m here because my ‘Plan A’ failed miserably. I fell in love with my school, my major, and my new found home. And I was completely okay with skipping class for the beach.

I’ve taken in all that I can from the journey that has been the past 3 years. And I learned so much. I learned what a COM major at UNCW should learn, but I also learned 2 crucial life lessons from my college experience:

  1. Your plans will potentially suck and fail.
  2. Your failed plans will bring you to exactly where you need to be.

So here I am, right where I need to be, forever thankful that my ‘Plan A’ sucked.

UNCW will be my alma mater, and Wilmington will continue to be the place I call home. My personal and academic life plans failed for the better, and it all worked out just fine. I wish I could hug the whole university and all its’ students, faculty, and buildings because I will truly miss the Dub Life.

I hope those of you reading this take your time at UNCW and in Wilmington. It’s a beautiful little place in a wonderful city. I hope you don’t get discouraged when your plans fail you. Actually, you should plan for all of your plans to fail, even the most secure ones. And if your plan fails? Just ride the wave of it until you reach the shore you’re destined to land at.

It’ll be a hell of a ride, I promise.

Kayla Millie ’17

 

 

Seven Years of College Down the Drain

College. That place where mannequins come crashing through Friday night frat houses, and beer don’t cost nothing. Well, I may be thinking of Animal House, but college is like that, right? While my college experience was one of a kind, I cannot say that I have ever stolen a rump roast from the corner Piggly Wiggly. Or did I?

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It started like this, graduated high school with honors, got accepted into a quaint Christian college, and the rest is history. For most maybe, but not for me. While I pursued mechanical engineering and swam for the school swim team, I never felt like I was home. A semester in, I decided that college just was not for me, so I quit school to work night shift at Amazon. It was a smart plan until about a month in I realized that manual labor did not sound appeasing for the rest of my life. Jumping back into the college plan, I took some classes at the local community college to work my way back into higher education. After 3 semesters, I transferred to a place called UNCW. Although it was not my first choice at the time (#1 PSU), I welcomed the university with open arms.

Two and a half years later, and I cannot believe that I am about to leave my home away from home. Having such a negative experience starting college, I had given up on finding the school that I could call my own.  Somehow, whether it was within my major, or the various student groups I became involved with, I now dread the day when I have to leave this home of mine. This school has given me so many opportunities to improve and better my communication skills.

Looking forward I am excited to see where everything that I have learned, from my time at UNCW and within the COM major, will take me. Fingers crossed I end up in the brewing or automotive industry.

Cheers to us, the class of 2015!

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-Joseph Hines

It’s Not Over Yet!

It’s that time of year. COM seniors are finishing up final papers, projects, and preparing for presentations. The COM 400 portfolio is finally finished, and everyone’s talking about job interviews, families coming into town, and how they need to get out of their apartment the day after graduation.

But wait a second… I’m not done yet. I’m a July graduate. And I’m totally cool with it! 

I’m definitely not a fan of the notion that you have to finish school in four years. I’m finishing up my fifth year of college; the first three at my community college back home and the latter two here at UNCW. It doesn’t feel like five years—I wish I could stay longer! The reason why I don’t mind finishing a little later than most is because I want to ensure my college experience is the best it can possibly be.

My interest and career aspirations in media/video production are what brought me to take courses in advertising. I’ve always liked advertising. I love TV ads, and I’d love to make them for a living someday soon. Learning about advertising was the perfect complement to video production. This semester, my interest in the two fields opened me up to the rewarding experience of establishing Pier601 Creative, UNCW’s first student-run IMC firm. Be on the lookout for more exciting things to come from Pier601! If you plan to take Field Video Production courses with Dr. Bolduc, I would highly recommend signing up for IMC 1 or Advertising courses with Dr. Persuit as well. The skills you learn about advertising will greatly help you in communicating with video clients about their projects.

It’s so exciting seeing friends I’ve made in my time in the COM department prepare for graduation. I’ve met so many people in my two years here at UNCW, in both my media production and advertising classes. I’ve not only been pushed harder than I ever have before, but have been encouraged and motivated by my peers. I’ve seen them do some awesome work. One of my classmates and best friends won a car thanks to her work—how cool is that?

Whether you’re pre-COM, COM, or not, my charge to you is to take on those opportunities presented to you. Keep telling yourself it’ll be worth it… even if you graduate a little later than you thought.

Nathan Evers

So You Want To Be A Media Planner?

Everyday a city dweller is exposed to 5,000 advertisements. With this many advertisements it is amazing that we actually remember some of them. Part of the remembrance is due to the work of media planners.

Media planning is the science of message dissemination. It specifically “refers to the process of selecting media time and space to disseminate advertising messages”. In order to find out more about this division and the work they do our blog group reached out to Zimmerman Advertising Assistant Media Planner Mariel Oweida.

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Oweida, a May 2013 graduate of the UNCW Cameron School of Business, began working for Zimmerman Advertising in December of 2013. She referred to media planning as,

“…finding appropriate media platforms for a client’s brand/product to use by determining the best combination of media to achieve the client’s marketing objective; media could include print, TV, radio, digital, OOH (out of home advertising- billboards, bus wraps, etc.)”

 Media planning begins with a Media Action Request (MAR) and ends with a media buy. Although the media planning division doesn’t actually negotiate the buying, they do work closely with buyers and account executives to make sure the plan is well executed.

Media planning is fast paced. Owieda explains she was surprised at the quick turn around. Having concentrated in marketing as an undergraduate, media planning was a new career path for her. Usually you need specific degree for advertising or experience from another ad agency but, she says, ad agencies look for candidates that are willing to learn and grow with the company.

Specifically, Zimmerman Advertising is a full-service agency that focuses on building national retail brands. Over the past 30 years it has become 14th largest advertising agency in the world and they currently bring in revenue of $100 million a year.

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Recently they moved their headquarters to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Their brand new office is beautifully constructed to promote a more casual, creative, and collaborative environment. Although this brand new building seems friendly and relaxed, it is full of hardworking individuals who go above and beyond to help clients meet their advertising objectives. In a previous interview with Elizabeth Harrington, Oweida described her typical workday as untypical. “You should never expect to go in at 8 a.m. or leave at 5 p.m. [You] almost always end up going in early and leaving later- that extra dedication is unpaid.”

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During her day Oweida works on budgeting clients money, conducting market research, and media placement. Already she has worked on accounts for Ashley Furniture, Boston Market and AC Moore. “The most challenging part of being an assistant media planner is paying attention to detail, executing the plan we provide, and dealing with clients,” Oweida says. “As a media planner it is your job to let clients know why they are spending their money the way you are telling them. It is important to keep up with research from Nielsen ratings, to demographics, income, and even how long people have owned homes. They all help you plan the media and explain the why to the clients.”

So as soon to be graduates we asked for the inside scoop on what to do if you want a career as a media planner. She said work on knowing Excel and basic Excel math, but most importantly have great communication skills. She also told us to be up to date on the newest and important trends in the field, which as of right now are social and digital media.

We would like to thank Ms. Oweida for taking the time to speak with us. If you have any questions or advice about media planning comment below!

Caroline Robinson, Elizabeth Harrington , Savannah Valade

Personal Preferences vs. Employer Requirements

Six weeks until graduation here at UNCW. Ask any senior what’s on their mind and I can almost guarantee it has something to do with employment – resumes, cover letters, interviews, portfolios.

It is our goal to make a good impression on our potential employers in every form – in person, on paper, and increasingly important, online. Searching someone’s name can yield a lot of information – sometimes too much information.

In the COM Department, many students will enter fields where managing an online presence is part of their job responsibility. Here is where we enter the public versus private debate. We have been told that our social network sites should be kept public so that prospective employers, especially those in the marketing field, can see what we post about, how often we post, and if we’re keeping up with the latest trends. But what if companies aren’t making the public or private view a personal preference? What if they are demanding access to your accounts? Other than directly asking for your log in information, employers are also asking applicants to friend a human resources manager, or log in to a company computer during an interview.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney, Catherine Crump said: “It’s an invasion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at people’s private Facebook pages as a condition of employment or consideration in an application process.  People are entitled to their private lives. You’d be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside. It’s equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person’s private social media account.”

Facebook’s privacy officer, Erin Egan, also weighed in on the issue: “In recent months, we’ve seen a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people’s Facebook profiles or private information. This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends. It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to anticipated legal liability.”

Much of what these employers are doing could be illegal. When interviewing, every human resource staff member knows that some topics are strictly off limits. Asking one of these off limits questions could put your company at serious risk for being sued for discrimination. Yet by using to social media investigation or review, this kind of off limits information can be collected about a potential employee even before their interview.

Here are some examples of questions employers cannot ask:

–   Are you married?
–   How old are you?
–   Do you have children? If so how many and how old are they?
–   What church do you attend?
–   Do you belong to any social or political groups?
–   Do you suffer from an illness or disability?
–   Are you taking any prescribed drugs?

And for women specifically:

–  Do you plan to get married?
–  Do you intend to start a family?
–  Are you likely to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC describe the issue as “Tempting Fruit from a Poisonous Tree”. They give the following example:
Applicant – Alex Jackson – catches your eye. Excellent resume, degree from a New York Ivy League school, published in trade magazine, active in community, and has excellent references. You decide to pull their Facebook page to get a better feel for the applicant. You find Alex is a 42 year old female, active in the Catholic Church, recently married, and has one year old son. A recent posts says “Please pray for my mother as she recovers from her most recent bout with cancer.”

Just like Alex’s, your profile probably reveals a lot of the same information. In just a matter of a few clicks, race, age, religion, gender, and medical history have all been revealed – and are all illegal questions for an employer to ask. In a worst case scenario, an employer could even get sued under a variety of Acts if one felt such factors contributed to swaying a hiring decision.

Social media continues to blur the lines of public and private. Be prepared for your interview – know what questions are likely to be asked, but also know what questions you don’t have to answer. How do you feel about employers requiring to see your accounts? Acceptable or infringing? Where should the line be drawn? Is there a compromise that can be made?

– Savannah Valade

Make sure to keep up with the blog this week as the team explores more employment trends in preparation for COM Studies Day this Friday. Students and alumni are encouraged to attend the informational panels, fashion, and networking events that will take place throughout the day. This is a great opportunity to learn, ask questions, and get advice . For those who cannot attend the events, follow the IMC Hawks here on Twitter as we will be live tweeting, as well as live blogging, throughout the day’s events.

 

I Believe I Can Fly

It’s hard to believe that a week and a half from today, I will be in my cap and gown, and the life I know as a student will be over. I will be graduating from the University of North Carolina Wilmington as a Communication Major, focusing in Advertising and Public Relations! It has taken me 5 ½ years, 4 schools, and 3 different majors to get to where I am now (let’s just say I like to experience new things…often). Wilmington, UNCW, and the Communication Studies department specifically has been the perfect fit for me and I finally feel at home, a place to stay. Although I no longer feel that I have the mental or financial capacity to stay a student, UNCW will always feel like home to me and Wilmington is where I hope to start my career!

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So at the moment, in between juggling my final projects for the six courses I am taking, I am also applying to jobs in Wilmington within the marketing field. I have always said that I would move away from Wilmington for the perfect job, but they would have to pay me enough so that I could travel back whenever I want! I hope to work for a marketing agency or firm, but an in-house position at a company is something I will consider as well. Unlike many other Seahawk peers I do feel ready to enter the “real world” and soar!

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Being a student in the Department of Communication Studies of UNCW is where I have grown and continue to grow into the young professional that I aspire to become. When I transferred to UNCW, I had most of my general courses out of the way so I jumped right into the steps to become a COM major! This included taking Introduction to Communication (COM 150) with Dr. Weber and Research Methods (COM 200) with Dr. Olsen at the same time, which didn’t intimidate me at all. It only confirmed I was in the right department with the right professors. What makes the Communication Department at UNCW so successful is the professors. Through my Public Relation courses with Professor Chin, I have learned how to keep pushing harder to get the results I want under strict deadlines. Through my Capstone course with Professor Trimble, I can professionally present myself to (and impress) employers with an outstanding resume, cover letter, portfolio and interview skills.

The most influential professor that has made a huge impact on my life here is Dr. Persuit. From the moment I stepped in my transfer orientation, she caught my interest with this concept called IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication… duh), I took her class and I am hooked! Through the multiple courses I have taken with her she has not only taught me great insights on the many aspects of marketing but also on life in general. Ultimately she has inspired my creative passion for marketing! One quote from Dr. Persuit that I will never forget is “IMC’s goal isn’t to change attitude, it is to change behavior”; I have not only incorporated this within my marketing classes but throughout my life.

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So my experience at UNCW has been a little bit different than most. I didn’t enter as a freshman so I don’t have crazy dorm memories nor did I make my best friends here at UNCW. The experience UNCW did give me was a chance to expand my knowledge and practice what I would like to do with my life; and that is something that no one can ever take away from me! So thank you to everyone who helped me along the way here at UNCW, whether you are have been my professor, classmate, or just the barista at Port City Java in Randall, I appreciate it. I will always be a Seahawk at heart, I’m just spreading my wings and ready to fly!

-Kelsey Raskob