Humans of the Dub: Reflecting on the college experience


Leah Sherrell, Humans of the Dub Assistant Editor

To open up, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was a communication studies (COM) major and a studio art minor. Since there aren’t official concentrations within the communication major, my area of study was integrated marketing communications (IMC), I was really interested in the branding side of that.  Within studio art, my focus was on graphic design because branding and design go really well together. I didn’t know that was what I wanted to do when I came into college. I started off as an environmental science major and I did horribly. I went from environmental science to studio art and then I was like “Who am I kidding?” that is not going to work. I think it was my advisor that suggested I try communication studies, so I did that and absolutely loved it. Within the COM major, I was part of Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) and Communication Studies Society (CSS) for about two and a half years, ever since my sophomore year. I served as publicity chair for one year and vice president this past year which was so much fun. It was the best decision ever.  

Would you mind sharing one of your best memories from college?

This is always such a hard question; it was all so fun. My memories from freshman and sophomore year are so different from my junior and senior years. I just feel like there was a big personal shift from the first two years to the last two. Some of my best memories are the ones that I made in the communication studies department like at COM Studies Week. I was able to go to the pub quiz and the TedX event. Everything surrounding COM studies week is just so much fun. I always love to see people outside of the school environment as well. I was a little bummed we didn’t get to do it this year. I’m sure it would’ve been really fun.

We all anticipate certain things we will learn or experience during college, what was something unexpected you learned from your time at Wilmington?

Taking on a leadership position. I never really saw myself as a leader. I was involved in high school but never had leadership positions. I had some small positions here and there but the thought of having a leadership position in CSS honestly really scared me—it made me nervous. I didn’t expect to get into it. It was my friends, they encouraged me and I tried it and I loved it. That was a big shock, but it was a really good opportunity for self-growth.

COVID-19 has deeply affected the last semester for all of us, but what was the biggest impact it had on you and your graduation experience?

All of our classes were switched to online, in all honesty it wasn’t a huge learning curve for me just because I had taken online classes before. Before it was just nice to be in class and see everyone but as far as getting work done that wasn’t too bad. The biggest struggle with being out of school was the actual graduation ceremony. I was really looking forward to going to the COM ceremony and getting to hear everyone speak and hear stories, see pictures, having all my family and friends there. Missing out on that was tough for me, but the virtual ceremony was still nice.

What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?

I was interning for the owner of Kickstart Collective for about two years. Now I work there part time because they are still trying to get the ball rolling. I am a graphic designer and account manager there. It’s so great, I love it. I love working with Laura, the owner. My future there is all up in the air because they are a startup and, as of right now, I’m just a contracted employee. They have plans to expand and hire more people and I would love to be part of that. I’ve been telling people since I started, it might be a long stretch, but it’s kind of my dream job. I get to do digital marketing, design and brand with people I work really well with. It would be hard to leave. I was like “I’m fresh out of school. I have this opportunity and it’s not like anyone else is going to hire me.” Granted it is only part-time, but they have intentions for me to go full time eventually.

Do you have any advice for those still in college or coming into it?

I have two pieces of advice. The first is something that was told to me countless times. I was told just to get involved. I know that is very vague, but for me it means getting involved within the major. I joined LPH and CSS, you just make so many connections doing that. Connections are what get you places. They are what got me and a couple of other people internships. Getting involved and making connections really makes a difference. Along those same lines, get to know your professors as well. I started out with people telling me to go up and talk to them, but I was like “No, I just wanna come to class, do what I’m supposed to do, and get out.”  Over the past couple of years, really getting to know your professors makes a huge difference and they are actually really cool and they want you to succeed. I got close to Dr. Willingham [a UNCW professor that primarily teaches IMC] and was able to do a direct individual study with her. It’s great. So, my pieces of advice are get involved and get to know your professors.