Dear College Freshmen

By: Jessica Rogers, EC Scholar and Honors College Sophomore

10440198_10205924317618613_8649788947709316001_nThe following blog post was originally featured on The Blog of Jessica. Photo: Jessica (right) and friend (left) graduate from Nash Central High School in 2014.

Dear college freshmen,

Wow… even though you are all still in school right now, you have officially gained the title here at college as “the new freshmen”. You’re mere months away from moving away from home and starting a new chapter of your life!

A year ago, I was right where you are. I had no idea what this next year had in store for me. I was excited, I was scared, I was depressed, I was every feeling you could possibly imagine and more. And secretly, I bet you feel like that, too.

So, as you play your final sports matches, perform in your final school musicals, and finish up those last exams, I wanted to give you some advice that I wish someone had told me at this point last year.

Don’t pack more than you need. You’ll be happily surprised at how little you can live off of. And you’ll be thankful for the space in your dorm room.

The freshman 15 WILL happen. No matter how much you try to avoid it, there’s a 9 in 10 chance that it will happen. It just comes from living a new lifestyle and the stress that comes with it. You’ll get rid of it soon. Don’t let it stress you out.

Communicate with your roommate. Set boundaries and know each other’s pet peeves. More importantly, KNOW YOUR PET PEEVES BEFORE YOU GO TO COLLEGE. I cannot stress that enough.

You are at college to learn. That should always come first.

….but also, know when to take a break from school, step back, and have fun. Watch Netflix. Go sit in a dining hall with your best friends for 3 hours. Go out partying at least once. Don’t be afraid of letting loose a little bit.

The schoolwork will be challenging. You’ll feel like giving up. Don’t. And don’t feel bad if you start feeling like you can’t do it, that’s natural. Just believe that you can, and you will.

But also, don’t be afraid of change. If you feel strongly like you need to change your major, go for it, but only if you know that it’s what you want and it is what will make you happy.

Absolutely NO ONE has their life together, but everyone likes to fake like they do. Don’t let them fool you. Don’t feel bad if you feel lost or stressed, everyone else does, too. You’re all in this together, going through the exact same transition at the same time.

It is perfectly okay to go home. If you go home over breaks, that’s awesome. If you go home once a month, cool. Once a week, still awesome. Sometimes in the middle of the week? As long as you’re back for class. If you feel like you need to go home, don’t be ashamed.

(And if absolute worst comes to worst, and you decide that college isn’t for you right now, it is always okay to go home.)

You are going to be around the same people for long periods of time. You are going to love most of them, but there will be a few that make you want to scream. Learn how to adapt and cope with that kind of energy. It’s hard, but you’ll get it eventually.

Don’t lock yourself in your dorm room for longer than 8 hours at a time (unless you are sleeping). Get out, hang out with friends, do some laundry, take a walk, go to the library, anything just to keep your blood flowing and your social energy alive.

Let’s face it, 80% of college kids drink alcohol, and you may want to as well. It’s your decision, but know the risks going in, especially since you are underage. Keep in mind that if you are caught underage drinking, you can lose scholarships, respect, even admission into the school.

If you do decide to drink, and it is your first time drinking, make sure it is in a safe place with people you trust. Large parties are absolutely NOT the place to drink for the first time. Watch your drink being made. Keep it in your watch at all times. Drink lots and lots of water. Make sure you eat before. Do everything that you possibly can to make sure that you stay as safe and as in control as possible.

And I swear, if I find out that any of you are drinking and driving, I will come find you and kill you if your stupidity doesn’t do it first. You risk not only your life, but also the lives of the people you pass on your way home. It’s a selfish act and absolutely unacceptable. Find a trusted DD or stay wherever you are until you are sober.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. They are mainly around to help you grow. They will answer your questions and be your guide as you attempt to pass their class.

And my small pieces of fun advice: save the number of every delivery person who calls you, so you know exactly who is giving you your food each time. (Lots of delivery guys are SUPER cute, so you need to know when to be presentable.) Do not pick up dollar bills off the street. If you stick around in Starbucks a few hours, you can usually pick up a free drink that someone abandoned at some point. If you eat Chick-Fil-A every day, you will get sick of Chick-Fil-A. Going into a 24 hours grocery store at 2:00am or later is a good idea maybe once.

But finally, and this is the big one, do not be afraid to let go. As you finish high school, you’re going to want to hold on to those times forever, because right now, they’re the best times you have. College will be so much better, but in order to embrace it, you have to truly let go of high school.

It’s a proven fact that 25% of high school friendships last through the first year of college. You will lose some of your friends. That’s okay, you’ve got amazing friends coming. You and your younger boyfriend/girlfriend will try the long-distance thing, and there’s a high probability that it will fail. That’s okay, there’s more fish in the sea. You will return to your high school, and you will see that your AP classes, your drama department, your sports team, etc, are doing great without you, and it’s going to make you upset. That’s okay, you are off doing bigger and better things. It’s all about learning to accept that what’s gone is gone, and while you can remember the good times, you have to embrace the new world you’re about to live.

Get ready for the most intense yet rewarding year of your life. You’re going to feel on top of the world at some points, and at other points you will want to crawl into a hole and die. But in the end, you get to come out knowing that you conquered living on your own and being an adult. At least for now.

And if you ever need any help or advice, you know where to find me.

All the best, and good luck!


Jessica Rogers, your newest college sophomore

Posted in Advice/Tips, Dorm Life, EC Scholars, Events, Honors College, Summer Experiences, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stepping into the Real World: Auditing Internship with SWIFT

By: Joey Harrison, Honors College Sophomore

FullSizeRender (2)Unfortunately, summer break is no longer the time for sleeping in late, staying up all night, and living worry-free. Well, it isn’t for me at least. I started off my summer with a week of relaxation in the Outer Banks. When I returned home, it was a quick transition back to reality. On June 27th, I underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum that occurred during my volleyball season. This meant no sports (i.e., no fun at all) for the entire summer. Luckily, I had a job lined up that would take my mind off of my injury.

I had the opportunity to gain both memories and amazing experience as I interned with a bank-telecommunications company called SWIFT. I worked alongside the chief auditor and several other audit managers and provided my skills on a multitude of projects. On top of the wonderful experience, I was able to network and connect with great people that can surely assist me with my professional advancement down the road. Working a “9 to 5” definitely gave me a taste of what life is like after graduation and although the clock seemed to stand still some days, the learning never stopped.

The projects started off simple and became more challenging. I was first tasked with updating documents; you know, the usual intern busy work. Before long, I was spending many hours in one-on-one meetings with executive level employees. The most nerve-racking time was when the chief auditor came in from Belgium for a week. The first day he was there, he asked for my input on how to more effectively present data to the Audit and Financial Committee board members. Obviously, this was way over my head… but after hours and hours of brainstorming and collaborating, we finalized the presentation, and he was very satisfied.

Prior to the internship, the only thing I knew about internal auditing was how to spell it. Now, I have experience with every aspect of that department, and I appreciate how important it is for it to work efficiently and effectively. It was a wonderful experience and I am truly lucky to have had the opportunity.

Qualifying for a prestigious internship such as this one would have been extremely difficult if it weren’t for the experiences and support that the Honors College has provided. The faculty members of the Honors College pursue a personal connection with each of the students not because they have to, but because they truly care. From the random “Great job” emails from Dr. Fraley to the “Just checking in” e-mails from Mr. Baxter, you’ll never find a better home away from home.

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Baucom Awarded National Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Director of Marketing and Communications

150507baucom-200wIn June, Class of 2015 graduate Ryan Baucom was rewarded for his excellence in chemistry and dedication to serving others with both the ECU and national Eldean Pierce Graduate Fellowship Award. The awards, which are sponsored and bestowed by Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, are worth $5,000 each with the purpose of funding the initial years of graduate or professional school.

The former EC Scholar and Early Assurance in Medicine recipient will be attending ECU’s Brody School of Medicine in Fall 2015. For his full bio, click here.

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Third Consecutive Honors College Student Receives NOAA Scholarship

By: Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

reidcoverThe following blog post was originally an ECU News Services story titled Exceptional Scholar: Student receives prestigious national scholarship, internship. Photo by Cliff Hollis. 

An Honors College student from Vanceboro is the third consecutive East Carolina University student to be awarded a prestigious scholarship and internship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Andrew Reid has received the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship, which provides $16,000 for his junior and senior years and a 10-week paid internship in 2016 with NOAA, the federal science agency responsible for the conditions of the oceans and atmosphere, including weather, fisheries and marine protected areas.

Reid, who is majoring in chemistry, is one of 150 recipients from across the country. Only about 10 percent of applicants are selected, said Dr. Tim Runyan, Honors College professor and scholarship advisor.

“Andrew is an exceptional student with a wide range of talents including athletics,” Runyan said. Reid was a walk-on member of the ECU football team.

Reid’s research interest is ocean acidification and how to prevent it. “With increased carbon dioxide, it causes the PH level of the ocean to go down and become more acidic and makes it harder for organisms to exist,” he said.

Reid, who is considering a career in medicine, volunteers at the Pirate Tutoring Center and received an undergraduate award in chemistry in 2013. He is an undergraduate research assistant in ECU chemistry professor Art Rodriguez’s research group.

Rodriguez said he has been impressed by Reid’s research independence and creative thinking skills. At ECU’s undergraduate research symposium this spring, Reid presented his work on a compound that experimentally has been shown to act as a contrasting agent. The compound has the potential to determine the presence or absence of brain tumors.

“Andrew is one of the hardest working undergraduate students that I have had the pleasure of knowing,” Rodriguez said. “His laboratory skills are outstanding. Andrew is a quick learner, a conscientious researcher and a reliable worker.”

A West Craven High School graduate, Reid is the son of Hank and Ivy Reid.

Reid joins ECU senior Chris Thaxton and recent graduate Thomas Vaughan as recipients of the Hollings scholarships.

For more information on the Hollings Scholarship, visit

To learn more about ECU’s Honors College, go to

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The American Dream: U.S. Wins Women’s World Cup

By: Erika Dietrick, Honors College Senior


The following piece was originally posted on the blog Diary of an Introvert.

June 26, 2015.

Days before the U.S. quarterfinal in Ottawa, Ontario, I concluded that, sadly, I was one of few American soccer fans who had traveled across the border to cheer on our women’s soccer team. As I explored the city, my eyes wandered amongst the pedestrians searching for proud U.S.A. apparel or some sort of “American look.” I couldn’t get a good read, but being the person that I am, I was certain that the stands would be stripped of U.S. stripes.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. A huge grin spread across my face while walking down the steps of my hostel…it turns out us Americans had been incognito (at least, in my mind) or drove just for the game to save some mullah.  My boyfriend and I took off in our simple U.S. jerseys to visit the Ottawa locks, and around every corner, we met the eyes and nod of an approving fellow American or a hearty, “Go, U.S.A.!!!” We were everywhere. The streets were adorned with red, white, and blue — official U.S. women’s jerseys and hipster patriotic tank tops, Uncle Sam shirts and outrageous ‘Merica shorts. On the sidewalks with our huge Nikon cameras, we nearly outnumbered the Canadian locals, who smiled in good spirit or teased us with, “Good luck when you play Canada.”

That evening, we each stood in line to board the free, school bus shuttles with excitement, anticipation, and a bit of fear. The day before, the Ottawa Citizen had printed a biting article criticizing the U.S. team’s “lack of offensive firepower.” They showed skepticism toward the American team’s self-proclaimed shield against the media, and the thesis of the piece was that “winning ugly hasn’t won them much praise.” It was true — we had watched the U.S. play Australia, Sweden, and Nigeria in the group rounds with ambivalence…proud to have moved on to the next game but a little dismayed at the uncharacteristic inconsistency in gameplay. But we believed. Even the skeptical among us still secretly believed.IMAG01207[1]

We stepped off of the buses onto the plaza that surrounds TD Place. Making our way towards the bright orange stadium, we stared in awe at theIMAG01080[1] crowds of people: children playing soccer on miniature fields, red-shirted Chinese soccer fans pounding a beat on drums, U.S. fans decked out in the craziest hats and clothing they could find. An impressive glass cinema towered to our right, and a nice burger joint had a line out the door to our left. Soaking in the atmosphere, I sensed no animosity or bitter competitiveness between the two groups of fans; some arrogant jubilance as if the victory was certain, for sure, but also respect and unbridled energy.

Tickets checked and poutine in hand, our mouths gaped in amazement at the bright, open stadium. It was breathtaking–the camaraderie among the U.S. side was palpable. After some friendly chitchat and crappy pictures of the team warming up, the game began.IMAG01093[1]

The first half exuded American dominance and possession but produced no goals. We took over 15 shots but had few on goal. The threat of the Chinese scoring seemed slim despite their technical prowess. We played hard, perhaps even intimidated the Chinese team, but could not finish. Julie Johnston remained the bastion for the fullbacks as Alex Morgan quickly maneuvered around their opponents, attempting to score. Abby Wambach and Sydney Leroux sat the bench, and Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday sat apart from the team due to their one-game suspension. Chants of “U.S.A.!” and “IIII believe that WE WILL WIN!” echoed throughout the stadium and were countered by Chinese songs and battle cries, their underlying meaning still translatable.

Suddenly, in the 73rd minute: Johnston crossed the ball to the mosh pit of players in the goal box.  Carli Lloyd jumped, legs karate-kicking, above it all and powerfully headed it into the right corner of the goal.

By the end of the game, the U.S. had proved that they were still the same fierce team with no thoughts of rolling over during this World Cup. However, their passion didn’t go unchallenged or unchecked.

Flash-forward to the semifinals: U.S. vs. Germany, June 30th. In direct contrast to the stoic strategy of the Chinese, Germany immediately burst into battle blitzkrieg-style, pressuring the U.S. team in every moment and causing mistakes. The first 5 minutes looked disastrous for the U.S. as we played catch-up, disoriented by the fast, aggressive movements of the Germans. To top it off, the U.S. gave a penalty kick to the German team after a heart-broken Johnston held a German player back from scoring. Lucky for us, Germany’s Celia Sasic missed entirely. Even luckier was the fact that Carli Lloyd scored a penalty kick just minutes later. Although slightly relieved, U.S. fans held their breath–Germany was not giving up without a fight.

As the game wore on, the U.S. calmed down, maintaining composure against attacks and (arguably) out-playing their opponents. What some were already criticizing as, if the U.S. won, an undeserved win was completely silenced during the 84th minute. The U.S. weaved the ball fast and Ping-Pong style around German defenders to Kelley O’Hara, who scored the second goal of the game. Germany’s spirit fought back, faded, quickly broke.

Today, the U.S. will play in the Women’s World Cup final against Japan, who beat the U.S. during penalty kicks in the final of Germany 2011. What began as a rocky start for the U.S. team has transformed into a rematch for revenge. The U.S. has a #ScoreToSettle with Japan. And if they keep the fire and ferocity of their recent play ablaze, they are certain to come out victorious.*

*UPDATE: Congratulations to the U.S. women’s soccer team for winning this year’s Women’s World Cup, Canada 2015!

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