I can’t pretend that everyone hasn’t heard that ECU is a party school.
It is wrong to judge such a large university made up of so many hard-working, goal-driven students based on the small fraction of students who seem to care more about Greenville nightlife than their futures. Nevertheless, it would be foolish of me to think people will go out of their way to find goodness and truth in anything—especially a university so strongly, though wrongly, labeled with a “party school” reputation.
I’ll be completely honest; ECU’s “party school” image hindered my decision to become a Pirate because I didn’t want that reputation attached to me, as an individual. I am not a “party girl.” On any given Friday or Saturday night, I would rather go to Redbox to rent a movie and the grocery store to pick up a pint of Ben & Jerry’s with a friend than go to a house party to watch people drink the night away or go to a club downtown to pick up a friend off the floor.
So, how did I end up here? Why did I choose ECU?
Because ECU is so much more than a “party school.” I won’t allow others to define ECU for me; I will define ECU for myself.
ECU is Greenville, North Carolina.
There is something spectacular about living in a college town. The entire community of Greenville is so driven toward ECU’s students. From the simplicity of restaurant and store billboards that read “GO PIRATES! ARRRGH!” to the complexity of internship and job opportunities that local businesses have to offer, Greenville shows its support of all Pirates. It’s not too small of a town that I constantly find myself bored with nothing to do, and it’s not too big of a town that I feel lost and insignificant. Greenville has truly become my home away from home.
ECU is faculty, staff, and teachers who care.
The ECU faculty, staff, and teachers are phenomenal. Starting college, a fear of mine was that I wouldn’t receive individual attention from my advisers and professors. That fear has been completely dismissed. I have formed student-teacher relationships with several of my professors. I know I can go to their offices to talk about an assignment, a grade, the course material, or even a personal problem, and they will be more than willing to talk to me. I know when the time comes around to apply for graduate school, I have professors who will write excellent letters of recommendation for me because they care.
ECU is Pirate Nation.
There is nothing in the world like Pirate football. On the day of any home game, there is a distinct sensation in the atmosphere. It’s the thrill of the game. It’s the exhilaration of a victory. It’s Pirate pride, for you’ve stepped into a nation 50,000 Pirates strong. Just try chanting “PURPLE!” The response will amaze you.
ECU is lifelong lessons.
During my time here at ECU, I’ve learned vital life skills: leadership, responsibility, time-management, and service. ECU is truly a leadership university because courses, clubs, and colleagues each promote leadership skills. In class, I’ve learned how to lead a group of my peers toward a common goal. In student organizations, I’ve learned how to fulfill the duties of a leadership position. In the workplace, I’ve learned how to respect authority—the leaders of a group. I’ve also learned responsibility. I am responsible for myself, between cooking dinner, paying bills, making it to each of my weekly meetings, and getting my work done and done well. Additionally, I’ve learned time-management. I am in the Honors College. I am a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I am a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society. I am a member of the Chi Omega Fraternity. I am a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. I am the treasurer of the Pirate Tutoring Center. I volunteer with Campus 31 TV. I have a 4.0 GPA. I have a social life. And amazingly, I sleep every night. Finally, I’ve learned the importance of service. ECU’s motto is Servire, which means, “To Serve.” I think it is incredible that my university bases its primary foundation on serving others. I love giving back to the community that has given so much to me. The Volunteer and Service Learning Center is, in my opinion, one of ECU’s greatest assets. I filled out a simple form at the beginning of my freshman year, and I get weekly e-mails about different service opportunities. Whether I help out with an opportunity listed in the e-mails or I volunteer with one of my student organizations, the Volunteer and Service Learning Center keeps a record of all the times I have volunteered my service. Again, when the time comes to apply for graduate school, my application is looking strong.
ECU is lifelong friends.
I can honestly say I have met some of the most genuine people during my time here at ECU. My roommates, my pledge sisters, and the group of bullies I like to call my guy friends make up the most wonderful support group anyone could have. Some of my fondest memories are of lazy nights sitting on the couch, watching TV, and laughing until we cry with my three beautiful roommates. These girls are my best friends, my future bridesmaids. My pledge sisters are some of the greatest girls I know. We’re all different, and yet, we’re all the same. We are there for each other in a way that can’t be understood from the outside and can’t be explained from the inside. And sure, that group of bullies I like to call my guy friends may pick on me to no end, but those boys have helped me to laugh when I felt like I would never be able to smile again. I know that each of my friends would be there for me in an instant, no matter the circumstances, and they will be there for me for a lifetime, and that is the most amazing feeling.
ECU is preparation for a bright future.
Ever since I was a fifth-grade-news anchor on my elementary school’s daily announcements, I have aspired to become a broadcast journalist. At ECU, I can pursue my highest aspiration through the School of Communication, an assortment of clubs, and student media. There are so many graduate and undergraduate degree programs and student organizations that appeal a wide variety of interests. ECU not only gives students the tools they need to achieve their biggest dreams, but it also teaches students how to use those tools to prepare for a bright future.
ECU is finding yourself.
Around the time of my high school graduation, I had friends make quick judgments about my decision to attend ECU. Most of these judgments sounded like this: “ECU is going to change you.” I can honestly say that those judgments were correct. ECU has changed me. This university has molded me into the person I have always hoped to become. I am closer to my family—maybe not in distance, but surely in heart. I’ve formed many true friendships. I’ve grown in my relationship with Christ. I am more set in my morals than ever before. I am more confident in my abilities and in myself than ever before. And I am more excited to see what the future holds for me than ever before. I am me. And I am a Pirate.
So, in response to those who say, “ECU is a party school,” I say, “Well, of course! Because when you’re a Pirate, there is always reason to celebrate.”
In the words of everyone’s favorite Pirate, Johnny Depp, “Life’s pretty good. And why wouldn’t it be? I’m a Pirate, after all.”