Setting Sail for the Future
Let’s flash back to four years ago. I was a senior in high school anticipating all of the things that were to come as I began my education at East Carolina University. Looking back, I was not thinking about what was to come after I received my degree; I was just excited to be a college student.
Four years later I sit here at my internship and think about how much I have learned and grown in my time as a student. ECU has prepared me more for the future than I ever could have imagined.
I gained leadership expirience. I knew that wherever I went to college I wanted to be involved, but I had no idea just how many leadership opportunities would be available. With every organization on campus, there are ways to get involved and express your ideas. Due to the wide variety of organizations it is easy to collaborate with other organizations and meet new people. The leadership opportunities provided prepared me for the real world in a way that nothing else could. I learned what it’s like to work together with people who may have different opinions or backgrounds. I learned to take an idea and turn it into a reality. The atmosphere at ECU among staff and students helps new ideas to thrive. From kicking off a new mental health campaign on campus to raising money for my sorority’s philanthropy, I have gained experiences that will help me to succeed in a professional environment when I graduate.
I shaped my degree to tailor to my interests. Many degrees at ECU allow for students to select classes that they’re interested in alongside the required classes. I was able to take classes that I enjoyed but would also help me excel in the field of public relations that I intend to go into. I was also given the opportunity to take classes where students debated and shared opinions to enhance our perspectives on the world around us. Going to class at ECU has not been a chore but a pleasure. My classes have pushed me academically so that I am able to work to my full potential and get the most out of my education.
I gained real world experience through internships. Every year ECU offers multiple career fairs that not only help you to network for a post-college job but internships while you’re a student. Some students travel across the country for internships, and some are given opportunities right on ECU’s campus! My internship has taught me so much about my field of study and truly prepared me to apply for jobs. Students are also given the opportunity to do research through ECU, allowing them to gain a tremendous amount of experience. Having experience in my field reassured me that I was passionate about what I am doing and has made me excited and ready to pursue my career of choice.
I learned to live on my own. Freshman year students are required to live on ECU’s campus, which is an amazing experience to meet new people and be in an environment where almost everyone around you is also adjusting to college life. After that, students are given the opportunity to move off campus if they choose to. ECU works with off-campus housing to provide safe environments for students to live in. I have lived in an apartment complex that is across the street from campus for three years. Living in an apartment allowed me to get a taste of what it is like to live on my own, but still be a part of a university community. All of my roommates and neighbors are ECU students.
I was able to network with alumni. One of my favorite things about ECU is the pride that students have, and often times that carries over into their alumni lives. Almost every organization I have been involved in on campus has held events where current students are able to network with alumni. Whether it was at a career fair or an alumni BBQ I was able to interact with and learn from alumni. I made connections and shared experiences to help prepare me for the future. Many of my friends have also received internships and job offers from these alumni events.
Being a part of Pirate Nation is an experience that I will value for my entire life and I hope that one day I can return to ECU as an alumni and help impact other Pirates.