Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thanks From a Carolina Alum

Happy Thursday! We know that many of you are going to have to make some tough decisions over the next several weeks, so we thought it would be helpful to get some insights on how alums view the community, faculty and learning experience they receive at Carolina. The blog post below is from Sallie, a senior in our School of Journalism and Mass Communication who will be leaving us for her first professional opportunity following her graduation in May. Visit Sallie's blog to learn more about her adventures.

Dear UNC J-School,

Thank you. Thank you for enhancing the lives of all the students who walk through the doors of Carroll. Thank you for mentoring. Thank you for teaching. Thank you for critiquing, pushing and strengthening. But, most of all, thank you for caring.

It’s easy to let four years slip away as we press forward with our lives constantly looking for what’s next and forgetting who helped us get there. I was reminded of this the other day, when my friend Josh asked me to speak at the J-School’s information session for Explore Carolina. Professor Napoleon Byars led the session, which included the basic facts about the school, the opportunities available, and a quick tour. As I listened to Napoleon speak, it brought back memories of my own Explore Carolina experience back on a snowy day in January 2009.

I remember listening to all the presenters confident that what they were saying was simply by the book. However, in listening to Napoleon, I began to realize that everything this school told me four years ago was true, completely true. And now, it was my turn to speak.

I started by saying that I remember what it was like to sit in their seats. It wasn’t easy making a final college decision or even transitioning from high school in general, but that the J-School was where I found I belonged. The journalism school develops students into storytellers. It develops them into entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and strategic communicators. It also allows them to get involved in a variety of clubs, take a wide range of classes, and meet some of the most interesting people on campus.

However, while I was talking, I realized the importance of what is behind the school: the professors. They care. When I first came to Carolina I worried that all my classes were going to be filled with hundreds of students where the professors do not even know my name. That is not the case here. They care. The professors care about your success in and out of the classroom. They also want to build lasting relationships with students, and as a result do not simply think of students as their PID, but as people with stories.

Thank you, Trevy McDonald for introducing me to the Journalism School. Thank you, Napoleon, for critiquing my resume for the first time. Thank you, Winston, for making me enjoy writing. Thank you, Dana, for pushing my creativity. Thank you, Brian, for your patience. Thank you, Heidi, for your enthusiasm. Thank you, Professor Sciarrino, for my worst grade in the J-School, but conversely one of my favorite, although hard, classes. Thank you also for your guidance and support during my job search this Fall. And, lastly, thank you, Gary, for your unconventional classes that have truly taught me to think differently about the world.

Thank you, all.