Meet a Mariner!
The Rewards of Serving Others
By Tiffany King
Volunteering and serving others is as natural as breathing for College of Coastal Georgia student Eric Seals.
Seals, who will graduate in December, has worked for the student volunteer organization CCGA Serves since the spring semester of his sophomore year. But his spirit for volunteerism actually began in high school at Glynn Academy, where he graduated in 2014. Like many students in high school, Seals was trying to decide what he wanted to pursue in life. In the meantime, he found himself participating in various volunteer activities.
"I didn't volunteer too much in elementary or middle school. Once I got into high school, some of my friends would be involved in things and they would ask me if I wanted to join them. That's how I started," Seals said. "Then I joined a club called Interact, which is the high school version of the Rotary Club, and they're all about volunteering. So I did a lot of volunteering with them."
He continued to give back through CCGA Serves and attended alternative spring break trips with the organization. He was eventually hired as a student worker and now helps plan volunteer activities for students.
"I just love volunteering, so it's been a very cool job for me to do," Seals said.
Seals is majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing—a skillset he's already using for his current job. He does the marketing for CCGA Serves events, makes connections with people on campus, and finds ways to reach students with information—which he calls a challenge.
Seals' dream job is to work in the marketing department of a record label and be a tour manager. He hopes to work with Reach Records, a Christian rap record label based in Atlanta.
"I just love music, being creative and I want to be involved in it somehow," Seals said.
Falling in love with the College of Coastal Georgia
Seals' desire to work in a creative career field almost led him down a different path. He originally planned to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
"In the second half of my senior year (in high school), I realized mechanical engineering wasn't what I really wanted to do in life. I'm interested in being creative, which is why I was drawn to it, but then I wasn't sure if I wanted to do mechanical engineering for the rest of my life," Seals said.
He decided to attend the College of Coastal Georgia to figure out his career options and fell in love with the College.
"It's small and very easy to get to know people that you see often. The community here, staff, and professors are all really caring, involved, and invested. It was just easy for me to stay here," he said. "Of course getting involved with things freshman year also helped me to fall in love with it."
Seals said he enjoys interacting with people, especially professors, who've brought their everyday business experiences into the classroom.
"Everyone has experience because they're working their jobs and teaching," he said. "We're able to get real-life examples. They'll talk about a project they just did, how it went, why it failed or how it succeeded."
Growth through service
Through his volunteer experiences, Seals said he's learned that people aren't that different from one another—and the main differences are in attitudes and work ethics.
"Most people are willing to help but have a hard time knowing where to start," he said. "Being able to provide that and helping them get involved to make a difference is really great to see."
He's also learning how to manage people, how to resolve conflicts, and how to motivate others. Seals describes himself as a quiet person. He often finds himself stepping out of his comfort zone to make connections and reach others who share the same quiet disposition. Seals understands the importance of listening to others and making them feel heard.
"I've definitely been put in a lot more situations that have caused me to be in charge of people and to lead them. It's made me a stronger leader and helped me come out of my shell more, especially the first time I did Anchor Days," he said, referring to a program that assists new students in their transition to the College. "It was my first time being in charge of a group of students. It made me see that I could actually do it, although I'm quiet and reserved. I can definitely still interact with people and lead them. It has just given me a lot of confidence."
His advice to others students at the College is to get involved. Seals is on the leadership team for Converge, the college ministry of The Gathering Place; served as the Blue Crew Leader for Anchor Days; and plays on the College's Pep Band.
"First, get involved while you're here on campus and don't waste time, even if you plan on transferring. This time is just as important as time spent somewhere else, so get involved. Do more than just go home and go to school," he said. "If you need help, speak up. People here are willing to help you, but you must take advantage of it."