The Most Important Thing First Years Don’t Find Out Until After their First Year

Hello all, and welcome back for the Spring semester.  Thank you so much for all of the awesome feedback for potential reslife blog topics!  I will address as many requests as I can, however I am starting with this one for a reason.  Hopefully First Years (and everyone else) enjoy what I believe is the best advice I could give to students early in their Carolina career.  Please feel free to comment all the cool things I don’t mention (there will be lots since, you know, UNC is such an incredible place.)

Avoid your room like the plague (during the day).

I considered making a buzzfeed-type list for this post, but then I realized how much elaboration this advice requires.  It took me until my second semester to figure it out, but staying in your room during the hours you are awake will seriously deprive you of the awesome opportunities UNC has to offer.  Think about it.  When you are not in your room, you are most likely doing one of the following extremely self-benefiting activities: going to class, studying in the library, participating in some form of student organization, playing a sport, meeting new people, discovering new places on campus or in Chapel Hill, etc, etc.  Have you ever heard someone say they met their spouse by staying in his/her room all day? Do you think binge watching Netflix will make for a good story when your kids ask about your favorite memories at UNC?  Get out of your beds and explore, people, I promise you a great return for semesters to come if you invest in the paradise that is Carolina.  It doesn’t matter what you do, but just go out and do it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Alright I couldn’t help it, but you’ve also definitely got to start using UNC Class Checker.  Simply add the closed classes that you are interested in, and UNC Class Checker will text you the moment they open, so you can get a head start on enrolling in them before everyone else.  No, I did not make this website- it really is my honest advice.

What topics do you want to see featured on the blog?

Comment on this post with a NEW blog topic (one that has not been featured before) and be entered to win a Top Lottery Pick for 2015-2016 Housing Selection! To win, you must be a current student. Only one topic submission per person allowed. To be considered for a Top Lottery Pick, you must submit your topic between January 7, 2015 @ 12:01 am through February 12, 2015 @ 5:00 pm.

RA Spotlight: Stephen Hansen

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Stephen Hansen

Hall: Hinton James, 6th Floor

Year: Junior

Major: Business Administration

Dream job: Scuba Diving Guide

Favorite cereal: Cocoa Puffs

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Favorite quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”


What is your favorite thing about being an RA? “Watching how my residents grow and become acclimated to life at UNC.  It is cool to see [the residents] arrive as freshmen not knowing anybody, and then form their own circles by the end of the year.  I would also have to say it is awesome when my residents do my laundry for me.”
How did you decide on Hinton James as your Residence Hall? “I just wanted to work with a first year community on South Campus, and I was assigned to Hinton James.  I was in Craige last year, and I have enjoyed them both.  I feel like I can be the most help to residents when they are first years, as opposed to returning students, so that’s why I chose a first year community.”
What’s the most fun thing you’ve done with your residents? “I love having prank wars with the other RA’s and getting our residents to help out.  This year a girl fake-cried on the balcony and told the RA on rounds that she saw some kind of huge animal in her bathroom.  When the RA went to check it out, it was actually one of my residents in a bunny suit jumping around behind a shower curtain.”
What are your favorite things to do on South Campus? “Going to basketball games at the Dean Dome.  The rest of the stuff doesn’t come close.”
What is a good piece of advice for first year students that are setting up their first residence hall room? “Bunk your beds! It will stabilize the top bed well, but more importantly it will give you more room for activities.”
What else are you involved in on campus? “A few of the more interesting things are Ted Talks, and probably…my supporting role to the Women’s club soccer team as a water boy.  I have gotten to hear a lot of really interesting people speak with Ted Talks, and I am easily the biggest women’s club soccer team fan on campus.”

Note: Hansen’s significant other is on the women’s club soccer team.

What would you tell someone that is deciding whether or not to apply to be an RA next year? “Ask yourself, would you enjoy adopting 30 college kids and helping them with whatever comes up? You have to have a desire to help other people, but if you do have that desire, it is a lot of fun.”
The deadline to apply to be an RA is quickly approaching! Be sure to submit your application by this Friday, December 5th.  Here is the link to do so:

Residents! If you have a great RA and think they should be featured in a Spotlight like this one, please send in a nomination! RAs! You can nominate awesome residents too!

Final Exam Study Suggestions

Even though Thanksgiving Break is not until next week, it is sadly time to start thinking about Finals preparation.  It may seem like there is still a lot of time, but the reality is that Finals begin exactly two weeks from today.  However, with this awesome list of tips and suggestions, you all should be on the right track toward acing those exams!

1) Start organizing your study plan now.  Be sure to mark your calendar with the date and time of your exams, and then decide which exams take the highest studying priority.

2) Seek out help where you need it.  Find classmates to study with early on in the process so that you have someone to turn to if you don’t understand course material in the future.

3) Be realistic about your study goals.  You can only study so much for each class, so set goals that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time.

4) Eat plenty of fruit.  Fruits such as apples and blueberries improve memory function and can increase the quality of your studying.

5) Time yourself while you take practice tests.  You will have a limited amount of time to take your final, so simulate the environment and make sure you will be able to finish in time.

6) Sleep! Studies have shown that students score higher when tested the morning after a good night’s sleep than right after the studying takes place.  You need sleep to help convert your studying into memory in your brain.

7) Take study breaks/reward yourself.  Studying for finals can be a dark time, and you need to relax a little bit to keep your focus and maintain good morale.

8) View your grades from a reasonable perspective. While I expect everyone to perform extremely well, there are far worse things in the world than a D on your Chemistry final. Think about the problems people around the globe face each day and realize how lucky you are to be a student at Carolina.

9) Form a googledoc study guide with your classmates.  Writing the information in a way that others will understand it will help you study, and your classmates will remember information that will serve you well.

10) Wear a watch while you take the exam.  You may not be able to see the clock during your exam, and it is important to keep track of time.

Carolina Crawl/UNC Women’s Basketball Sunday Funday Residence Life Challenge

Got anything better to do this Sunday than supporting your fellow Tar Heels? Neither do I. The UNC Women’s Basketball Team will play UCLA at 2pm, and while a Carolina victory is the only incentive you should need to come, there will be ample opportunity to win prizes.

1) The first 400 students will receive a free Carolina Basketball t-shirt

2) The residence hall with the highest participation percentage will receive a “Watch and Eat” party for a Men’s Basketball game

3) The residence hall with the highest participation percentage will receive a Grand Prize worth up to $500

4) The winning residence hall will earn points towards the Community Cup

5) 2 Carolina Fever points will be awarded to those who attend

In addition to all this, the Carolina Crawl, a walking tailgate, will begin at SASB plaza at 12:00 noon.  The tailgate will feature food, performances by the UNC pep band and cheerleaders, and a visit by Ramses for pictures at the Bell Tower.



Student Organization Spotlight: Michael Kirchner

Michael Kirchner

Organization: Swimming Club and Water Polo Club

Year: Sophomore

Major: Business Administration and Advertising

Dream job: CMO of a sports company

Favorite food: Bacon

Hometown: Kensington, Maryland

Fun fact: “I did radio ads when I was eight years old.”

When did you first get into Swimming and Water Polo? “I’ve been swimming since probably right when I came out of the womb. My parents got me in the water really early on, and I’ve been swimming competitively since age five.  I didn’t want to swim at the varsity level in college, and I’m not necessarily at that level, so I joined Club Swimming as soon as I got to UNC.  I wanted to expand a little bit as well, so I decided to join Water Polo as well, even though I had never played it before college.”
Which sport is more physically demanding? “I would have to say that Water Polo is much more physically grueling. Not necessarily the practices because we don’t take them as seriously as we should, we just have a good time basically.  But during games, [there are] four seven minute quarters and you are dead tired about two minutes in because you have to sprint up, sprint down, and you’re always grabbing your player.  The referees can’t see underwater, so there is a lot of jockeying for position.”
How would you describe Water Polo to someone who is unfamiliar with the sport? “It’s a combination of basketball, swimming, and wrestling in one sport.”
How has your involvement in Swimming and Water Polo affected your study schedule? “I honestly believe that they have helped my study schedule.  Having outside activities that I have to go to every night of the week really helps me to focus on times where I have to get work done.”
Which would be more exciting for you, winning a relay race as the anchor leg of your team or scoring the game-winning goal of a Water Polo match? “That is a very tough question.  I would have to go with scoring the game-winning goal because it’s something I’ve never really done before.
What is your favorite stroke to swim and why? “It is definitely freestyle because that’s the fastest stroke for me, and I’m best [at freestyle] when compared to other competition.”
What advice would you give someone who has little experience in Swimming and Water Polo but is considering joining either of the clubs? I would definitely recommend at least going out to a couple of practices for either Swimming or Water Polo and just trying it out. The officers are always really friendly and they understand that some people are looking to have fun, some people are looking to be competitive, and some people are just looking to stay in shape, and there are roles for all of those types of people on a team.  So you should just come out and feel things out, and there is definitely a club sport for you somewhere.”
Residents! If you are involved in a great Student Organization and would like more people to learn about it, contact us so we can Spotlight your Organization on the UNC Residence Life blog!

Hardin Career and Academic Advising Center

South Campus residents, did you know that you have access to academic advising right next to home?

The Hardin Career and Academic Advising Center is located in the Seminar Wing of Hardin Residence Hall, right on Manning Drive. The “Hardin Hub,” as it is called, has all the same resources as the Steele building most of you are probably accustomed to visiting.  Schedule an appointment by visiting the Career Services Center Website of the Academic Advising Website, or visit Hardin Hub during drop-in hours at your convenience. The Hardin Hub is open Monday- Thursday from 8 am to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8 am to 5 pm; drop-in hours are Monday-Thursday from 4 pm to 6:30 pm and Friday from 2 pm to 4 pm.

I have had the pleasure of stopping by Hardin for an appointment myself, and had a great experience.

Since the Hardin advising branch is little known and off of main campus, wait times are often brief. My visit was a drop-in, however I was speaking with an advisor in a couple of minutes.  Senior Assistant Dean Alice Dawson and Assistant Dean Chloe Russell are available for your help, along with a team of five advisors. During my visit, I spoke with Ms. Russell, who gave me some great advice about planning for a possible double major in business and economics.

For those of you that don’t want to give up time during your lunch or afternoon on main campus, I really recommend stopping by Hardin and taking care of your advising needs.  The staff is excellent, the location is convenient, and you will be glad you took a painless trip to Hardin to have your questions answered!

UNC’s 725 Student Organizations

For first years looking to get involved in campus life and adventurous upperclassmen alike, the 725 student organizations at UNC are a great way to start.  The organizations cover a broad spectrum of interests, as you might expect at a large and vibrant university like UNC.  There are social, professional, greek, and religious organizations, clubs for most academic disciplines, clubs dedicated to community service, sports and recreation clubs, political organizations, and basically a club or organization for anything else you can think of.  Have you come up with an idea for an organization that doesn’t already exist? Create it yourself! There are ample opportunities to spend time doing what you are most passionate about at Carolina, and you can only add to the experience by creating something new at campus.  Whether you are looking for career-building experience or new friends at UNC, pursue your ambitions and you will meet great people along the way at Carolina.

As a brother in Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity and a member of Carolina Marketing Club and Carolina Sport Business Club, I have had a terrific experience with student organizations at UNC. Are you having a great experience participating in your organization as well? Let us know! I will be doing periodic Student Organization Spotlight posts, and I would be glad to help the UNC community learn about why your organization is a vibrant part of the Carolina community.

Here is a link to a listing of all the officially recognized student organizations at UNC:

Who’s Got Next? The Best Places to Play Pickup Basketball on Campus

In honor of Late Night with Roy tonight, I’ve decided to share a review of my favorite places to hoop on campus.

Morrison/Hinton James Outdoor Courts-  These two courts can be put in the same category because of their relative similarities, although I think the Morrison court is a slight upgrade because of its location.  While the hoops here aren’t the best- we’re talking plexiglass backboards and double rims- these courts are all about the outdoor basketball experience.  I usually play in one of the gyms on campus, but on a perfect spring or fall day the Hojo and Motwon courts are hard to beat.

Rams Head Recreation Center- This is the flagship UNC pickup basketball venue in my opinion.  Rams has three different courts, all with newly finished floors.  Part of what makes Rams the best place to play is the level of competition.  On any given day you can expect to compete with members of the club and junior varsity teams, as well as stud athletes from the various UNC varsity sports teams.  Occasionally, the varsity basketball team will even make an appearance, although the line to play them grows quickly.  The only downfall about Rams is that it sometimes gets extremely crowded and is difficult to find a game.  Of course, this problem can be solved by winning to hold down the court.

Woollen Gymnasium- Woollen has stood the test of time as a great place to play basketball on campus.  It has been around since the 1930s, when the Heels played their home games there.  My first impression of it was an old middle school gym, just really, really big.  With eight courts available for use, you will rarely have to wait long to get a game.  Woollen tends to draw an older, sometimes less competitive crowd than Rams, but usually still has a high level of play.  The bad thing about Woollen? It can get really hot in there because there is no air conditioning, but hey, it’s part of the atmosphere.

Cobb Courts- The Cobb Courts are made out of the same material as most tennis courts, making for a great outdoor surface to play on.  The basketball hoops are a big upgrade to those at Hinton James and Morrison- they are very close to what indoor gyms use.  Participation at the Cobb Courts is a bit spotty during the spring and fall semesters, but the summer pickup scene is definitely worth checking out.  Be sure to go at night and to benefit from cool temperatures and the excitement of playing under the lights.


Luxury in Morrison Residence Hall

With Fall Break rapidly approaching (it officially begins October 15th) many students will have their first chance to bring additional furniture and accessories to their home on the UNC campus.  To inspire creativity and the motivation to add that extra lava lamp or upgrade your room’s futon situation, I decided to provide a look-in at one of the more well decorated rooms on campus.  Thanks to Erika Lewy and Sophia Oliverio for allowing me to feature your room for this post!

As you can see from the photos, the ladies decided to go with the über space efficient bunk bed format.  There are many floor plans that utilize the limited square footage of the room well, but none more so than bunk beds.  As for the rest of the room, the girls implemented a hybrid of unused family furniture and inexpensive accents to give their space a homey feel.  An old oriental rug and a vanity (taken from Erika and Sophia’s attics, respectively) provide a level of class unparalleled by most french colonial mansions.  To keep things real, an Ikea futon sits opposite the beds, and assorted posters flank the wall behind it.  How did they achieve the swanky ambience, you ask?  Strings of color changing star-shaped lights and classic bulbs adorn the perimeter of the ceiling, for those occasions when the fluorescents just aren’t doing the trick.

So just when you are becoming content with “its just my place at school” as an excuse for why your room hasn’t lived up to it’s potential yet, scan those craigslist feeds, browse a little bit on Amazon, and do yourself a favor by making your room a home.

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