A day in the life

A typical day in a residence hall at UNC

by Katie Jansen, guest blogger

When I was an incoming first year, I spent a lot of time researching, trying to find answers to my questions. While the Housing website was great and showed pictures and floor plans of the residence halls, I wanted to know what it would feel like to actually live on campus. What would life be like when I wasn’t living at home anymore? I decided to share my experiences in hopes that an incoming first-year could have some of his or her questions answered.


Me hitting the books during the afternoon.

It’s 6:30 a.m. in Joyner on a dreaded Tuesday and I’m groping for my insistent alarm clock in the dark. After freshman year, I promised myself I wouldn’t take any more 8 a.m.s, but it was a promise my schedule wouldn’t let me keep. I roll out of my bed (last year I had it lofted, but soon found out my coordination isn’t always up to par when I’m still groggy) and find my shower caddy. My roommate, Kathleen, is still asleep, so I tiptoe out into the blinding light of the hallway and shut the door quietly behind me.

The bathroom, which I remember worrying about before I came into college, is now the most normal thing in the world to me. I don’t even notice the shower shoes on my feet, and I actually find it feels strange to shower barefoot when I visit home. Sharing a bathroom isn’t a problem; there are two bathrooms on my hall, which adds up to four toilets and eight showers. I shower, brush my teeth, and head back to my room.

Kathleen has woken up to get an early start on homework. Although we’re great friends, we don’t usually chat this early in the morning. I listen to the comforting clicks of her keyboard while I get dressed. Then I log onto my laptop to plan my day.

I always, always check the weather in the morning. I need to know whether to bring my umbrella, whether or not I can wear open-toed shoes, even how I should fix my hair. It’s chilly and there’s a chance of rain, so I wrap a scarf around my neck and stow my umbrella in my backpack. I also usually check my email if I have time, because I’ve found that many professors like to send last-minute announcements immediately after daybreak – whether it’s a handout I’ll need in lecture today or even a class cancellation.

Then I turn to my backpack, thinking of all the books, assignments, and notes I’ll need for today’s classes. I love having different classes every day because it gives me at least two days to finish every assignment. I want to be prepared and make sure I don’t forget anything because I usually just grab lunch with friends or go to the library to study in between my classes.

Now it’s off to Carroll Hall for my 8 a.m. I grab my keys, adjust my scarf, and step out into the cold, leaving the warm, inviting halls of Joyner and my warm, inviting bed behind me.

Rain, rain, go away! Joyner girls leave their colorful umbrellas out to dry.


At 4:15 my classes are finished, and I’m usually very ready to go home at this point. (My mom cringed the first couple of times I called my room ‘home,’ but now she’s gotten used to it.) I love kicking my shoes off, grabbing a snack, and chatting with Kathleen before I start my homework.

It started raining this afternoon (I did need my umbrella after all!), so the hallway is lined with umbrellas waiting to dry. It’s very colorful, and for some reason, it makes me smile.

I also love the atmosphere of my residence hall. It’s generally pretty quiet, so if I close my door I can get work done. But if I feel like socializing, I can leave my door open or wander down the hall to see who’s around. It’s really the perfect balance between social and studious – I can choose whatever I want.




I feel like I’ve gotten enough homework done for the day, and for once I’m not running off to one of my various club meetings, so I take a little time during the evening to just unwind and watch TV. It’s a good way to have fun with friends and relieve stress. Of course, there isn’t always time for this, but I’m always glad when there is – especially if there’s a Carolina basketball game on that night!

Joyner, my Carolina home

My residence hall also has really fun events almost every week. My RA, Bryanna, is good at getting everyone involved – last week we all met in the lounge to play party games like Bananagrams and Catch Phrase while eating delicious chocolate fondue (with bananas, of course!)

I love living in a residence hall on campus because I have gotten to meet a wide variety of people and have made new friends. There is a great sense of community, and conversation can pop up in the hallways at the most random times, like when I’m heading to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

I usually try to go to bed around midnight, unless I have too much homework. A lot of people stay up a lot later, but because it’s pretty quiet I can usually go to sleep whenever I choose to. Kathleen likes to go to bed pretty early too, and having a roommate with a similar sleep pattern to yours always helps. Because we both had an early start to our morning, we decide to turn out the lights at 11:30. It’s been another productive but fun day on first floor Joyner, and tomorrow, we’ll be up and ready to do it all again.

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