All posts by Cassie Hazell

Places to go when your parents come to visit

So your parents are coming to visit this weekend and you have no idea what you’re going to do with them. Don’t worry, while I’m technically a 21-year-old college student, at heart, I’m more like a 45-year-old father of three, so I’ll know exactly what your parents will enjoy when they come to visit.UNC offers a variety of parent-friendly activities that will fill your weekend itinerary and distract from the looming conversation about your GPA. Check out some of these great options, and get to planning!

Wilson Library

Wilson Library is one of my favorite places on campus, not only because it’s a beautiful, iconic building, but also because I’m a huge history nerd and they have great exhibits there. Some of my favorites were the “Sounds of ’68” exhibit, the exhibit on the Daily Tar Heel and the student-curated exhibit on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. All of the exhibits are very well-done and interesting, and it’s a great way to learn more about North Carolina history.

Wilson Library
Wilson Library; Photo Courtesy UNC Medical School

The Carolina Basketball Museum

I firmly believe the Carolina Basketball Museum is one of the coolest things on campus. It’s located on the first floor of the Ernie Williamson Athletics Center next to the Dean Dome and the Koury Natatorium and includes every ball from a UNC national championship (except for the one from 1924), championship rings, uniforms of some of UNC’s most famous stars, the original floor of Carmichael Arena (the one Michael Jordan played on) and more. For anyone who loves sports and/or Carolina Basketball as much as I do, it’s amazing and a must-see when you come to Chapel Hill.

Carolina Basketball Museum

Morehead Planetarium

I love space. I actually wanted to be an astronaut when I was younger, but then I realized that required both math and physical activity, neither of which I’m very fond of. That being said, I still love learning about space, and therefore I love Morehead Planetarium. Morehead Planetarium is a huge building on Franklin Street on the east side of campus that has planetarium shows where visitors can learn about the final frontier. Fun fact: 11 of the 12 astronauts who walked on the moon explored space in one of Morehead’s shows, so if you go to one, you’re basically an astronaut. Jokes aside, I definitely recommend checking this place out.

Morehead Planetarium and the Sundial; Courtesy Orange County Visitor’s Bureau

Ackland Art Museum

Ackland is located on South Columbia Street near Franklin and boasts a personal collection of nearly 18,000 works of art. Works being featured range from European masterworks to the pieces from the premier Asian Art collection in North Carolina to contemporary pieces. There’s tons of beautiful art in these well-curated exhibits, and if you take your parents here, they’ll think you’re becoming cultured. It’s a win-win.

Ackland Art Museum; Courtesy Ackland Art Museum

Coker Arboretum

If you prefer to do something in the great outdoors, Coker Arboretum is located right next to Morehead Planetarium. It’s part of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and the large clearing in the middle is, by far, the best place to have a picnic on campus. I highly recommend taking your parents for a quick walk through the arboretum to see some beautiful plants and stall the inevitable question: “Do you think you’ll make the Dean’s List this semester?”

Coker Arboretum; Photo Courtesy UNC Garden Club

Why do we hate Dook?

Ask any UNC student or alumni which college they hate the most and I’d be willing to bet a solid 90 percent of them will say Dook. That being said, I’m sure there’s some people, in particular, incoming first-years who don’t really follow the rivalry (yet), that are kind of confused by this hatred.

Why do we hate Dook so much? What is it about the University of New Jersey at Durham that just sets all UNC people on edge? I can’t necessarily speak for every UNC fan, but I think there are some general things we can all agree on when it comes to why we hate Dook.

There are some who will tell you that we hate them because they’re good, but I can give you three reasons that argument makes no sense.

First of all, the point is moot because we’re good as well.

Second, I’ve always hated this argument in sports because no one hates anyone just because they’re good. Clemson is good at football and I don’t hate them. LeBron is good at basketball and I don’t hate him. Cate Blanchett is good at acting and I REALLY don’t hate her. My point is, simply being good isn’t enough for people to hate you like we hate Dook.

Third, when you really look at it, they’re not as good as they seem to think they are. I mean sure, they have a lot of preseason championships to their name, but given all of the tools they have at their disposal, they really don’t do that well. In the last three years, they’ve had a recruiting class with at least three five-star recruits, many of whom were the number one player at their position, they have Coach K, who is one of the greatest college coaches of all time and most of the time they switch to zone defense in March, which, according to my friend Colby, is for cowards. And with all of these assets, what do they have to show for it? One (1) Elite Eight appearance in the last three years. In all honesty, it is truly inspiring how they continue to do so little with so much.

But I’m getting off-track. Why do we hate Dook? Because they’re snobby and entitled.

Their snobbery is difficult to articulate until you’ve experienced it yourself. For me, that was visiting their campus. I visited Dook in 2014 when I was going on a trip with my family to visit colleges, and right away, I realized that there was just something so off-putting about a ridiculously expensive haven for Ivy-League rejects with a weird amount of Gothic architecture located in Durham, North Carolina. It gives it this air of snobbiness that you can feel the second you step foot in that area, and the snobbiness pervades into some of the attitudes of the students and players (notice I said ‘some of’ before any of you get mad).

Then there’s the entitlement. Like I mentioned earlier, Dook has more tools at their disposal than nearly any other team in college basketball, and they still end up with mediocre finishes. Also, the way they play, with all the whining and the flopping is infuriating. I’ll admit, everyone does a fair amount of flopping now, but Dook has been doing it forever, and has honestly made an art out of it. My personal favorite instance of Dook whining, though, has to be Luke Kennard in the 2017 NCAA Tournament:

There are so many things I love about that picture, but I think the thing I love the most is how much it looks like the crying Northwestern kid.

Speaking of Kennard, let’s talk about Dook’s players for a second. Granted, not all of them are that annoying, I’ll actually admit that Marvin Bagley III seems like an ok guy and is definitely a phenomenal basketball player. But the players like Grayson Allen, J.J. Redick and Christian Laettner are some of the most hated players in college basketball. And that hatred doesn’t stem from the fact that they’re “good,” as many Dook fans would have you believe. It stems from the unsportsmanlike conduct and arrogance they constantly exhibited. I mean, who could forget Laettner’s infamous stomp:

Or the Grayson Allen tripping saga that resulted in him throwing a temper tantrum on the bench and getting suspended indefinitely (which apparently means one game):

Or J.J. Redick’s like…general aura:

These three were some of the most polarizing figures in sports during their time at Dook, and when I say polarizing, what I actually mean is that the only people that liked them were Dook fans.

I think I’ve gone on long enough, and hopefully, this will serve as an introduction into exactly where this rivalry comes from, but if you want someone who explains the hatred of Dook way better than I could ever hope to, here’s a column from the Daily Tar Heel on the subject. And if there are any Dook fans reading this, click here to read a rebuttal to this post.

And, just for fun, here’s my least favorite player, Grayson Allen, committing what is, in my opinion, the dumbest foul of all time.

Grayson Allen’s butt foul in the ACC Tournament

The most exciting annual on-campus events

UNC has all sorts of exciting annual events on campus, so it’s important for incoming students to know about all the most exciting events and when they’re happening. This is certainly not a complete list by any means, but it does have a lot of the biggest UNC events that you definitely don’t want to miss out on!

1. Fall Fest

Fall Fest kicks off the school year at Carolina. Nearly all of UNC’s clubs and organizations set up a table on Hooker Fields outside of Carmichael Arena for students to explore their areas of interest. There’s lots of free food and swag, and it’s a great way for everyone to meet new people and learn more about Carolina’s many clubs and organizations.

Fall Fest
Fall Fest on Hooker Fields. Photo courtesy CUAB.

2. Family Weekend

Family Weekend is undoubtedly the event your parents are most excited about. Typically occurring about midway through the first semester, Family Weekend boasts special on-campus events for students to attend with their families to spend some quality time together, such as a BBQ in the Pit, brunch at Carolina Inn, a UNC Football game and more. It’s fun for everyone, but it especially means a lot to the families who get to participate in fun activities with their student.

Gospel choir entertains families at the BBQ in the Pit. Photo courtesy New Student and Carolina Family Programs.

3. Homecoming

Homecoming weekend is one of the biggest events of the fall semester. There’s all sorts of fun events for students to participate in, such as the Homecoming Concert presented by CUAB, but by far the biggest event is the UNC football game where the winners of Mr. and Miss UNC are announced. It’s a time-honored tradition that means so much to students and alumni alike.

Members of the UNC Marching Tar Heels marching to Kenan Stadium to cheer for the football team.

4. Halloween

Halloween on Franklin Street began as a small celebration in the early 1980s, but since then, it’s become such a big deal that it has its own Wikipedia page. Every year on Halloween, Franklin Street is closed down and around 80,000 people from all over the world. For reference, the town of Chapel Hill has a population of a little over 50,000. It is a massive event, and people take the opportunity to come up with the most outlandish and creative costumes they can think of. It is one of the most well-known and beloved Chapel Hill traditions.

Some students going bananas on Franklin. Photo courtesy of Herald Sun.

5. Late Night with Roy

Late Night with Roy is the tip-off event for the UNC Basketball season. Tar Heel fans pour into the Dean Dome to watch members of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams participate in skits and dance numbers. The evening culminates in a scrimmage game between members of the team. It’s a great tradition that allows sports fans to get a first look at the new team.

Joel Berry during the upperclassmen dance at Late Night with Roy. Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics.

6. Duke-UNC Basketball Games

Duke-UNC basketball is the greatest rivalry in sports. Anyone who thinks differently has never been on either of the campuses when the two are about to go head-to-head. Duke and UNC face each other twice a season, once in the Dean Dome and once in Cameron Indoor Stadium, and both games are circled on students calendars when the schedule comes out. The excitement on campus the day of the game is palpable, and it’s almost definitely all anyone thinks about for around 24 hours. The best part, however, is if we win, the students rush Franklin Street and celebrate the Carolina Victory. It is the most hype event of the year and I’m always excited for it. Also, if you want an update on how Duke’s season ended, click here. (Thanks Kansas).

Franklin Street after a win against Duke

7. Holi Moli

Holi is a Hindu tradition that celebrates love, community and the arrival of spring. It represents several stories of the triumphs of good over evil. Participants throw colors in the air as part of the celebration, causing everyone to get vibrant colors all over themselves over the course of the event. Starting as a campus-wide tradition in 2009, Holi Moli has become a favorite Carolina tradition, and getting covered in colors at Holi Moli is actually number 13 on the UNC Bucket List.

Students celebrate Holi Moli. Photo courtesy of UNC Global.

8. Jubilee Concert

This is an interesting event because it’s one that’s both new and old. The first Jubilee Concert was held in 1963, and continued every year until the event was discontinued in 1971 for monetary reasons. During that time it had many famous performers, including Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, The Tempations and more. The Jubilee Concert was revived in April of 2015, and has since become one of the most exciting annual on-campus events. Chase Rice, 2 Chainz and, most recently, Waka Flocka Flame, have been the performers for the revival of the Jubilee Concert.

Photo of the 1963 Jubilee Concert. Courtesy of UNC Archives.

9. Spring LDOC

In addition to the happiness that the last day of classes brings, students can also participate in a massive amount of activites on this day. From ice cream in the Pit to glow in the dark mini golf, there’s always something awesome going on to help students forget about the fact that they likely have an 8 a.m. final in the next week.

The Pit during LDOC. Photo Courtesy of Black Ink.

Best things to binge watch on HBOGo

If you live on-campus at UNC, you get a free subscription to HBOGo, which allows you to watch any of HBO’s programming on demand. Having HBOGo is great, but figuring out where to start your binge-watching can be daunting. That’s why I made this list of my favorite things to watch on HBOGo. If there’s anything I forgot (other than Game of Thrones, please, I’m so sick of hearing about it), comment below!

1. Veep 

Veep is one of my favorite shows of all time. It’s like if Parks and Recreation was set in the federal government and everyone was mean. The six-season comedy show follows the career of Vice President Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has won the Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy series every year the show has been on the air. It’s a little crass, but it’s a very witty and entertaining political satire.

Gif from Veep

2. Big Little Lies 

Based on Lianne Moriarty’s best-selling novel of the same name, Big Little Lies was originally going to be a miniseries, but HBO decided to renew it for a second season. The series tells the story of three mothers of first-grade students at a school in Monterey, California who become involved in a murder investigation. It’s a highly acclaimed and awarded drama that’s well worth the watch. It also features an all-star cast including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Adam Scott, Alexander Skarsgard, Shailene Woodley, Zoey Kravitz and THE Laura Dern. The show does have dark themes, however, so trigger warning for violence and sexual assault.

Big Little Lies

3. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Last Week Tonight is just like The Daily Show, except longer and TV-MA. The show comes on every Sunday and provides a comedic take on breaking news stories and often has one in-depth feature story on current issues, such as native advertising or the economic crisis in Venezuela. John Oliver is a phenomenal host with amazing comedic timing, and if you enjoy shows like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, this is perfect for you.

John Oliver

4. Westworld

Science fiction is one of my favorite genres of media, so of course Westworld is one of my favorite shows on HBO. Westworld is about a theme park that’s essentially a wild west roleplaying video game came to life. In Westworld, guests can complete whatever adventure they want with the assistance of androids that simply play their roles and are completely unsentient…or are they? Season two of the series is currently underway, and it looks to be just as good as the first. However, this show also deals with dark themes, so trigger warnings for violence and sexual assault.


5. Six Feet Under

This last one is a little old, as it premiered in 2001, but I think it’s just as good as the others. Two notable members of the cast are Michael C. Hall who later went on to star as the titular character in the Showtime series Dexter and Frances Conroy, who you may recognize from American Horror Story. Six Feet Under is a dark comedy that tells the story of a family who owns and lives in a funeral home in California. The characters are interesting and it’s a very well-written and critically acclaimed show that I highly recommend.

Six Feet Under

How to not live like a slob in your dorm room

Let’s be real, with all of the social and academic pressures of college, cleaning your room starts getting pretty low on the list of priorities, but having a clean room can improve both your mental and physical health. Not only that, but it will keep your mom from yelling at you when she comes to visit for family weekend (personal experience, not fun). So, without further ado, here are some tips for keeping your room clean.

Cleaning GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants - Find & Share on GIPHY

1. Make good use of the community office’s rental options

In every community on campus, there’s an office that can help you if you locked yourself out, need something fun to do or require cleaning supplies. You can rent out vacuums, brooms and Swiffer mops. It may not seem like it’d do much, but you’d be surprised at how much better and cleaner a quick sweep can make your room look and feel, and it really doesn’t take that long. Plus, renting it means that you don’t have to buy it yourself, which is wonderful because if there are two things college students hate, it’s spending money and cleaning.

Monica from Friends cleaning her vacuum

2. Make a cleaning schedule with your roommate

If I don’t put something on my calendar, it doesn’t happen. That’s just how it is. Scheduling a certain time to clean ensures that you don’t keep putting it off by saying “oh yeah I need to do that sometime,” and then immediately forgetting about it. If you want, you and your roommate can turn it into bonding time. Just put on a great room cleaning playlist full of middle school throwback jams, and what was once a chore becomes a party.

Will Smith dancing with a vacuum


This obviously doesn’t apply if you’re in a hall-style dorm or an eight-person suite, but if you live in a four-person suite or an apartment, the bathroom gets filthy, and it gets filthy fast. The good news is that cleaning the bathroom isn’t as difficult as you think. For instance, if you want to clean the shower, just get a spray bottle of shower cleaner (yes, that’s really what it’s called. It could not be easier), spray it in there, wait a few minutes and use the shower head to rinse it off. Also, invest in some disinfectant wipes, as they can be used to clean just about everything in the bathroom, from toilets to sinks to shower heads.

Puppy knocking over shampoo bottles

4. Wash the dishes as you use them

I’ll admit that I’m kind of bad at this one, which is weird because I’m good at everything except modesty. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something in my brain that says if I leave the dishes there long enough, they’ll eventually just go away. This is obviously not true, and the pile just grows to the point that I’m praying for an apocalypse because at least then, I won’t have to wash them. In suites, this is an even bigger problem because there’s only one sink, and if your roommate finds themself unable to brush their teeth because of the monument to slobbiness you’ve built in and around the sink, there can be some tension. If you wash the dishes as you use them, however, it’s only one plate or bowl at a time as opposed to a daunting mountain. It’ll take a few minutes instead of half an hour, and it’ll be so worth it.

Donald Duck washing dishes

5. Make your bed

Not only does making your bed make your room look a little less sloppy, it also makes you feel better and be more productive. If you make your bed right when you get up, you’re less likely to get back in it and go back to sleep. It also makes you less likely to lay down and take a nap later in the day. I love naps as much as the next person, and sometimes they’re necessary, but they can also be counterproductive if you really need to do work. Making your bed is a simple, quick thing you can do to make your room look better and help you feel better.

Making the bed

College can be stressful and busy, which can make cleaning your space feel pointless and time-consuming, but the benefits of having a clean place to live are very important and can greatly impact your physical and mental health.


Homesickness: the one ailment Campus Health can’t treat.

I’m sure everyone in your family has told you this already, but transitioning to college life is tough. Not only are there the logistical issues, like the fact that you’re constantly getting lost and you can’t figure out how to do laundry, but there’s also the issue of homesickness. For many, college is the first time that you’re living on your own. When I started college, I had never been away from home for longer than a couple of weeks, and, suddenly, my family was four hours away and I wasn’t going to see them until October. It’s kind of a tough time, but, hopefully, these tips will help lessen the severity of the homesickness.

1. Set up a weekly time to call your family

This is a good thing to do because it not only helps you feel better, but your family as well. Chances are that your family is missing you just as much as you’re missing them, and having a scheduled time to call them will ensure that neither of you starts missing the other too much. I get that college is busy and this may be difficult, but the call doesn’t have to be very long and just hearing the voice of your loved ones goes a long way to alleviating homesickness. I’m going into my senior year, and I have called my parents at 7 p.m. every Sunday since I have been in college. Trust me, it helps.

2. Bring one or two items that remind you of home

If you’re like me, there’s a lot of seemingly odd items that hold special value for you. For me, it’s a small, circular Captain America pillow that my mom got me a couple years ago. For you, it could be a stuffed animal, action figure or high school award. Whatever it is, make sure to bring it with you. I know it’s tempting when you’re packing up the car and there’s barely room to breathe to try to downsize, but having little things that remind you of home has a lot of value. They can give you something familiar to hang on to when there’s a lot of changes happening around you, and they can remind you of home when you start to miss it. Just don’t bring too much…

Monica from Friends in front of her mountain of stuff

3. Create an on-campus family

I’m not going to lie to you, making friends is hard, especially if you’re like me and you have the charisma of a spork. The good news is, however, if I can do it, you certainly can too. You’re going to have to put yourself out there and suffer through a lot of small talk and awkward “getting to know you” conversations, but it’s worth it to find people who will become your best friends. The best advice I have for you in terms of how to find these people is to just put yourself out there. If you’re having a conversation with someone in one of your classes and they seem cool, ask them to eat lunch with you. If you meet someone in your dorm, invite them to come hang out in your room. Remember, nearly everyone is going through the same thing that you are, and they likely want to make friends too. The thing I always tell myself is that there are 29,469 people who attend UNC, so if you totally embarrass yourself in front of one of them, there are still around 29,468 people you can be friends with.

4. Keep busy

The dorms here are great, but you should definitely not just sit in them all the time. There are 800 student organizations and more than 50 intramural sports you can join to make friends and keep yourself occupied. Schoolwork will keep you busy, but it’s important to have outlets to have fun and meet people who share your interests. It’ll distract you from homesickness, keep you from feeling lonely and allow you to explore your interests. And who knows? You might become the Brice and Marcus of your intramural intertube water basketball team.

Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige

5. Keep in contact with your friends from high school

Just because you’ve gone off to college doesn’t mean you have to break contact with everyone you used to know. Sure, you won’t talk to them as often, but they’re your best friends for a reason, and they can be great for emotional support when you’re feeling down. If you have high school acquaintances who go here, invite them to have lunch with you. You’d be surprised how often someone you rarely talked to in high school can become one of your best friends in college. I get that many people come to college hoping to leave high school far behind, which is understandable, but the people from your hometown understand your experiences in a way other people typically don’t, which can be very helpful in trying to avoid being homesick.

The last piece of advice that I’ll leave you with is to not worry too much. Yes, college is hard, transitioning is hard and homesickness sucks, but it will get easier after you’ve adjusted, and the payoff is so worth it. I’ve met some of my best friends and had some of my favorite experiences at UNC. Trust me, you’re going to love it here!