All posts by gabrella

Living On Campus: It’s More Than Just A Dorm

Many believe that housing is simply a place to eat and sleep but what they may not realize is that it is all that and so much more. Though it is a requirement to live on campus and I didn’t really have a choice, I would say that it was the best decision made for me and I’m going to tell you why.

 

Roomate on the right.
Picture of my roommate and I.

Well first, there’s change (and not like the quarters you don’t have in your pockets because being a broke college student is real ūüėÖ).¬†¬†Most of us may not be used to change, as we have lived with our parents all our lives, known the same people since we were kids and have become familiar and comfortable with everything around us. However, when college comes around everything you know changes, including yourself. Living with a complete stranger seems very intimidating as you’re forced to share a small place in an environment that is far from anything like home. Yet, I truly am grateful that I was able to have this experience because I met such an amazing person that I can actually call a friend. In retrospect, living with a random person seemed like a disaster waiting to happen but it’s cool to see how a genuine friendship was formed.¬†However, with friendships comes hardship. You and your roommate or even your new-found friends might not always see eye to eye but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t live together or you shouldn’t be friends. This is where the change happens. You learn to compromise, be understanding and respectful which helps you grow as an individual, a friend and/or roommate. You may not be buddy buddy with your roommate or those around you but explore the possibilities to hopefully have the chance to gain amazing friendships.

 

 

Picture of my friends and I on our first halloween night.

The experience in college are like no other. Of course the main priority when coming to college is to obtain that nice GPA and degree so you can go on with your life and have a successful career and future. However, once you come to college you’ll soon realize that’s only the beginning. Since you have sooo much time and freedom in college, you are able to explore and spend your leisure time however you chose. If you or a friend happen to have a car, you can take a quick trip to Raleigh, explore the Triangle area, go to concerts and so much more. Since senior year of high school I’ve been wanting to go to see The Weeknd in concert but my mom was not having it. So once I got to college, my friends and I road tripped all the way down to South Carolina which was an 8 hour drive to and back and had the best times of our lives. Singing throwback songs in the car for hours and having minor heart attacks when someone would drive too intense (mostly me) made the trip even worth while and was something I never thought I would be able to experience. I also got to experience my first Halloween night (yes I’ve never been out for halloween, sad I know) and it was a great time. Ordering our costumes months before, getting ready with makeup and nails, taking pictures and finally going out was something I’ll never forget. Overall, there’s many more experiences you can encounter while you’re in college. Enjoy the times you have and the memories you makes and cherish the friends that make it special. Makes these four years the best that you can because time flies when you’re having fun.

 

 

My friend and I at a photoshoot for black girls of Class 2021.

Besides the memories and experiences you make by living on campus, there are some amazing perks you may not have realize until you have actually moved in. Well one thing is that almost everyone here is always willing to help. From the day you step font on campus to move in, there is endless support, as I didn’t expect a group of students (Haulin’ Heels) so eager to help me move ALL my luggage and items into my dorm. Everyone was so welcoming and nice, it made me feel at ease and comfortable which made the transition from high school to college easier. Also throughout the year, there were endless events coordinated by students and organizations that provided free food, swag items and a great opportunity to explore campus and meet new people. So although it may be nerve-wracking to try new things and get out of your comfort zone, I highly encourage you to do so because you’ll soon come to realize that college is all about being comfortable with the uncomfortable, as you’re exposed to new and different people and experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Managing Money

If you’re an incoming first year, you may wonder if the broke college student life is real?¬† Even as a returning student you could be in that current state as we speak (well read). Either way, whomever you may be, I’m going to share some tips on how to save your shmoneyy and get your coins.

FOOD. FOOD. FOOD.

Image result for buying food gifSince we’re notorious for being broke college students, ever wonder what we spend the most money on? It is known that most college students spend a lot of money on food, and after just my first year I can definitely attest to that. Whether it’s grabbing a bite out with friends or ordering in, we tend to overspend on meals. So, in order to avoid all the unnecessary expenses on food, it is wise to add dinning flex to your UNC One Card. For those of you who may not know, you can add flex which is basically money specifically for food to your UNC One Card. This will allow you to pay for meals by swiping (like a regular card) at those dinning locations all around campus and even some places on Franklin Street. This way you have allotted money that is specifically for food so you wont have to worry about impulse buying. Also, if you have a meal plan on campus, make sure to utilize those green to-go boxes to store food for later, so you can not only save a swipe but you won’t have to worry about your next meal. In addition, purchasing snacks or groceries to keep in your room is smarter as you’re able to grab something from your fridge easily instead of having to order something. Needless to say, grabbing a meal with friends or ordering your favorite pizza once in awhile is okay but try to avoid overspending so you can save your coins for other things.

GETTING A JOB OR INTERNSHIP

Image result for cardi b shmoney gif

Although your main priority for coming to college is to get that degree, if you have the time or chance, picking up a part-time job or finding a paid internship can very beneficial. Not only will you be rewarded financially but you are also getting experiences that will allow you to develop your skills that you can eventually put on your resume. Working is also an opportunity that will help you learn how to save because you will soon come to realize the value and/or struggle of making a buck. Having a job also teaches you management and organization which you can apply to saving money and spending, or in this case not spending. Nonetheless, getting that paycheck every other week is a sweet feeling and is even sweeter when you don’t go out the next day and spend it all.¬† Of course, you deserve to treat your self for all that hard work but don’t go overboard so that all your hard earned money won’t be wasted on things you’ll never use or that are unnecessary.

 

BUDGETING

As lame and tedious as that may sound, it’s very beneficial to have a budget planned for the school year cause if not well…

Creating a plan or system where you allot specific amount of money to certain things like clothes, going out, school supplies and groceries will help you visually map out the needs from the wants. It gives you the chance to see where your bad spending habits are, and also helps you find ways to organize your expenses. Also, when budgeting you can create a certain plan to save money (like 50% of you paycheck goes to your saving account) that way you will have the funds in case of an emergency or unexpected circumstances. Most banks have budgeting softwares within their banking apps or you can simply write out a plan in your notes and take control! Additionally, UNC hosts many events targeted to students like us, who struggle with spending money so be sure to look out for flyers to get some tips from professionals about how to budget and save! There are many resources available and many are at your fingertips, so be sure to use them while you can to avoid breaking the bank.

Mind Over Matter: Stay Mentally Healthy at UNC

Carolina is an amazing place to be and learn BUT LETS BE REAL, at times it can feel stressful and challenging. As assignments pile up and exams approach, it is natural that your levels of anxiety and stress rise. Along with academics, being away from home can be difficult to adjust to and cope with, therefore we understand how hard it can feel. However, we want to make your years here as pleasurable and stress free as possible!

Ask For Help!

First thing to keep in mind is that it’s okay to seek help. UNC can be academically challenging at times and we recognize that. That’s why if you’re are struggling don’t be afraid to speak with your Teacher Assistant or even your professor to receive additional help. Luckily, Carolina provides free tutoring sessions in Dey Hall or in SASB North, so take advantage of these resources! Also, ease your mind by speaking with a friend, classmate, Residential Advisor, etc as their is someone always willing to listen. Also since everyone is pretty much on the same boat as you, it won’t be hard for someone to understand what you’re going through.¬† We understand that the struggle is real but don’t let that hinder your from feeling or doing your best at Carolina! There are also mental health professionals located at Campus Health that are dedicated to ensure you can be your best mentally while at Carolina, so schedule and appointment or walk in to get a chance to speak with them!

For The People, By The People.

There are many mental wellness organizations created by students for the students that are dedicated to promote positive wellness¬† among the student body. If this is something you’re passionate about or if you need a community that can take time to understand and help you overcome those difficulties then be sure to check out those organizations. HeelLife is a UNC portal that allows students to scope through the surplus of organizations at Carolina. You can filter your search with any keyword to find the one that best fits you. To get you started there are a few popular organizations that we have included here. One of them is known as We Wear the Mask which is a group focused on decreasing the stigma around mental health within the African American community to promote better ways to approach mental health. Another organization is known as Embody Carolina, which was started by a Miss UNC Campaign that now has been established as a organization. The organization strives to portray a positive outlook towards body image and body positivity. Healthy Heels is another group found within UNC that is orchestrated by students ambassadors, who are committed to advocate a healthy lifestyle for students through workshops, pitsits, and other events. So through the highs and lows you may experience during your college career, never forget that we’re all in this together!

Me, Myself and I

We hope you understand that though we are here to get our degrees and pursue our careers,¬† it’s okay to focus on ourselves, as our health is way more important. So make sure you are taking time to take care of yourself. You can do so by incorporating self care days and time to relax into your schedule! Take some “me” time by doing one of the following self-care ideas or anything else that would better suit you:

  • Watch a few episodes of your favorite show
  • Treat yourself with some ice-cream or favorite desert
  • Go to the gym and get a workout in
  • Chill with your friends

Having a balance between school and your personal time is very essential.¬† Don’t be shy to use the endless resources around you or your peers for a listening ear or an extra hand. The struggle is something we will all face and there’s no reason you should have to face it alone! Definitely strive to make these the best years of your life. So don’t forget to have fun and let loose but always keep your head in the game!

They See Me Rollin’

As we know, UNC is a rather large campus that at time feels like a whole other world. Sometimes that walk from class back to the southern part of campus can be brutal, especially in that summer heat. Jeez.   However, to avoid overheating and the endless sweating, why not hop on a bike?  Riding bikes is one of the most efficient ways to get around campus, as their are many benefits and advantages that you may or may not be aware of.

 

Why Hike, When You Can Bike?

Biking around campus has so many conveniences. Not only can you get to your destination quicker by cutting your walking distance in half but you’re also getting in a pretty rigorous workout, cause those hills are NO joke. On the other hand, beat the heat as you enjoy the nice breeze when you’re zoomin past the Bell Tower or down Skipper Bowles Drive. The other great thing is that UNC accommodates for bike riders, as you can find bike rails near every residence hall, class building and parking lots. Therefore you’ll never have to worry about finding places to put your bike as you got about your day. On that note, be sure to always lock your bikes to keep it extra safe!

 

When In Doubt, Pedal It Out!

There are many resources available for avid bikers and even those who are yet to be familiar with bike riding. For cyclists, MOVEUNC dedicates a month to celebrate cycling, as they provide many beneficial services for students. Bike riders can receive free swag like seat pads, locks, bells and many more useful items along with bike checks and registration! Also, some other great benefits can be found while using the UNC Maps website or app, as they have created a section specifically for bikers. This sections includes very useful information such as routes, bike amenities, bike rail locations and more! UNC Maps also provides routes explicitly for riders to find paths suitable for biking to their destination. In addition, UNC Maps includes amenities that could be useful and/or necessary such as air pumps, fix it stations, bike hubs, etc. Therefore, you can feel confident that if you ever need an extra hand, UNC has your back!

 

But Wait, There’s More…¬†

If you haven’t noticed lately, there are blue Tar Heel bikes all over campus that are just waiting to be utilized and you¬†should definitely give them a try! Through the UNC Bike Share program, students are able to rent a bike at their convenience.¬† Well, first and foremost it is free to students and also very simple to set up. However, before you eagerly hop on a bike, you need to register for an account then you must reserve a bike. After so, you may ride until your heart desires (well technically you get an hour a day for free, but if you so chose to ride for longer you will be charged accordingly). Make sure to check the website for more information! Once you‚Äôve gone on your ride, return the bike to any of the bike stations then feel free to repeat! As mentioned before, students are provided with an hour each day to ride for free, so definitely take advantage of this resources whether you need to make a quick trip or want to enjoy a nice bike ride during the sunset.

 

And Here Comes The Bad Part….

Well in all honesty, there aren’t many inconveniences that come with riding you bike… Well maybe besides falling, so please ride cautiously! Nonetheless, you may find difficulty biking during midday, as there tends to be a lot of foot traffic while students head to lunch or their next class. Also, unexpected construction might be in your way but besides that biking is a great form of transportation around campus! Just remember no texting while biking and be sure to keep safe as you rush to your next class or take a scenic adventure around campus!