All posts by Sam Smith

Roommate Series Part III: Going Global

Peter, left, really enjoyed his time here at UNC. But me and roommates enjoyed living with him just as much.
Peter, left, our Danish visiting student roommate, really enjoyed his time here at UNC. But my roommates and I enjoyed living with him just as much.

Living with an international student

After two years of living with Daniel and then Walt, last summer I was presented with perhaps the wildest roommate assignment one can get: an international student.

While Walt was studying abroad in Italy for the semester, my other two roommates and I in Ram Village were assigned to live with a visiting Danish student, Peter.

We were unsure what to think about living with a Dane. We had heard very few great stories about living with international students, but we also hadn’t heard any bad ones. This was what made our assignment so strange – we really didn’t know what to expect.

Continue reading Roommate Series Part III: Going Global

Roommate Series Part II: The Friend Roommate

My sophomore year I roomed with one of my best friends from home, Walt. Here we are before high school prom; I'm on the right, he's on the left.
My sophomore year I roomed with one of my best friends from home, Walt. Here we are before high school prom; I’m on the right, he’s on the left.

Living with friends, and keeping them

Though my first year at UNC living with Daniel was great, my second year I took the opposite approach to finding a roommate. It seems simple: You want to live with someone you really like and get along with, and no one fits that bill better than your friends, right? So not only did I decide to live with a friend, I decided to live with my best friend from back home, Walt, who I’d known my whole life.

I have to admit, I was almost just as nervous about living with one of my best friends as I was living with a stranger. I expected that the best-case scenario was that we’d get into a couple arguments, and the worst-case scenario was that we’d never speak to each other again after the year was over. After all, one of the best parts about living with someone I didn’t know was that when I was having problems with friends, I could get a break at home. Now I would not only have to get along with my friends, but I would have to live with consequences of having friend problems as well. I was a little bit worried about losing one of my best friends. Continue reading Roommate Series Part II: The Friend Roommate

Office Hours?

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of meeting your professor

What are Office Hours for anyways?

When you get your first college syllabus, you may be confused or frightened by the idea of office hours. However, from experience, I know you shouldn’t feel apprehensive about meeting with your professor, nor should you think the benefits of office hours begin and end with grades.

These hours offer you the chance to build a relationship, make the course more enjoyable and simply have fun meeting your instructors.

Office hours are normally a specific weekly time and place that professors and teaching assistants make themselves available to meet with students. Many people will visit office hours to have grades explained or to get help with specific problems, but simply getting to know your professor can make the class more enjoyable as well. Continue reading Office Hours?

One Man’s Trash, Another Earth’s Treasure

Composting Spreads Across UNC’s Communities

EAC members set up outside OCUQ to launch their new program, Carolina Compost.
EAC members set up outside OCUQ to launch their new program, Carolina Compost.

Whether it’s the smell of rotting banana peels or the often long overdue hassle of actually taking bags out to the dumpster behind my residence hall, I’ve always assumed that all UNC students probably had at least one thing in common: Nobody likes trash.

Well, maybe not everyone. Recently, I discovered a few people on campus who would love to obtain every last ounce of seemingly useless apple cores and veggie scraps that sit so innocently, yet smelly, in trash cans all across UNC.



Continue reading One Man’s Trash, Another Earth’s Treasure

Humor Series Part II: The Internet

UNC Basketball Meme
A meme that I submitted to UNC Memes last year.

The good, the bad, and the just plain weird.

Well, it’s that time of year again: finals.  If there’s one thing I do more than studying this time of year it’s finding distractions to help me get through the stress.  I always find myself in need of a break from the monotony of textbooks and study guides.  I need some humor.

But where could I take a break and find a good laugh?

Watch a comedy movie? Listen to a comedian’s routine? Try to pull some pranks? In the words of one famous video sensation, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” So like any other college student these days, I begin surfing the web. Continue reading Humor Series Part II: The Internet

Humor Series Part I: Pranks

Invisible walls, burnt toast and Gumby

Sam in Gumby Costume
Me, as Gumby, on the P2P.

I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but coming to college was serious business for me. All of sudden I felt so much pressure, had so much responsibility, was overwhelmed with stuff to do and had so many people to see all the time.

It’s no coincidence that it’s in the college movie Van Wilder,  that we get the classic quote “Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never make it out alive.”  There can be such a serious feel to class, work, friends and job searching that we never really stop and appreciate a good laugh.

Luckily laughter is out there, waiting at every moment!

Over the next few days, I’m going to try to highlight some of my favorite ways to find simple humor amongst the hustle and bustle of college life. Whether it’s a simple joke from a friend or a comedy sketch from online, I hope that my stories will help you lighten up and share the funny things have happened to you or that you’ve found.

Today’s topic is one that I have all too often been on the wrong side of – pranks.

Continue reading Humor Series Part I: Pranks

Our Space

My college living room and family

Graham residents studying
Some of my friends from Graham studying in the lounge.

As a first-year, I got off the elevator with a box full of clothes and a mind full of nerves. My mom looked around Graham third floor at an area of couches, tables and chairs and said, “Well that’s a nice lounge area y’all have.” “Yeah, a nice place for him to get all his studying done,” my dad quickly chimed in.

When I first moved into my new home in the fall of 2010, I figured my mom and dad were both right about that lounge space between the third floors of Aycock and Graham Halls. Except for maybe an occasional study session,  I assumed it would be a nice place that I’d walk by every day, but would rarely spend any time in. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Continue reading Our Space

Bundle Up!

Residents hanging out
Residents in Connor just enjoy hanging out and sharing laughs with each other.

Top Ten Cold Weather Activities

“Nobody on the road…Nobody on the beach…I feel it in the air, that summer’s out of reach.” As I was walking to class the other morning in the seemingly frigid 40 degree whether, I couldn’t help but enjoy the coincidence of my iPod’s shuffle giving me those classic Don Henley lines.

Make no mistake, the nippier weather is indeed on its way. Though there may not be anything more pleasant than those “crisp, cool October nights,” what about those harshly cold evenings that leave you running for the warm cover of a heated building?

For many of us, the transition from the active, late summer times of the beginning of the semester to the cooler months of fall and winter can be a challenge. Here are my ten favorite things to do when those cold fronts come moving in: Continue reading Bundle Up!

Top 10 RA Myths

Common misconceptions about the RA position at UNC

In asking potential applicants about the RA position the past couple of weeks, I’ve come across a number of interesting concerns, provoking thoughts, and outright untruths. In today’s Top 10, I’ll attempt my best Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman impression to bust all the myths surrounding the RA position and application process.

Myth #1: All you do is bust parties or “police” the halls. “Sssshhh the RA is coming!” While we’ve all heard someone utter this phrase a time or two, it’s really not necessary. Certainly RAs have the duty to maintain a safe and welcoming living environment, but they aren’t assigned to hang out by your door and listen to find out what friends you’re having over for the game or what your weekend plans are. RAs want to keep the hall safe and fun, but the last thing they want to be is a paid security guard.

Continue reading Top 10 RA Myths

RA, Your Way!

The many personalities of Resident Advisors

One of the common misconceptions of the RA position is that it is boring, routine, and that strict rules and procedures don’t allow an RA’s individuality to shine through. However, many RAs around campus have found the ability to “RA, their way” by building their personality and interests into their duties as a resident advisor.

photo of residents making s'mores
Lindsay Pope and the RAs of Aycock enjoy a s’mores night with their residents.

For diehard racing fans like resident advisor Turner Bowan, there’s only one thing better than cheering on your favorite driver on race day: doing it with a dozen other people and some delicious fried chicken. Once a year, Turner and his residents, all sporting tank tops and jean shorts, turn the Hinton James lounge into a scene that more closely resembles the infield of a NASCAR event than a residence hall common area.

“I’m an avid NASCAR fan. I’ll typically have a Daytona 500 viewing party every year where residents dress up in typical NASCAR fan clothing and eat Bojangles,” says Bowan. “While none of the residents may actually like NASCAR, they think it is fun.”

Continue reading RA, Your Way!