Category Archives: Current Students

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!

How I Fell in Love with Carolina

UNC is a constant sea of Carolina Blue, filled with die hard Tar Heels who have been born and bred into the family… or at least that’s how the saying goes. But for me, and many other students, this isn’t the case. In fact, my story of how I came to bleed Carolina blue is quite different than the alma mater I chant at the end of every game.

2012

My story starts six years ago when my big sister decided to go to UNC, and I decided (out of sibling spite) I would love Dook. I wasn’t devoted to our gothic rivals, but I took every opportunity I could find to remind my sister what I believed to be true, that Dook was the better blue (which as we all know is a down right lie).

On move-in day I put on a Tar Heel shirt (the least Carolina Blue one I could find) to show my support, but on every other day I would sport Devils gear when I could find it – which became a difficult task growing up in a Tar Heel family. I would take pictures in Dook hats thinking I was so cool; pictures that are now so embarrassing and often come back to haunt me.

My sister (Bryanna MacKay) and I on her freshman move-in day, circa 2012.

2016

Flash forward two years… it’s college decision time for me and I’m an absolute wreck without a dream school or clear path. Carolina seemed like a good fit and an obvious choice being an in-state student, so I applied here and five other schools. After I got back all my decisions I was torn between UNC and Syracuse University – two schools that checked off every box on my list. They both felt like they could be my future home, each with a great journalism program and big on school spirit. They also happened to be two schools playing each other in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.

Everything in my heart was telling me to go to UNC, but I needed a little push to solidify my decision. So I told my Dad “If Carolina wins tonight, I’m enrolling tomorrow.” He laughed it off, but I was incredibly serious. On April 2nd, 2016, the Tar Heels beat the Orange 83 to 66. On April 3rd, 2016, I paid my enrollment deposit to UNC Chapel Hill.

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THANK YOU Heels, for winning this game and deciding my fate.

Today

Since that moment, I’ve never had a single doubt in my mind that I made a wrong decision. I remember walking through the pit one day in maybe my second week on campus thinking “I’m so lucky”. After all, we get to take classes and live in the most beautiful place in the South, what more could we really ask for??

It’s the way the sun hits the quad under a mesmerizing Carolina blue sky. It’s the smile on the little boy’s face as he walks into the Dean Smith Center with the sparkling number 23 on his chest. Or the feeling of never being completely alone, even if when you feel like you’re hitting rock bottom during finals.

Calling myself a ‘dook fan’ growing up is no comparison to my dedication to this university. There is nothing that gets me more excited than waking up early on a Saturday morning to wait three hours in the cold for a spot on the risers. I will always get goosebumps during the Tar Heel lights show and tear up during the intro video (seven… seven… SEVEN national championships). And I will always shout the alma mater from the top of my lungs, win or lose.

Me (front row, right) taking jump around too seriously, per usual.

I love Carolina for welcoming me in and never making me feel like I was an outsider. When I chant “I’m a Tar Heel born, I’m a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I’m a Tar Heel dead”, I really feel like that’s true and it unites me with all my classmates – no matter what our backgrounds may be.

My point is you don’t have to be born into the Carolina family to be a Tar Heel. All those who support UNC support each other, no matter who you have supported in the past. And to me, that’s why this university is such a priceless gem.

Food Necessities: Dorm Edition

Whether you’re getting an unlimited meal plan or not, you’re still going to need some sort of food in your room. While you may be awake at 2 a.m. finishing homework, the dining hall workers won’t be. They need a break too! On school nights, Chase is open until midnight, so you get a little breathing room, but after that, it’s every student for themselves. Plus, chances are, even if you do get hungry at a time that the dining halls are open, you’re bound to experience at least one wave of laziness where you don’t want to make the trek to the dining hall (it’s not always a sunny, 75 degrees outside). Trust me, being a Florida native, this past winter season was miserable. It may only have been 50 degrees out, but I’m telling you wind chill is a real thing and it definitely makes it feel 30, so walking to Chase or Lenoir was not at the top of my agenda. And for all you Northerners saying you’re used to the cold, welllllll it also rains here in North Carolina, and if you aren’t in the business of getting soaked, I strongly suggest keeping a few of these in your room:

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Ramen noodles and/or Easy Mac:

There is a reason everyone associates dorm food with them, ramen noodles and easy mac WILL be your lifesavers. There’s just no way around it. Any variation of instant pasta will do, but these two are the cheapest. All you need is the pasta, water, and 3 minutes of your time, and then voila, you have yourself a whole meal! If you want to get creative, add a few herbs and spices. It’ll take it from your traditional microwavable meal to one worthy of Gordon Ramsay (okay exaggerating a little).

Lunchables:

It might’ve been since fifth grade since you had a lunchable, but don’t underestimate them. These are the perfect snacks for when you’re hungrier than just chips, but not hungry enough for a full meal. My favorite is the classic ham and cheese (it brings oreos!!), but you can’t go wrong with the nachos either. For days you wish your classes were as easy as in elementary school, lunchables bring you one step closer to your inner 10 year old.

Chips/Goldfish:

For when you need something salty to munch on, these are the perfect snack items. They’re cheap, unmessy, and honestly very yummy. Chips and queso? Chips and salsa? Goldfish? Doritos? Get a variety pack and avoid boredom.

Bagels:

Those 8 a.m. classes are tough, honestly even the 9:05 and 10:10 classes can be hard to get to some days. When you don’t have time to get breakfast beforehand, make sure to keep your room stocked with bagels. They’re yummier than plain bread, but still filling, and they’re something you can eat as you run to class. For those of you with a fridge, feel free to keep some cream cheese or butter. It’ll be just like you stopped by Alpine.

Bananas/Cuties:

My first year, a group of my friends created this “banana challenge” as a joke. They challenged you to eat a whole banana under 10 seconds, and yes, it’s as hard as it sounds. One time, they “banana’d” me, forcing me to start the challenge. They were chanting my name to get me to do it, and soon enough, that whole area of the dining hall was shouting “Valentina! Valentina!” It was mortifying, to say the least. I didn’t end up eating the banana in the dining hall, not with all those people staring, but I did take it back to my dorm room. That’s when I realized I had just done something. Why use a swipe trying to get a banana, when I could just take one the night before and save it in my room? Try this every time you’re in Chase. Don’t leave without a banana. As for cuties, who doesn’t love them? The Target on Franklin sells them year round, so be sure to stock up.

Granola bars/trail mix:

Do I even need to explain this one? Perfect for on the go, perfect in the morning, perfect at night… There is really no bad time for granola bars or trail mix. Definitely buy one with m&m’s in it- no one eats the normal kind anyway.

Something sweet:

Everyone has a sweet tooth. When you’re on South campus and don’t want to walk a mile for Lenoir cookies, make sure to keep something sweet in your room. I found cookies or chocolates work best because they don’t expire quickly, but definitely, if you’re a baker and you enjoy cupcakes on the weekly, keep some cake mix in your dorm. It’ll come in handy if you ever forget about your roommate’s birthday.

Pro tip:

Many of these foods require a fridge or microwave, but that doesn’t mean you need to bring both. One of the great blessings of having a roommate is you guys can decide what each person is bringing. Divide and conquer. Now that room assignments are out, get in contact with your roommate and start talking about who is bringing what. There is no point (or space) to have two of each item.

Why Having a Roommate is the Best Thing Ever!

Before college, many people never experienced sharing a room with anyone. Even if they did, it was probably a sibling that they felt close enough to yell at or kick out when they needed their own space. So sharing a room with a peer can seem terrifying. But I promise, it doesn’t have to be! You’ve heard all the horror stories of roommates that didn’t get a long, so let’s talk about all the ways that living with a roommate rocks.

You’re never completely alone. 

As much as we all love and need our alone time, too much time spent by yourself can get very lonely, very fast. Odds are that you and your roommate’s schedules won’t perfectly match, and you’ll both have a fair amount of time with the room to yourself.

At the same time, having someone to keep you company when you need can go a long way. It eases the homesickness and all the other struggles of college when there is someone else in the room. Even if you aren’t talking the whole time, just knowing they’re there for you and you aren’t alone is incredibly soothing.

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They understand what you’re going through.

No matter how different your class schedules or backgrounds are, you are both going through the same stage of life – adjusting to college. And no one ever said this stage was easy. Just having someone to talk to and relate to makes you feel a lot less isolated when things get rough.

For every bad exam grade or long night studying, there’s another student who feels your pain, and when it happens to be your roomie, that makes everything that much better.

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They can help you with all your little struggles.

Key got stuck in the door? Scary bug eyeing you from the corner of the room? Locked yourself out? Can’t reach the top shelf? Wind making scary noises? Seriously, what would we do without roomies to come to our rescue???

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You always have someone to binge watch shows with.  

Because watching The Bachelor is so much better with someone to laugh at all the dorky contestants with. Sometimes you just need a break from studying and a good TV show with an eager roommate can be the perfect cure.

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And drag along on other crazy adventures.

What would college be without crazy adventures? From Insomnia Cookies at times where you definitely should be sleeping to exploring Carolina’s best kept secrets – memories much more fun when you have someone to make them with.

Plus, a roommate is much less likely to say no than a text to a random friend. I mean, how could they say no to your face when you have such convincing arguments that this adventure has to happen right now??

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It’s never just you two.

When you’ve had enough of your roommate, the beauty of residence halls is there are so many options of people to hang out with. Whether it’s suitemates or hallmates, you’re sure to find someone else in your building you click with when you need a little escape.

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As much as you may think you’ll hate sharing a room with someone, this is such an essential part of university life. A roommate is that person that doesn’t have to be your best friend but will always be there for you no matter what. And the first weekend they leave you alone, I promise you’ll be begging them to come home soon!

Best Ways To Get To Know Your Residence Hall!

When moving into a new residence hall, meeting people can be a daunting task because it seems like everyone is fixed on their own routine. However, the vast majority of students are eager to meet new friends and are simply uncertain about how to start the first conversation. Here are some tips that will ensure you get a chance to meet some of your potential best college friends!

1. Keep an Open Door Policy

Once you are done moving into your residence hall, it is wise to keep your door open to convey a friendly vibe. By having your door open, your hallmates will often visit your room to introduce themselves. Through these introductions, you might find that you have similar music, movie, or sports interests with your hallmates and find a quality friend!

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2. Go to the First Hall Meeting

Most RAs (Resident Assistants) will host a hall meeting for their residents after move-in day. This meeting can not only be an excellent way to find out information about future residence hall events, but also a great way to meet new friends. The vast majority of the people at the first hall meeting will not know each other so everyone is keen on making new friends! Also, the first hall meeting often includes some type of free snack which is reason enough to go! For example, my first hall meeting at Horton Residence Hall featured some delicious brownies.

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3. Take Advantage of Residence Hall Events

Residence halls often feature different entertaining events that numerous residents attend. For example, trivia nights, free food, and friendly sports competitions are all common events! Because so many residents attend these events, also going is a excellent way to meet new friends and familiarize yourself with your residence hall. While in Horton Residence Hall, there were many events that involved free pizza where I met new friends while also enjoying free food!

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4. Become Everyone’s Best Friend Through Baking!

Taking advantage of the community kitchens that come with every residence hall at UNC can also be a way to meet new friends! For example, I met one of my good friends in Horton Residence Hall through her messaging our group chat for our hall saying to come by her room if anyone wanted cookies. For obvious reasons, a good amount of people showed up to the room. However, people did not just grab a cookie and leave, they tended to hang around and have a conversation. For this reason, baking something for the hall can be a great way to meet new people!

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5. Work on Homework in the Study Lounge

The study lounges in the different residence halls at UNC are a worthwhile place to work because of the available space to focus. Despite the study lounges usually being a quiet space, they can also be a great place to meet people in your residence hall! Often people will introduce themselves to different people in study lounges which makes it a great place to find a potential study buddy!

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Your residence hall will often be the place you find some of your best college friends. By taking the initiative to be social, you will quickly become familiar with your residence hall!

Tips on Making Your 8 A.M Class!

For many college students, having an 8 a.m. class in their schedule can be a terrible way to start the day. However, that does not have to be the case! By making small adjustments in your routine, and picking the right class, having an 8 a.m can be an excellent way to get more use out of the day!

1. Take a Class You Are Interested In

As you wake up to a blaring alarm clock during the early hours of the morning, the thought will definitely cross your mind “should I even go to this class?” To make sure you do not lay your head back on the pillow, it helps if your 8 a.m is a class you’re interested in. Having an interesting 8 a.m will not only increase your chances of making the class, but will also make the class time more enjoyable. Instead of fighting to stay awake in class, because the course material will be personally engaging, you will be more attentive in class!

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2. Mandatory Attendance

If taking an interesting 8 a.m is not enough to coerce you to get out of bed, a required attendance policy might. Many professors have required attendance for their classes meaning you can only miss a limited amount of days before you start having points deducted. By having a direct consequence for missing class, most students will find a way to attend classes with required attendance. For this reason, seeking out an 8 a.m class with a required attendance policy can ensure that you do not miss class!

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3. Everything is Better With Friends!

When going to a class alone, it is easy to convince yourself that skipping is not that bad. However, when taking a class with a friend, you are becoming accountable to another person. That being said, if you skip your 8 a.m then you will certainly be receiving a disappointed text message from your friend who made it to class. Additionally, any class is better with a friend to talk to!

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4. Keep Your Alarm Clock Away From Your Bed

One trap that makes it easier to oversleep for class is having an alarm clock that is too close to your bed. Whether you use an actual alarm clock, or your phone, it helps if you place it away from your bed before you go to sleep. The reasoning is, by getting out of bed, and walking to your ringing alarm clock, you will be less likely to go back to sleep because you are no longer in your cozy cocoon of a dorm bed.

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5. Keeping a Healthy Sleep Schedule

Managing to consistently attend an 8 a.m class can be difficult, but can be made nearly impossible by a terrible sleep schedule. For this reason, striving to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep before having to wake up for your 8 a.m is ideal. This can be easier accomplished by staying productive during the day so that you are less likely to have to sacrifice sleep for late-night homework sessions!

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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

3. CLEAN THE BATHROOM

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.

 

Navigating the Bus System: A First-Year Guide

You’ve decided to join the UNC Class of 2022; you’ve filled out the Housing application; what else is there to do? Here in our college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, all students (and any community members) have access to the Chapel Hill Transit service at no additional cost! Our transit system has 30+ different bus routes, each allowing students to access different parts of the town without having to worry about driving. This guide will show you ropes and get you prepared to take full advantage of the resource when August rolls around!

 

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Getting Around Campus: The U and RU Routes

Don’t feel like walking to class today? I don’t blame you–I am the same way! Thankfully, we have two on-campus routes that essentially drive in circles around our campus all day. The U shuttle goes in a clockwise direction around campus, and the RU, or Reverse U, goes in a counter-clockwise direction, in case you’re going the other way.

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Looking to do some shopping? Try the J, CW, or G Routes

Whether you want a new outfit or need to stock up on snacks, you don’t want to have to walk home with your bags! Both the J and CW routes depart from the bus stop near Abernathy Hall on campus, and will take you to Carrboro, where there are both boutiques and grocery stores. If you are looking for a wider range of options, the G route departs from South Road, and will take you to University Mall, home to shops, restaurants, and a movie theater.

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Want To Get Out of Town? Use GoTriangle Transit! 

The transit service for the greater Triangle area, GoTriangle, offers buses routes from Chapel Hill to many desired locations in the area (at a small cost). These buses can take you to nearby Raleigh or Durham, larger cities filled with job opportunities and fun destinations. GoTriangle also has routes to the airport if you’re planning a trip home!

 

The local bus systems are a great resource that all UNC students should take advantage of because we have such a great surrounding community. It also doesn’t hurt that the bus drivers are super friendly! If you’re ever unsure of where to go, feel free to ask a driver, and they can point you in the right direction. The Chapel Hill Transit bus routes and schedules can be found here, so let’s get moving Tar Heels!

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’ve 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!

 

You Mean I Get Whaaat Perks?

For all of you keeping track, tuition and fees are racking up to be about $8,910 for in-state and $34,938 for OOS students in the 2018-2019 academic year. Woahhh that’s a lot of money! While this may look like a big hit to you and your parents’ bank accounts, Carolina is actually Kiplinger’s Best Value University (WOOHOO another thing we are number one in). Basically, you’re getting everything you pay for AND more.

But what exactly are you paying for? What does “tuition and fees” even mean? I know looking at a list of what is included in your fees can be a little confusing, so I’ve highlighted some of the totally awesome perks you don’t want to miss out on as a UNC student.

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  1. Access to Makerspaces

These spots are so cool. BeAM@Carolina is a recent addition to UNC’s campus. The program includes a network of makerspaces to design and produce physical objects for education, research, entrepreneurship, or just for fun! There are four makerspaces on campus: Murray Hall, Hanes Art Center, Kenan Science Library, and Carmichael Hall. Here, you can 3-D print, design your own stickers, make unique laser-cut products, woodshop, and so much more! Best part? It’s at no additional cost for UNC students. You have to attend an orientation session first to get familiar with the tools, but after that, you’re free to release your inner creator!

Pro-tip: don’t want to spend the money on laptop stickers? No problem- head to one of the makerspaces and print your own!

Grand Opening

2. Athletic Event Tickets

Basketball and football seasons are great (can I get a #NattyChamps anyone?), but what makes them even better is knowing you don’t have to pay for any of the tickets! While some of your friends at other schools have to pay hundreds of dollars for season tickets, here at Carolina students can swipe into athletic events with their OneCard. Basketball is a little tough- you have to sign up online to receive tickets through a lottery system, but for all the other sports all you’ll need is a OneCard and a few Carolina chants memorized. Did I mention every four-year student since 1978 has experienced at least one national championship in one of Carolina’s 28 varsity sports? That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

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3. Recreation Centers

Stressed about gaining the #Freshman15? Don’t worry. At Carolina, your student fees provide you with a membership to all of the campus rec services. No pain no gain? You can use all of the equipment and facilities on campus to do some heavy lifting. Trust me, your chemistry textbook is NOT meant as a weight.

But maybe you’re more of a group person. There are several classes taught every day by certified instructors in everything from Zumba to Yoga. Check out the schedules on the campus rec website and bring a friend along for an hour of high energy movements.

Finally, for all of you who were all-state athletes and don’t want to give up your sport quite yet, you can sign up for an intramural team or try out for a club team. The winning IM team for each sport gets an intramural champion t-shirt that’ll have everyone jealous of your athletic abilities.  

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4. Adobe Creative Cloud 

Being a design nerd myself, this is one of the hidden gems UNC provides for students that changed the way I do assignments. Every student with a UNC email can create an Adobe account and download ALL of the Adobe programs at no cost! Part of Carolina’s Digital Literacy initiative is to integrate the Creative Cloud into classrooms, so don’t be surprised if your English 105 teacher asks you to use it on your next project. UNC is one of the only schools in the country to provide their students to complete access, so take advantage of it! If you need help getting started with the software, students also have access to Lynda.com and the Media Resource Center in the basement of the UL. Almost all of your design questions can be answered here.

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5. Discount Performing Arts Tickets

One of my suitemates freshman year was a huge theatre person, so she starred in several shows throughout the year. I wanted to be a good friend and support her, but I had no job, which meant no money either. Luckily, UNC students receive discount tickets to all performing art events on campus. In fact, most shows cost as little as $5! While most of us can only sing in the shower, it’s cool to see how fellow Tar Heels rock a stage.

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6. Residence Hall Association 

When you sign up for a housing contract, some of your fees go towards the Residence Hall Association. What is RHA you ask? RHA is an organization on campus that puts on different events throughout the year for the school and in your residence hall. Every year, RHA hosts a viewing party for UNC-Duke Basketball games. Trust me, this is the one game you don’t want to miss. Unfortunately, tickets for the game are hard to come by, so where better to watch the game than in a room full of other Duke-hating Heels?

Additionally, every residential community has a Community Government that puts on events on a weekly basis. These events are great places to become friends with the students in your hall. Having been a part of my community’s CoGo, I can tell you almost all events come with the assumption of #PhreePhood, so don’t miss them! Meal swipes can get low towards the end of a semester, so make sure to save them whenever you can.

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7. Campus Health

Contrary to popular belief, an apple a day doesn’t always keep the doctor away. And for a lot of students, living on campus means being away from home for the first time. When there’s no one around to make you the chicken noodle soup that always made you feel better, make sure to make an appointment with Campus Health. Every student pays a Campus Health fee anyway, so you might as well use it! No one likes feeling under the weather, especially here at Carolina where there is something new going on every day. Head to one of the clinics as soon as you feel something is wrong. All of the doctors are super friendly and will get you back to perfect health in no time.

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What I’m trying to say is, Carolina has so much more to offer than you could possibly imagine. Don’t let your four years go by without using all the resources you can!