Category Archives: FAQs

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A Letter To Rising Freshman

Dear UNC 22,

My name is Kalina MacKay, and I’m incredibly jealous of you, rising freshman. I’m going to be a junior this year, which means I’m halfway done of my time at this magical place. And for that reason, I would give anything to be in your shoes – bright eyed and ready to begin my journey as an official Tar Heel.

I remember my summer between high school and college, not knowing what the future had in store for me. Would I make friends? Would I change in college? Would I get homesick? Spoiler alert – yes, yes, and yes. Going to college is one of – if not THE – biggest transitions of your life to date. So having these questions, is beyond normal. You’re not alone, we’ve all been there too.

My first snap as an official Tar Heel!

Yeah, you can read hundreds of blogs just like this one on how to prepare for college, but none of them can mimic that feeling of stepping on campus on move-in day, knowing that that day is this first day of the rest of your life. What I wouldn’t give to go back to that feeling. An overwhelming feeling of pure independence…, freedom…, and wait, I kind of miss my Mom…. Not everything about college is easy. In fact, college is very, very hard. But it’s also incredibly worth it.

Yikes, clearly I learned a lot since freshman year… like how to work my blinds….

Freshman year is SO fun. You’ll learn a lot about yourself. You’ll probably make a lot of mistakes and fall on your face a couple of times. But it’s okay because it’s your first-year and you’re still getting the hang of the whole college thing. You’re not expected to have your life together or start planning your future yet, your main priority is yourself and learning how to function on your own.

Maybe you’ll fail a test… or two… I know, I know, we’re all Carolina kids, and we all care about our grades – failing a test sounds like the end of the world. But may I repeat: College. Is. Hard. The beautiful thing about UNC is, even if you fail a test, you get to step out of that classroom onto the most stunning campus in the world, maybe go to a football game or basketball game to let out some stress and forget about it.

I can’t speak for everyone but personally, high school did not prepare me for college. I had no clue how to read a textbook without a quiz at the end forcing me to know the material or study for an exam without a pre-made study guide outlining the exact material on the test. But I figured it out, and you will too. One or two bad test grades in a gen-ed class is not going to wreck your GPA forever.

My first football game with my suitemates Zoe, Sarah, and Kate (208 forever)

Your first-year at UNC will be filled with tons of magical moments in unexpected places: your first time watching a Carolina victory and getting goosebumps knowing those are your classmates; your first time seeing the campus flooded with alumni during homecoming and realizing how big the Carolina community really is; your first time singing the alma mater at the end of a game and nailing every single word, feeling each syllable come from the bottom of your heart; your first class where you feel like ‘this is it – this is what I want to do for forever’.

College is this amazing time in your life where you get to grow up and reach new heights but also are still allowed to be a kid from time to time. You get to plan for the rest of your life and figure out your passions and purposes, while still pulling some dumb stunt at 3am with your roomie.

As the four years progress, things get more serious. Your classes get harder, maybe you get a job or internship, or maybe you get more involved in an organization. Now don’t get me wrong, all this stuff is tons of fun and great experience, but it also occupies a lot of your time.

Not only do you start to get busier, your friends also start to get busier. You’ll find yourself trying to squeeze an hour out of your busy schedule for lunch with your freshman suitemates whom you haven’t seen in ages. It’s never the same as your first-year when you all had free time in the evenings to go to dinner at the dining hall whenever you felt like it.

That’s why I’d kill to be a freshman again. Yeah, I struggled and learned a lot, but I also definitely took advantage of the carefree lifestyle your first-year allows for.

My first time rushing Franklin!!!

From that first move-in moment onwards, I’m not kidding when I say time will fly. So, breathe in every second. Every late-night laugh with your suitemates, every midnight mental breakdown tear in Davis Library, every TARRR shouted from the top of your lungs in the Dean Dome.

Make the most of your time here because honestly, you’ll never get another opportunity quite like this. For probably the first time in your life, you’re in complete control of your life without someone telling you to finish your dinner or be home by 10:00. But at the same time, you’ve got an incredible support community of RA’s, professors, and peers when you need it.

Being over dramatic on my last night in my dorm…

Whatever fears and worries you have about college will disappear in no time and before you know it, you’ll be tearing up as you drive away from campus for the Summer. Carolina is contagiously welcoming and calling yourself a Tar Heel is an honor, tradition, and a privilege. Whoever said high school was the best four years of your life clearly didn’t go to UNC.

 

Lots of love from one of many who’s rooting for you,

Kalina

 

How To Survive Your First Day

You asked, we answered! This blog goes out, specifically, to Komal. You wanted tips on how to make it through your first day at Carolina, and we’ve got answers for you. Follow these and you’ll have an FDOC better than the one in Ned’s Declassified.

  1. Know What FDOC Means

How do you spot a first-year? They don’t know the Carolina lingo. Don’t be that kid. Every year, the DTH sends out a first-year guide to all things UNC. In it? All the Carolina abbreviations. I’ll highlight some of the basics for you. First of all, the DTH is the Daily Tar Heel. It’s our on-campus newspaper that’s totally student-run (make sure to sign up for it if you believe in the future of journalism)! They publish new stories every day, from sports coverage to social activism. Make sure to check your mail over the summer for your special copy and read up on all the acronyms. Once you get to Carolina, you’ll be hearing a lot of FDOC. FDOC stands for the First Day of Class. Towards the end of the semester, you’ll hear this replaced with LDOC (Last Day of Class). All of your friends will ask you how your FDOC went, so don’t be caught off guard! It’s also a tradition to drink from the Old Well on FDOC. They say you get a 4.0 for the semester if you do. I’m not one to brag, but from experience, I know it does have a small success rate. Some people like to line up at the well right at midnight and sing the alma mater with other Tar Heels. You definitely don’t need to be that dedicated to the cause to get a 4.0, but definitely stop by at some point during the day. It’ll be hot and the line will be long, but you never know who you’ll meet while you’re waiting.

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2. Find Your Classes the Day Before

Nothing is worse than being late for your class because you went into the wrong building. Make sure to take time the day before FDOC to find all your classrooms. Go with one of your suitemates and do a run through of what your days will look like. Make sure to do a Mon/Wed/Fri mockup and then a Tues/Thurs. Also, big PSA, there’s a difference between Hanes Hall and Hanes Art Center. If you have one of these on your schedule, make sure to check you’re at the right one. They’re not across campus or anything, but it’ll still take you about five minutes to walk between each. Trust me, if you have an 8 am, you do NOT want to waste an extra five minutes. UNC is a big campus. I spent my first few weeks with a map of campus as my phone background. Don’t be ashamed if you have to do this. It’s way better than being lost.

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3. Sit in the Front

I’ve only had one 300 person lecture class during my time at UNC and I can honestly say I’m BLESSED. Those classes aren’t fun. Mine was ECON 101 (again, not fun). A lot of 101 courses, especially science ones, will be big lecture ones. Though recitations make them feel a little smaller, the class itself can be easy to get lost in. My best advice is to sit in the front. In my econ class, I sat in the very front row. That might be a little extra, but definitely try to find a seat up front. I’m not saying it’s true, but in my opinion, a lot of the students who get those higher grades will sit in the front. Maybe correlation, not causation? Also, a lot of these lectures require group work to answer poll questions, so you want to be surrounded by smart kids. There’s a good chance if you sit in the back you’ll be stuck next to a kid who only shows up to class the first day, exam days, and last day. And when you have 45 seconds left to answer a poll (yes, @Balaban), you’ll regret not sitting next to someone else.

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4. Make Time for Lunch

Nothing is worse than sitting in a quiet classroom and then your stomach starts growling. Trust me, this happened to me all the time if I skipped meals, and though it’s funny the first few times, I could tell the people sitting next to me would get annoyed after a while. Get into the routine of making time for lunch every day, starting with FDOC. This is an easy way to squeeze in social time during your busy day. I was scared of eating alone at first, so I always went with a friend. After a while you realize eating alone is totally normal, and sometimes needed on bad days, but those first few weeks it’s nice to use the time to get to know the people you’ll be seeing for the next four years! Also, make note that your Monday schedule isn’t that same as your Thursday one, so switch up your lunch routine! You don’t have to eat in the dining hall every day. If you’re extra busy during midterm season, use a plus swipe and take your food to go to a library.

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5. Prepare a Fun Fact

Ugh, professors who do this are the worst. My first day at Carolina I was SO unprepared for this question. UNC is great because there are so many cool people who attend. But that also means those cool people have REALLY cool fun facts. I’ve had all but one professor at Carolina ask me for a fun fact, so chances are your professors will too. Don’t be that lame kid that says you played baseball in high school. Newsflash: this sounds like you peaked in high school. Think back to the unique moments you’ve had in your life, and share one! But please don’t go into a full story either, it’s a fun fact, not a fun novel.

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6. Create Group Chats

Create group chats with the people you sit next to in class. This is an easy way to get to know your classmates, and it’ll come in handy when you need help with homework. Carolina students are really friendly, I promise you no one will think it’s weird if you take initiative. My MEJO 101 class I sat next to my roommate. On our first day, she made a group chat with the two boys who sat behind us. We didn’t know it then, but by the end of the semester, we all became besties! Also, divide and conquer is an actual thing. It’s easier to find the answers to a study guide between four people than by yourself. Do yourself a favor and create that group message.

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Well, there you have it, how to survive FDOC, Carolina edition. Stay tuned later in the semester for how to survive LDOC. That one is a lot more fun :).

The Ultimate Tar Heel Dictionary

Being a student at UNC comes with a lot of responsibility, history and traditions. We’re a tight community, all linked by this same passion for our university. With that, we have some special ways of expressing ourselves. Here’s a beginner’s guide to some essential Tar Heel lingo (that you may already know) to make yourself sound like a seasoned upperclassman when you step on campus!

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23 – The number that Michael Jordan, noted UNC alum and arguably the best basketball player of all time, sported while winning the 1982 National Championship. Also the number that many of us sport from the sidelines of almost any Carolina activity.

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89 – The year that the first (and totally unbiasedly greatest) public university in America was founded, 1789. Another number often seen on jerseys to commemorate a historic occasion.

Born and Bred – A phrase from UNC’s alma mater (Hark the Sound!!!), sung at the end of each sporting event. Summarizes our community in that we were all destined to be Tar Heels from day one (even if you weren’t raised this way, you’ll feel like you were!!).

Ceiling is the Roof – Honestly one of the most insightful and inspirational quotes from our very own, Michael Jordan, while announcing his partnership with UNC’s football team. It’s important to note that this was during the 2017 dook game (which we won) – the last home game before winning the natty… don’t question the logic.

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DTH – UNC’s student run newspaper organization, the Daily Tar Heel. Captures iconic campus events such as previously mentioned 2017 natty – you may have to get aggressive to get a copy of the Redemption issue though, they’re highly sought after.

Dook – Let’s all learn how to spell our opposites’ name correctly! Producing villains such as Grayson Allen, the only way to spell this university is our way. After all, we’re the better blue and that’s a fact!

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We know, being a Dookie is a sad life…

FDOC – The first day of class, in which Heels line up at the Old Well and swear that this semester the sip will lead them to a 4.0… Fact or fiction, it’s a Tar Heel tradition we will always participate in with high hopes for an academically stellar semester.

FTK – A motto you’ll probably hear a lot of on campus, as it comes from Carolina For The Kids, North Carolina’s largest student-run non-profit organization. Especially around Dance Marathon (their 24-hour no sitting, no sleeping event) recruitment season, you won’t be able to walk through campus without hearing “FTK, for the kids!”.

GDTBATH – You’ll very quickly realize that every day is a “good day to be a Tar Heel”, so good that we needed an acronym – because that’s a long phrase to be saying that often. Win or lose, this acronym drives our rivals crazy (haters gonna hate), which makes us love it even more!

GTHD – Speaking of the rivals, the ones we most love to hate are those gothic devils eight miles down the road… the dreaded dookies. The last unofficial line in our alma mater, and my personal favorite is the one that this acronym alludes to: go to heck dook!!

LDOC – The beautiful cousin to FDOC, the last day of classes. A happy day of celebrating the long semester behind us and forget about the stress of upcoming finals. LDOC is especially fun in the Spring when students can lay out on the quad under a nice spring day and get tons of free swag and food in the pit, courtesy of CUAB!

Midterm Season – While some schools have 1 week designated for midterms, this isn’t really a thing for Carolina. In fact, between syllabus week and finals, its basically always midterms season – a time where you can most definitely find students crying in every library possible, because some how it always works out perfectly that all your classes have midterms the same week ://///

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This is my constant mood during midterm season…

Natty Champs – Example: April 3rd, 2017, when UNC won the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship, aka the best day of my life. However, Tar Heels are natty champs in several different sports, because we’re not a basketball school 😊

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Rams Dining Hall – Now Chase Dining Hall, the older Tar Heels will always refer to the South Campus cafeteria as we know it: Rams.

Rushing – After beating dook or winning a natty in basketball, students flood Franklin Street, burn couches in fires (and hop over said fires), and jump on each other’s shoulders. When the clock hits zero, students drop everything and sprint to Franklin and MLK from wherever they were watching the game. This is the ONLY way to celebrate the most important victories (I promise its super fun and will be a highlight of your year).

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Waterpocalypse – Another throwback that you may hear the older Heels talking about. In the Spring of 2017 UNC’s water was infected, cancelling classes that Friday afternoon and causing much of campus to evacuate. In a funny way, this brought students together as we struggled to relocate or survive waterless for the weekend.

 

If I missed your fav UNC term, leave it & it’s definition in the comments!! As always, it’s a GDTBATH and GTHD!!

Can I Start Packing Yet?

Freshman college move-in day… crazy, right? Seems like just yesterday you were working up the nerves for your first day of high school. Well, that’s definitely how I felt. But it’s happening. In fact, today marks just 50 days until first-year move-in weekend! Does preparing for this monumental day seem overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. Here’s my insight on how to pack for college like an upperclassman.

There’s Two Types of People…

This time two years ago, I probably already had my hallways at home lined with all the necessities… and then some. Queen of overpacking, it’s safe to say I didn’t nail the concept of simplicity. But you live and you learn, right?

While packing for college there’s the over packers and the under packers. There’s the ones, like me, that read every blog and Pinterest post on how to pack for college on the face of the internet and began packing from the moment they got their housing assignments. On the other hand, there’s those that figure they can get all the necessities in a suitcase the night before. Don’t be either of these people – find a happy medium.

Seriously, you’ll thank yourself if you manage to find that perfect balance between the bare minimum and way too much. It’s definitely not too soon to start thinking what you’re going to bring with you into the next stage of your life. But that doesn’t mean you need to keep piling things up all summer long. It just gives you more time to think about strategic ways to make your dorm the best home it can possibly be!

Step #1: Talk to Your Roomie

Microwave, mini fridge, rug, curtains, futons, extra shelving – these are all the things you don’t need two of. Communicating with your roommate in advance will not only make packing and moving in easier, it will also give you added space in your dorm!

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Step #2: Look into RHA Enhancements

This is a super cool perk of living on-campus! You can check out ‘enhancements’ from your community office, including cookware, cleaning supplies, board games, DVD’s, and more with your One Card! Most enhancements you can keep for up to 48 hours and can check out as many times as you want throughout the semester.

So if you were planning on bringing that cupcake pan, mixing bowl, and whisk just in case you wanted to surprise your roommate on their birthday – leave it at home. If you have a meal plan, you probably won’t be cooking that often anyway, so it’s better to take advantage of this great resource!

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No catch here, thanks RHA!!!

Step #3: Remember that UNC isn’t a Deserted Island

If you forget something, I promise everything will be okay. We have a Target essentially on-campus, as well as a Walmart and Harris Teeter just a short drive away. Amazon prime will be your best friend, and students get a discounted rate!

This is also a great way to make friends. Knock on your neighbor’s door, introduce yourself, and ask to borrow their (whatever you forgot). Maybe this is how you’ll meet your future bestie, you can thank me later.

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Like the opposite of UNC

End Goal – Keep It Light

Repeat after me: you don’t need to bring your whole closet on move-in day. I know, NC weather is bipolar and you never know what you’re going to get. But you will not need your whole winter wardrobe before Fall break.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll live in t-shirts and norts in college. And from the amount of free Carolina blue t-shirts you’ll get at sporting events, extracurricular activities, and just walking around on campus – you don’t need to stock up. Seriously, I had to send some of my free t-shirts home this year because they didn’t fit in my drawers…

When you’re packing your things, really ask yourself if you’ll need it all. If you’re packing something that you may need in only one very specific situation, you can probably leave it at home. Worst comes to worst, you can get your parents to mail it to you!

 

My Dad loves to roast me on Snapchat for how much I overpacked…

Trust me, packing light is the way to go. Whether you live on the 1st floor or the 10th floor, you don’t want to be lugging two car loads full of things you’ll probably never touch up and down the stairs in 100-degree heat. Your family will definitely thank you if you minimize the work for them… right Dad???

Leaving Your Heel Print

With almost 19,000 undergraduates, it would hypothetically be easy to blend in at Carolina. But one of my favorite things about our university is that “blending in” isn’t something Tar Heels love to do. There are so many ways to get involved in campus to make yourself stand out that make 19,000 not seem so big or scary at all!

Join a Student Organization

With over 800 student organizations to choose from, it’s almost impossible to not fall in love with at least one! With everything from politics to dance to service, there is sure to be an organization with your name written all over it.

Eight hundred options can seem overwhelming, that’s why Carolina Union hosts FallFest at the end of move in weekend each year. At this beloved UNC event, hundreds of representatives from student organizations set up tables to explain why YOU should join their organization. It’s a super fun event complete with free food, performances, and meeting new friends!

Fall Fest is a popular event for new and returning Heels alike!

Become a Leader in your Org

Once you get settled into the organizations you’re passionate about, stay dedicated to them. Being a leader in a college organization has shaped my Carolina experience. While you may have been president of your high school’s National Honor’s Society chapter, leading a university organization comes with much more responsibility and power. The officers are in charge of everything, from finances to registering with the university to dealing with internal conflicts. By holding a leadership position, not only are you impacting your organization, you also learn a lot about yourself and maybe even your future goals!

Get Involved in Greek Life

This is a popular one that I’m sure you’ve heard all about, and probably have your own ideas about already. While this wasn’t the route for me, I have tons of friends who have found their home at Carolina in a sorority or fraternity. Keep in mind that the meaning and importance of Greek Life extends way beyond all the stereotypes. I highly recommend looking into it with an open mind to explore if you’re interested in rushing!

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Members of UNC Fraternities and Sororities coming together.

Participate in an Intramural Sport

Continuing with the theme of endless options, UNC offers over 50 intramural sports for all skill levels. This is a fun way to channel your inner natty champ winning athlete, get your exercise in, and meet tons of cool people!

From sit-down volleyball to cornhole, there are tons of unique sports for you to try! And if you can’t find your passion, you are more than welcome to start your own team. All you have to do is pull together a few teammates and register with Campus Rec! For more details, check out this link.

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Win an event, score a coveted Intramural Champ T-Shirt!

…Or Just Attend Sporting Events

If you, like me, aren’t as athletically gifted, you can still get involved while staying on the sidelines! Even with little knowledge of sports (speaking from experience) supporting your talented peers can be tons of fun. At the University of National Champions, we’re really into school spirit so this one is a must. With free tickets to games, you might as well take advantage of this incredible perk while you’ve got it. Supporting the Heels is honestly therapeutic, you can let out all the stress from classes with one big “TARRRR…”

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#GetIntoIt!!!!!

Bond with a Professor or Mentor

The staff at UNC is amazing and they are all so incredibly passionate about their jobs – teaching you! Even in those huge lecture halls where it can be easy to sit in the back row, go that extra mile to make sure your professor knows you. Whether it’s sticking around for a couple of minutes after class, shooting them an email, or attending office hours, professors will appreciate students that express interest!

Even if you understand the course material perfectly, simply introducing yourself is a great way to start getting involved in the UNC community. Adults have been in our position and can offer everything from job references to life advice.

 

Bottom line is: no matter how you do it, step outside of your comfort zone and get involved! At Carolina there are so many ways to do so without ever leaving campus, and involvement will help you find yourself, your people and even what you want to do with your life. Don’t spend your four years in your dorm!

How to Make Friends: College Edition

In fifth grade, I was a little girl who couldn’t open her own water bottles. I remember the first day of school, I had to ask the girl next to me if she could open mine for me. Little did I know she would become my best friend for the next nine years. This fall, I’m heading into my sophomore year at Carolina. I can thankfully say I can open my own water bottles now, and I’ve also found some other pretty great friends along the way. Yet one year ago, my biggest fear was not having any friends. I’m from Orlando, and as you can expect, there aren’t many Floridians rushing to go to school at UNC. Though it was relieving to know I was going to a school where I could start completely fresh, I knew there wouldn’t be any recess time or water bottles to help me make friends. I didn’t want to be that one girl who hated college because she lacked a social life, so meeting people became my number one priority. As you say goodbye to your hometown friends this summer, I’ve gathered some tips on how to make new ones here at Carolina.

  1. Become a regular

The first few weeks of school is the time when everyone starts to get into the groove of things- you learn how late you can sleep in and still make your class, what days Lenoir is serving mac ’n’ cheese, and most importantly, what your go-to study place will be. Your habits probably don’t change much from day to day, so you’re bound to become a regular somewhere. Good news? You’re not the only one. Everyone has a specific schedule they follow, so there’s a good chance you’ll be running into some of the same people over and over. My first year, I was not expecting Carolina to be so cold so early on in the year. By late September, I was already opening up my Florida winter bins. When it was 50 degrees outside and I didn’t want to walk home from the UL late, I would do my homework in one of the study lounges in my residence hall. Turns out, a lot of other people felt the same way. Each day, no matter which lounge I was in, I would see someone familiar. Eventually, I found some of my best friends inside the Horton study lounges. You have no idea how much you can bond with someone over being stressed out about a paper at 2 am.

2. Tag along with your roommate

Having a roommate has a long list of perks, one of them being that their friends will probably also become your friends. When all else fails, don’t be shy about tagging along with your roommate! Last year, my roommate came from a school in Raleigh, so she knew a lot of people coming to campus. It helped me a lot, because those first few nights before I knew anyone, it was her group of friends that made me feel more comfortable. Plus, there will be times your roommate invites his/her friends to your room, so it helps to be friendly with them! Make sure you get to know them, you might be seeing them a lot throughout the year.

3. Bake cookies

On move-in day, two girls in my hall baked cookies for everyone. They had moved in early because of Carolina Kickoff, so while everyone else was coming in and out with boxes and mini fridges, they were already settled into their rooms. They used their time to come up with an idea on how to meet people, and who doesn’t love cookies? That afternoon, they went door to door handing out cookies, and if there’s one thing college students love, it’s free food. If you move in early for whatever reason, try this tip out! It’s a super easy, nonintimidating way of meeting everyone on your floor. Everyone will remember the person that gave them their first piece of free food at Carolina.

4. Accept invitations

The two guys that lived next to me, went knocking door to door on the first afternoon asking people if they wanted to join them for dinner. If someone in your hall does this, GO!! I know everyone has pictured that scene from a movie where a kid is sitting alone in the dining hall. Though now I understand this is perfectly normal, I remember my freshman year I was super paranoid about being alone. The fact I didn’t have to worry my first night about eating alone seriously calmed my nerves about Carolina. Not everyone you meet your first day will be your instant best friend, but it doesn’t hurt to try. These two guys, Josh and Tyler, would end up being some of my best friends.

5. Don’t be afraid to initiate!

For the first football game of my first year, my roommate woke up sick. I had planned on going to the game with her, but she was a mess, and I knew there was no getting her out of bed. For a moment, I panicked. There was no way I was going to miss my first Carolina football game (even if we ended the season 3-9, basketball school right?), but there was also no way I was going to go by myself. An hour before kick off, I finally got the courage to go down the hall and ask some of the girls if I could join them. I didn’t even have to explain myself- they welcomed me with open arms. We may have lost that game, and many more, but I made some of my best friends by swallowing my fear and just asking them. Don’t be scared to do the same.

6. Join Clubs

Finally, the most obvious one. Joining clubs and organizations at UNC is the easiest way to make friends. Join Greek life, try out for a sports team, take part in service events…anything you do will make you a friend. Tar heels are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet, take advantage of it.

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.

SOS I’m Undecided

At eighteen years old, you have tons of decisions to make that can feel like they will affect the rest of your life. You picked a college (congrats, you picked the best one in the world :)) and now you have to pick a major. While some of your classmates may be pursuing their career they’ve dreamed of since they were five, if you’re undecided it can feel like you’re lost without a purpose. But I promise, everything’s going to be okay, and it will all work out.

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You’re Not Alone.

In fact, between 20 and 50 percent of college students enter undecided. On top of that 75% of all students will change their major at least once throughout their college career.[1] So don’t feel like you’re the first student who doesn’t know what they’re doing going into college, because you’re not.

Look at it from the bright side, going in undecided leaves you limitless. You’re free to discover new passions and possibilities, rather than being stuck on one set path. Some people argue that college freshman shouldn’t be able to declare a major for this very reason.

You WILL Change in College.

Spoiler alert: no matter how much you think you know yourself, you will not be the same person in college that you were in high school. There’s something about being completely independent that will change your entire character. And if your character changes, odds are your interests and goals will change with you. So the fact that three out of four students will change their major is not shocking.

UNC offers majors you probably haven’t even heard of. Asian Studies, Classic Archeology, Public Policy, Sociology, you name it! While these may not grab your attention immediately, have you ever really given it a chance? There are so many interesting subjects at university that your high school probably didn’t offer. Here at UNC, you are encouraged to step out of your comfort zone in course planning, you just may find a passion in a field you didn’t know existed!

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Gen. Eds.

In order to produce well-rounded students, there is a set of General Education Requirements all students must fulfill before graduation. These will probably occupy most of your schedule freshman year, meaning you won’t be wasting your time taking random classes if you haven’t decided on a major. You will be taking classes everyone has to take to complete their degree!

Most students will not be taking more than one or two major courses their first semester. So you’re not going to be behind when you come to a decision. In fact, you’ll be ahead of all those people who started their major curriculum and decided it wasn’t the path for them. Being undecided is a completely normal thing and will not by any means set you back on that projected graduation date.

You’re Not Stuck.

While you are encouraged to declare a major before February of sophomore year, you can change your major up until second semester senior year (as long as you can complete the requirements before graduation). There is no ticking clock forcing you to make a decision. You have the freedom to decide whether or not a path is right for you on your own terms.

This also gives you the opportunity to explore your options and fall in love with your major. While you may not be completely set on what you want to do after college when you first declare your major, taking specialized upper level classes will iron this out for you. And if it doesn’t, you can always make a change!

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Advising is Here to Help.

While those “tell us about your pizza preferences and we’ll determine your major” quizzes are fun and all, you don’t have to rely on those to make such a huge life decision for you. In fact, UNC has an awesome team of advisors that are here to guide you in the right direction. They also offer tons of resources that you can look at without leaving your bed here!

 

Still unsure? It’s okay, you don’t have to take my word for it. You’ll see for yourself once you get on campus and find your niche. Don’t stress, you’ll for sure fall in love with UNC and all it has to offer in no time, and with that your major will come to you!

 

[1] https://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/06/disconnect-choosing-major/

How to Survive Finals Week!

Finals week can be an incredibly overwhelming end to the semester as your classes cram all the material you have learned into one test. In addition to studying, a lot, there are numerous ways for you to ensure your finals week goes by as smoothly as possible! Below are some tips that have gotten me through my finals during my two years at UNC!

1. Take Care of Chores Beforehand

During finals week, your brain is often working at maximum capacity, possibly storing analytical chemistry knowledge one day, and medieval Europe material the next. Because of the frantic schedule of finals week, it helps if you can eliminate chores beforehand. For example, buying final exam materials, such as blue books (used for writing exams), or scantrons beforehand can ensure that you do not forget them the day of the exam! Additionally, doing your laundry before finals week helps free up your schedule so you will not have to worry about clothes while studying. By doing chores beforehand, you maximize time for what truly matters during finals week : sleep, food, and studying!

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2. Take Advantage of Residence Hall Study Lounges!

Students tend to gravitate towards the libraries on campus such as Wilson, Davis, or the Undergraduate Library during finals week. Because most students are planning to study at the libraries, they can often become very crowded and hard to find seats in. For this reason, the study lounges that come with every residence hall can be an excellent resource for studying without the packed atmosphere! Personally, I enjoyed using the study lounges in Horton during finals week because it was so close to my room as opposed to the North Campus libraries (Wilson, Davis, and the Undergraduate Library)!

Pictured : Craige North Residence Hall Study Lounge

3. Exercise is Your Friend!

For many students during finals week, exercise is the first thing to be sacrificed in exchange for study time. However, exercising can be a worthwhile study break that relieves stress which is effective in improving your mentality and preventing the potential onset of stress-induced acne. Also, exercising with a friend can be used as a much needed break to be social and remind yourself that finals week can be more than confining yourself to the company of only books and study guides!

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4. Don’t Forget to Eat!

While putting in long hours of studying for exams it’s easy to simply “work through meals.”  However, by forgetting to eat three meals a day, you can be lowering your overall energy levels which can negatively affect studying and test performance. Additionally, it’s vital to eat a well-rounded meal to ensure you are fueling your body for success. For example, fresh fruit can be used as a much needed sugar boost while eggs can be an excellent source of protein!

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5. Make Time for Sleep!

One of the worst aspects of finals week is the dreaded all-night study sessions that result in eye bags and drained energy. Often times, all-night study sessions can be replaced with waking up early, and studying efficiently throughout the day. Also, by reaching around 7-8 hours of sleep a night, you will be able to approach your final exam with fresh eyes and a rested mind. Personally, after performing an all-night study session, I have found myself making small mistakes that simply result from a lack of sleep.

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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!