Category Archives: New Students

Random Roomie Fears

If you’re active on the UNC 2022 social media pages, you’ve probably seen tons of your classmates meeting their new roomies and forming bonds and friendships. But you went random and you still haven’t talked to the person you’ll be sharing a room with for the next nine months – eek! Fear not, I’m here to tell you it’s going to be okay, and share an awesome story of two girls who were in your exact shoes this time two years ago.

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My Opinion

Okay so here’s my (maybe unpopular) opinion: picking a roomie beforehand doesn’t really affect anything. Yeah, it may ease your mind in the moments leading up to move-in, but once you get to college you’re all on a level playing field.

When you pick a roommate, whether you do it through Facebook, the housing portal, someone you personally knew, etc., you were still in high school. No matter how much you fight it – college changes you. I’m not saying you’ll have a major personality crisis but you’ll definitely grow up a lot.

The best way I know how to put it is this: if my college self met my high school self, we wouldn’t be friends. I have different routines, hobbies and interests – it just wouldn’t work.

So choosing a roommate before you know how you’ll behave in college is nearly impossible. And for a lot of people, they don’t end up besties. But in most cases, they don’t hate each other either. All the stories you’ve heard about bad roommate cases are rare, extreme situations.

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Going Random

I personally didn’t go random, and if I did it all over again I don’t know if you could have convinced my high-school self to do it. Living with someone sounds like a big commitment and hating where you live sounds like a terrible experience, but like I said, that probably won’t happen.

If you really think about it, you share a lot of qualities with all of your classmates. You’re all coming to college for the same reason – to find your destiny, academically, athletically, or however it may be. You’re all hoping to push yourself to become the very best versions of yourselves in the next four years before you step out into the world all alone. You’re all nervous (whether or not you will admit it) to start this journey – it’s a big step and it’s totally normal to be nervous!

Who really cares whether you rush a sorority/fraternity, join a certain genre of club, practice a religion, are undecided or have picked your double major and minor, the list goes on… College is all about diversity, and I’ve found the most interesting conversations in the people the least like me, those are the kinds of people you can really learn something from.

Yes, sleeping schedules are important, maybe you can’t sleep with the light on and your roommate wants to study six hours later into the night than you do. But we’re all human. Start things off the right way, communication is key. Have an open conversation with your roommate and I’m sure they’d be happy to accommodate you as long as you’re willing to accommodate them. That means maybe they study in the study lounge at nights and you quietly get ready for class in the bathroom while they’re still snoozing in the mornings.

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Meet Kate and Sarah

These two gals are two of my best friends. They’re two of the only people I know that went random, and also two of the only people I know that had minimal roommate drama. They both had their own friend groups and didn’t have to do everything together, but also genuinely got along together so well!

While Sarah studied for her hard-core math classes, Kate fell in love with ancient paintings in art history. They didn’t take the same classes or even go to bed at the same time for that matter, but as roommates they worked.

“I went random because I didn’t know anyone at UNC, and it turned out to be my greatest first-year experience” Kate said. “We’re so different that we might never have met if we hadn’t been paired and I’m SO glad we did.”

It’s the differences that brought them together, leading them to tons of late night life convos (that I 100% crashed probably too often). They didn’t spend every waking minute together but they made tons of memories in suite 208.

It’s cool to note that out of our HoJo suite, they are the only room that went random and the only pair that stayed together the following year!

 

Go random, don’t – it’s honestly all the same. Your roommate situation is what you make of it. Go in with an open mind and communicate often, you’ll be okay and I promise your freshman roommate does not define your college experience unless you let it!

South Campus Commute

UNC First-years and South Campus make up an iconic duo matched by few. While living on South Campus may have it’s pros and cons, there’s one thing that’s for sure – if you’re going to live on South Campus, you better put on your walking shoes. As a Hojo vet, I’m here to give you all the inside deets on your future commute to class.

The Facts

Okay, so your room isn’t exactly located right next to your classes, but chances are your house wasn’t any closer to high school. Depending on where you’re going and how fast you walk, it will probably take somewhere between 12 – 20 minutes to get to class (you’ll learn your own art of slimming it down as much as possible so you can get those extra seconds of sleep before your 8am). You can get to any Franklin Street essential in under half an hour by foot – and that’s a pretty generous number, it shouldn’t take you that long.

Franklin Street is the most northern part of our campus, everywhere you need to go should be somewhere between the Dean Dome and Franklin Street. That’s less than a two-mile span. So while it may seem like we have a dauntingly huge campus, you’ll get used to it super quickly and it will seem like nothing in no time!

The Tactics

Personally, I loved getting my steps in and making the hike to class every morning – but it’s not for every one or every day. Just like you weren’t forced to walk to school in high school, you certainly aren’t forced to walk to class in college!

The Bus 

The Chapel Hill Transit is a resource that is FREE to all Chapel Hill residents and it will be your best friend, especially on a rainy day. There are a lot of buses and it seems scary at first but we’ve all been there, clutching our suitemates on our first bus ride, unsure if we would be getting off on Mid-Campus or Mid-Raleigh. Fear not, because most of the buses you don’t pay for don’t leave the Chapel Hill-Carborro area, so worst comes to worst you’ll be back at your original stop within an hour.

The only buses you need to know about immediately are the U and the RU and they both make a big circle around our campus in opposite directions. The P2P is like the night owl version of these, operating from 7pm to 4am to satisfy whatever late-night adventure you’ll be going on. Download Transit (includes the P2P) or NextBus (a little more user-friendly in my opinion) and you’ll be set! You can even follow your location on the app while on the bus so you know exactly when to get off. When it’s time to get off the U or RU, pull down the yellow cord to ‘request a stop’.

Fore even more about buses, read this!

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Bike

Whether you bring your own bike to campus or not, you can bike to class! Yep, you read that right. Thanks to the handy dandy Tar Heel Bikes, you can find a bike rack near you, bike to your class, and then drop it off at a rack near your destination.

Warning: UNC is notorious for its uneven bricks. Which, as you can imagine, doesn’t mix particularly well with two-wheeled vehicles. But that really doesn’t stop the large portion of the population that loves to bike around campus. In my opinion, this method requires a lot of skill and talent that I just don’t have – but hey, it’s an option!

Trying to decide whether you need to bring your own bike to campus? Read this!

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Make a Friend

If you make the same commute every day at the same time, chances are you’ll start recognizing the faces of the people around you. Make friends with them – it makes the walk go by way faster!

If you’re in a primarily freshman class, ask a classmate if it’s their first class of the day. If it is and if they’re also coming from South Campus, this can be a super helpful way to get a study session in without noticing it. Okay, I realize how nerdy that may sound, but seriously, sometimes you don’t have time to meet-up outside of class to discuss things you’re confused about and it can be incredibly helpful to have someone catch you up on classes you may have missed.

Another reason to make a friend for the commute? You’ll have someone to check on you during those inevitable ‘one or two’ mornings you oversleep. Maybe that “you coming?” text won’t pull you out of your deep slumber, but it’s better than nothing.

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Stay On-Campus

Don’t go home multiple times during the day if you don’t need to. Stay on-campus during breaks between classes, or the time between classes and evening extra curriculars. There are a billion locations calling your name to be your home for the next hours, let them! The union, one of the many libraries, the quad on a sunny day – you name it!

Not only does this save time and energy, it also allows you to crush procrastination. You’ll be more focused to get work done when you don’t have your cozy bed enticing you to climb in and watch Netflix. Or maybe you give up and take a nap in the UL, it happens to the best of us.

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The Pros 

  1. The Dean Dome – South Campus is home to my personal favorite on-campus location, the glorious Dean Smith Center. That means you can get there 20 minutes earlier than your upperclassmen friends to snag that front row spot on the risers!
  2. STEPS! – With the hike to class, you’ll hit 10,000 steps in no time. Who needs a gym when you’ve got your commute to burn your cals!
  3. Next year, you can’t get further from classes – Excluding the B-school, there’s literally no dorm further from your classes than those on South Campus. So if you stay on-campus, the commute will never get any longer. Even if you’re in Morrison which is just up the hill, you’ll save a solid five minutes not having to wait for that pesky intersection.
  4. Meeting people – as described above, this is a great way to meet up with people outside of classes. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your future bridesmaid on your walk to class!
  5. Free daily tour of the campus – UNC is a beautiful campus, so consider yourself #blessed to get to see the scenes on your walk to class!

 

South Campus is a super fun community filled with eager freshman, which totally makes the commute worth it! I have so many incredibly memories associated with South Campus and I know all of you will love it just as much as I did!

Week of Welcome: The Rundown

We know you’re super excited to be on campus. For #UNC22, welcome! For all our upperclassmen, welcome back! The first week of the semester is easily one of the best times of the year. Most classes involve just going over the syllabus, you’re reuniting with friends you haven’t seen since May, and most of all, all the Week of Welcome activities are happening! The Week of Welcome (aka WOW)  is an event put on by the New Students and Family Program. This week is meant for students to adjust to life at Carolina, as well as experiencing everything Carolina has to offer. Here are a few of my favorite WOW activities:

Arguably the best benefit from the week- all the free food. If there’s one thing I learned my freshman year, it’s that meal swipes are VERY valuable at the end of the semester so saving any swipes you can is the way to go. Throughout WOW, you can find food in almost every corner of campus. My first year, my roommate and I challenged ourselves to find a free dinner every night! UNC is blooming with diversity, and with that comes different religious groups. I’m not saying you need to convert or anything, but each religious group on campus traditionally hosts a dinner to welcome new students. You don’t need to have the same beliefs, just an open mind and a desire to meet new people! Another way to go is to follow the #phreephood accounts. The twitter and Facebook page updates regularly with where you can find your latest snack. My one suggestion is to get there early, trust me you’re not the only Tar Heel that will be thinking the same thing. Last year I went to Chipotle with the Chancellor. By the time I got to the front of the line they didn’t even have plates left :/

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But Carolina is all about balance, so to offset all that free food, make sure to join one of the Campus Rec sponsored activities. They’ll have sessions in everything from pilates to zumba, so grab a friend and go to the SRC! You don’t think the freshman 15 is real until you’re sick at Campus Health and they weigh you and you’ve somehow gained 25 pounds. Not saying I’m speaking from experience or anything.. Yikes. Anyway, make sure you pick up healthy habits from the start. Make your roommate your workout buddy so you can keep each other in check. The buddy system didn’t fail you in kindergarten, and it won’t fail you now.

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Who says academics have to be boring? The UNC Libraries sponsor fun events such as button making and mini golf. What better way to make fun memories inside the UL than with putt putt? At least when it’s midterm szn and you’re pulling an all-nighter, you’ll be able to look across the room and remember the simpler times when all you had to worry about was getting a hole in one. As far as the buttons go, every UNC student has a north face, so make sure you add buttons to your backpack to stop it from getting lost in the crowd! Also new this year are all the makerspace activities! If you haven’t already stopped by, check out the BEAMakerspaces. You can do anything from 3-D print to cutting out your own stickers, so it’s definitely worth making time for. Aside from that, many academic departments host informational events (again with free food) to help those who still aren’t clear on what they want to study at Carolina. You’d be surprised at all the cool majors this school offers.

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Those are just a few highlights of the week, but if you want to see a schedule for all the events, check out the guidebook from NSFP!

First Year Tips: The Learning Center!

As we make our way back onto campus this fall, it’s important to remember some of the awesome resources available to us when classes start again! My first blog post in this series was about Academic Advising, and can be located here.

I also thought it was important to highlight the Learning Center here at UNC! According to their website,

“Students enter the Learning Center when they want to improve their academic skills and/or grades, get better at managing time, have questions about learning disabilities or ADHD, want to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and more.”

The rest of this post will highlight some of the services provided by the Learning Center, and I’ll probably mention my experience with these services as well!

Test Prep Resources

Looking to go to medical, dental, law, pharmacy, or one of the many other professional schools that are so popular for UNC students? Guess what that means? More standardized testing!

Thankfully, the Learning Center has a ton of resources to make sure you’re prepared. They offer free practice tests online and strategy sessions for each of the major exams. Additionally, they offer test prep classes through a partnership with the Princeton Review, so you can get some face-to-face help as well!

Peer Tutoring

Let’s be honest–the classes at UNC can get pretty hard sometimes. Whenever I’m struggling in a class (probably math), I like to go get help from the Peer Tutoring Center! They offer services in “150+ of the most popular classes at UNC,” so chances are they’ll be able to help you.

I sometimes prefer to go see a Peer Tutor rather than go to my professor’s office hours, simply because they’re super approachable and were just in your shoes a couple years ago. They truly understand what it’s like to be a UNC student, so they can advise you on the best ways to study, among other things.

Study Groups

If a one-on-one tutoring session is not your style, you could probably benefit from one of the Learning Center’s study groups! They offer these in many popular, larger undergrad classes, like General Chemistry & Biology, as well as Calculus.

I used to attend their Bio Cell study group for BIOL 101, and it was really nice to see some of my fellow classmates there & talk through the content with them.

Academic Coaching Sessions

You know those days where you just feel like you can’t retain any information, no matter how hard you try? Same.

This past semester, during finals season, I went to a study tools workshop through the Learning Center, where they taught me to analyze my study habits and work to maximize my time. They also offer one-on-one sessions like this with an academic coach, where you can talk about goal-setting, time management, sleep schedules, and really anything you’d like to. Check it out!

The Learning Center obviously provides a ton of FREE, awesome resources to students, so you should definitely check it out. They’re located in SASB North, right next to the Housing office (come say hi!). Additionally, they have drop-in tutoring in Dey Hall and certain appointments out of Greenlaw.

Let us know what other cool resources on campus you’d like to hear about, and we’ll get back to you. Good luck, Tar Heels!

So You Want to Go to a Basketball Game…

Being a student at UNC has a lot of perks – endless career-advancing opportunities, a community of outstanding faculty, and of course, complimentary tickets to athletic events. Yep, the rumors are true, you can get into any home regular-season game of any Carolina sporting event with just your OneCard… except basketball. While basketball tickets are still free for students, they are a little harder to finesse than other sports, given that these tickets are highly coveted by many Tar Heel fans across the globe. But I’m here to break it down for you so you never miss a game in the Dean Dome again!

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The Lottery  

Pre-season games are typically fair game for students, no lottery or ticket required! Just show up with your OneCard and you’ll be good to go. Conference games are a little trickier. Early in the year, students will receive an email with a list (example pictured right) identifying lottery and non-lottery games, along with dates the lottery opens and closes. The lottery is entered through an online website, and then students are randomly selected to receive tickets. Odds of ‘winning’ the lottery and receiving tickets vary by game and number of students requesting tickets.

On the designated date, students will receive an email either containing their tickets or notifying them that they have not been selected. Winners receive two tickets to every game except the Dook game, so you can take a friend! Tickets are allocated in ‘phases’ which decide what time you can enter the arena. Phase One means you can get in the earliest (typically 90 minutes before tip), giving you the best seat selection.

Risers are first come first-serve, but from my experience you should have Phase One tickets and arrive one to two hours before your entry time to line up for to ensure you get a good spot in the risers (this is highly dependent on the game and time of the game, however).

The Turn-It-Back Line

If you don’t get tickets from the lottery, don’t let that discourage you from attending. The Carolina Athletic Association distributes all excess tickets in-person through the Turn-It-Back Line. This occurs a few days before the game, but specific details frequently change, so for more information, refer to your lottery rejection email!

The Stand-By Line

If all else fails, turn to the Stand-By Line. At tip-off, any unused student ticket will be redistributed to students in the stand-by line. While you won’t get a front row seat, you still get the game-day atmosphere within the Dean Dome, and it’s still tons of fun! I’ve found this line to be highly successful (especially for the Dook game where the redistribute all tickets, not just student tickets), so it’s definitely worth a shot.

Carolina Fever

Fever is a student organization for the highly dedicated fans. Essentially you get points for attending athletic events such as football, soccer, lacrosse, etc. and during basketball season the top 150 students with the most points are guaranteed two phase one tickets to every game, as well as one phase one ticket to the Dook game. In order to get full points, you must swipe-in and out of games with your OneCard (no, you can’t get away with swiping in and leaving five minutes later).

While this is a pretty high commitment, in my opinion it is completely worth it! It boosts comradery for the other sports and gives you incredible perks (no more stressing about the lottery!). You’ll meet some amazing people just as passionate as Carolina athletics as you are and you’ll have the opportunity to be on the risers in the Dean Dome for a Dook game (which is an incredibly big deal and honestly was one of the highlights of my college career thus far).

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Pro-Tips

So now you know how basketball tickets work, here’s my insight on how to use the system to your advantage:

  1. Follow @unccaa, @UNCStudentTix, and @CarolinaFever on Twitter. These accounts are all super helpful in reminding you to enter the lottery, keeping you updated on all things Carolina, and giving you all the resources to get you in the game.
  2. Write the lottery dates in your calendar, make a poster, or set up alerts on your phone. Forgetting to enter the lottery is the absolute worst, so be proactive and make sure it doesn’t happen!
  3. Work out a ‘you take me when you win and I’ll take you when I win’ deal with a friend giving you a better shot at getting tickets. (note that this one can become sticky and cause drama with other friends so be careful how you go about it!)
  4. Don’t buy or sell student tickets. It’s a violation of the Honor Code and could jeopardize your ability to receive tickets in the future!
  5. Don’t not go to games if you receive tickets. There is a way to turn back your tickets if something comes up leaving you unable to attend, use it. Otherwise you get penalized in future lotteries, slimming your chances of winning.
  6. Arrive at the Dean Dome with friends you want to sit with. You need to have the same phase, otherwise you won’t be able to sit together (unless the person with the better phase is willing to sacrifice and go in later). There is a strict no seat-saving policy and seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.
  7. Don’t give up when you don’t get tickets – exhaust all options. If you are persistent enough, I promise you can get into (almost) any game you want, including the Dook game!

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Basketball games are one of my favorite parts of being a student. This opportunity of not having to pay for tickets is something you have to take advantage of while you have it! Only 103 days until the first home game… Go Heels!!!

Meet the Rivals

“Rival (noun) – a group that competes for superiority due to jealousy or bitterness despite the fact that Carolina is the University of National Champions, and no one will ever top that title. – dictionary.com” – Kalina MacKay

Let’s get one thing straight… The UNC-Dook rivalry is THE best rivalry in college basketball. However, those pesky gothic devils aren’t the only ones that UNC has beef with. Being the top-notch university across the board has its perks, but it also comes with many haters. Here’s your inside guide to all the schools that we love to hate:

Dook

Okay, obviously this is a big one. Being only eight miles down Tobacco Road, we run into these guys a lot. And they’re the absolute worst. I’m not going to go into a lot of depth here because I’m sure you all know lots about this rivalry, but if you don’t: here are some resources to study up. Hating dook is a rite of passage here at UNC, if you don’t… “you can’t sit with us”.

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Hating Dook 
  2. The History Behind the Hatred 
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We know… it’s hard being a Dookie… he’ll come to the good side one day 🙂

Maryland

Before the Blue Devils there was the dreaded Terps (honestly #blessed that our mascot isn’t a terrapin, how unfortunate). This rivalry began in 1954, when the Heels used to play men’s basketball in Carmichael arena. While I can’t say I ever personally witnessed this rivalry, it existed when Maryland was one of the most competitive teams in our conference. Upon leaving the ACC in 2014, we began to forget about the Terps. However, women’s lacrosse still has major competition with this school, as they often face each other towards the end of post-season.

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Is this real???????

Villanova 

Ha… the ultimate source of heartbreak and tragedy are the Villanova Wildcats. Let’s set the scene. April 4th, 2016, the National Championship game. Looking like an impossible victory for the Heels, there was 14 seconds left and we were down by three. Through some form of twisted miracle, Marcus Paige made the craziest three-point shot that probably would have never gone in without the pressures of this being a national title game. So now there is four seconds left in the game and the Heels are thinking there’s no way the game doesn’t go into over time… right? Wrong.

Villanova answers back with an immediate, buzzer-beating three silencing all Heels across the nation, and cuing immediate yellow and white confetti. The title was dangled in front of our face and then immediately ripped away.

Lucky for us we came back with the best redemption story of all time in the 2017 tournament, but that doesn’t void the fact that this game sucked…

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Marcus’s miracle shot, may or may not have cried while reliving the horrible mems to get deets straight for this post.

Miami

So this one totally comes from a place of personal hatred, and the average Tar Heel probably wouldn’t consider the University of Miami our rivals at all – but I’m bitter so I’m going to share. It was February 27th, 2018, Joel Berry and Theo Pinson’s last game as students in the Dean Dome. While Miami has a decent team, being senior night and going into the NCAA tournament, we should have beaten them with no problem.

As you probably assumed, this wasn’t the case. Now maybe I’m a sore loser, but it was the worst possible way to lose – you guessed it, a buzzer beater. A very ‘Nova-esque situation: it looked like we were going to take a defeat, but our hero Joel Berry hit the perfect 3-pointer with only five seconds left in the game that tied it up. Thinking we were going into overtime the crowd went nuts – and an instant later, total silence. It was over, they somehow managed to answer with a 3-pointer in under 5 seconds.

The saddest thing about this game was afterwards Joel and Theo gave their traditional senior speeches. And they were SO disappointed that they ‘fell short’ for us. Those words really hit home – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the student section. (luv you 5ever Joel & Theo)

The next day some Miami fan had the audacity to make a geofilter for the UNC region about a “hurricane warning”… Soooo yeah Miami isn’t technically a rival, but I really hate them.

How freaking rude!

NC State

Ugh. This is a very one-sided rivalry (hence why it’s last on this list), but you need to be prepared because you’ll definitely run into it. I think from State’s perspective, they hate us as much as we hate dook. Which I’ll honestly never understand, but that’s the way it is.

The Wolfpack is a very… passionate… group of people, and they are very outward about their spirit. They really, really hate Carolina, and love expressing this hatred. The best way I know how to describe this relationship is that State is like our annoying little brother that’s always trying to start something. So people will often call our matches ‘rival games’, which may be the case on their end, but for us – we know that Dook is the real target.

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I think this pic really encompasses State fans so pls enjoy!

 

The energy around ‘Beat Dook Week’ on campus is this indescribable feeling that none of these other schools on this list can match. But it’s okay to have some hard feelings towards other universities who have done us wrong. Being a Tar Heel means being the good against a lot of evil…

First Year Tips: Academic Advising!

We’re so excited to welcome the Class of 2022 onto our campus in just a couple of weeks! Your first year can definitely be an overwhelming one, with so many opportunities being thrown your way. (Just wait until you get to Fall Fest!)

With that being said, we want to provide our future classmates with as much help as we can before they arrive on campus! This blog post will begin a series of posts that highlight some awesome resources in and around campus. If there’s something you want to hear more about, leave us a comment or DM us on one of our social media accounts!

What is Academic Advising?

Academic Advising provides assistance and guidance to students from orientation to graduation as they make their way through the College of Arts & Sciences. Their mission is “to create a supportive environment in which we partner with undergraduates as they explore goals, develop educational plans, and thrive at Carolina.”

This information, along with more explicit details, can be found on their super helpful website! The following sections will point out a number of ways that advising has helped me–and how they can help you too!

Course Registration

At this point, the vast majority of our future Tar Heels have already made it through Orientation, so you’ve got a decent understanding of how registration works. If this process still baffles you, your advisor can show you exactly how it works!

In the future, advising can help you decide what classes you should register for, to ensure that you graduate on time, but also that you’re not overwhelming yourself with too rigorous of a schedule!

Deciding on a Major/Minor

Some of you may be undecided on  your major, and that is totally okay! Your first year is a great way to explore different majors and minors, while fulfilling some courses for your gen-ed requirements.

I was completely undecided on a major until recently, so my advisor provided me with a career interest survey, where I answered a TON of questions, then got some feedback about what careers & majors might suit me best!

Finding Cool Opportunities

Once you get to know your advisor, they always have your best interest in mind! I have met with my advisor several times throughout the year; he knows what my career goals are, so he’ll often point out different internships or other opportunities in the area that I could take advantage of. Advising is your friend!

…And Many, Many More!

You’re required to meet with an academic advisor in the fall of your first semester, but don’t think of it as an obligation. Get to know your advisor, schedule many appointments, and take advantage of this awesome resource! Their job is to make sure that you are totally satisfied with your time at UNC, so check out their office. Advising can be found in the Steele Building or the Hardin Hub on South Campus. Good luck, Tar Heels!

Places to go when your parents come to visit

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

Wilson Library

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

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Wilson Library; Photo Courtesy UNC Medical School

The Carolina Basketball Museum

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

Carolina Basketball Museum

Morehead Planetarium

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

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

Ackland Art Museum

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

Ackland Art Museum; Courtesy Ackland Art Museum

Coker Arboretum

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

Coker Arboretum; Photo Courtesy UNC Garden Club

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

 

UNC Campus Celebs

Carolina is full of personality to say the least. With that, there are tons of notable figures on campus that our students both worship and love to hate. We love our super successful alumni, but this one is for all the current Heels… Here’s the ultimate breakdown of all the current UNC celebs!

Carol Folt

Of course, the first celebrity I had to mention is our beloved chancellor – Carol Folt. Always dressed to the nines (probably in some form of Carolina blue), Carol is the true QUEEN of UNC. She loves our school and it’s students, and can be found supporting them at various events throughout the year, so stay alert because you never know where you’ll see her! Also, if you see her – you HAVE to ask for a selfie, she loves taking them, and it’s #81 on UNC’s bucket list!

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Roy Williams

Easily my fav celeb on this list is THE Roy Williams. He’s only the coach of the greatest college basketball program of all time (Bias? Maybe a little, but that doesn’t make it not true…). Let’s just take a minute to acknowledge this man’s coaching accomplishments.

  1. Over 800 career wins
  2. 17-time regular season conference champion titles
  3. 7-time tournament conference champion titles
  4. 9 Final Fours
  5. 3 National Championships [1]

I have nothing else to say other than this Roy is an angel in human form and we LOVE him!

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Any Basketball Player

Along those same lines, any player on the UNC basketball team is regarded as a celebrity on campus. They walk around like skyscrapers in a crowd, which makes them pretty easy to spot. I’m sure when they walk around campus they constantly hear “omg, there’s Luke Maye/Kenny Williams/Cam Johnson/etc.”, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t alert whoever you’re walking with – it’s the friendly thing to do, right?

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After Luke Maye saved the day keeping us alive in the 2017 Elite Eight game vs Kentucky, he showed up bright and early to his BUSI 101 8am lecture!

Gary the Pit Preacher

Gary is a man that sits in the pit or the corner of the Quad and screams very radical religious statements at innocent passerby’s. Regardless of your religious beliefs, its very amusing to sit and listen to his claims and watch people’s reactions. Gary has become such a part of UNC culture that students have dressed up as him for Halloween!

Rumor has it that Gary has retired/is retiring soon, and many new pit preachers are surfacing to fill his shoes. But no one will ever replace Gary the original.

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Quad Whistler

I’m not really sure if this counts as a notable figure since most wouldn’t recognize him in person, but one thing is for sure – we’ve all heard that whistle. He strolls through McCorkle Place so often that you may think there’s an automated whistling sound track running over some loud speakers in the quad.

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The face behind the voice, courtesy of DTH!

Joann Traffic Guard

As you cross the streets of UNC, you’ll often be greeted by traffic guards making sure you make it safely to the other side. Joann is one of these people, but she’s incredibly special to the Carolina community. She will always respond to your “thank you”, and always has a smile on her face – through rain or shine. Students are such a big fan of this hero that a GoFundMe page was started to fund Joann’s travels to Arizona to visit her son. This fundraiser raised over $7700 – 11 times it’s original goal of $700!

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Joann receiving her funds, photo courtesy of DTH.

Dan Reichart

It seems fitting to end with another beloved, but less-known UNC hero. Before November of 2017, Dan Reichart was just a Physics and Astronomy Professor. But when there was an attempted bombing of the Davie Poplar tree, Reichart literally jumped in the fire to save the day. Surviving with second degree burns, the fire exploded on the professor as he was trying to extinguish it. We’re so thankful for Reichart’s actions in saving the momentous Carolina tree!

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Reichart trying to put out the Davie Poplar fire

 

If I missed your favorite current UNC figure, let me know in the comments! And if you see any of these guys around campus this year, be sure to ask for a selfie 😊

[1] https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/coaches/roy-williams-1.html