Category Archives: Lists

$aving For Success

Saving Money 101 for the folks who need it

As college students, money is constantly on our minds. We have the freedom and responsibilities of an adult, yet we don’t have the steady income adults haveThat’s why it’s important that every dollar that comes our way is spent wisely!

Here are some habits you can pick up now that will add up in savings:

Make The Little Things Count

Remember those loose quarters on your table that are just collecting dust? Well this tip will put them to good use! Create a jar with a specific goal written on the top. Put all of your loose change inside of the jar, and you’ll be surprised by how much it can add up to. Save for something meaningful, and you will be more encouraged to see your jar fill up.

Turn these into a trip to Europe!


Start a Side Hustle

Now, I know this option may not be for everyone. If you’re not sure that you can balance between a job and school, remember that doing better in school now will have an exponentially higher payout in the long run over a small job that ruins your grades.

But for those who have the time, having a side hustle can be a great asset. There are places on campus, like Student Stores, that are always hiring. On campus jobs are also a great way to meet friends! If having a stereotypical job doesn’t sound appealing to you, there are plenty of opportunities to make money anywhere- even from your bed. Skills like a second language are always in demand, and always need tutors. Sometimes a quick search on Google is all you need to finding your way into some extra cash.

Pro tip: Make sure the job is legitimate before you take it.


Nowadays, budgeting is way easier than saving a bunch of old receipts. There are a ton of different apps available to help you, whether you want to see where your paycheck is going or if you have a specific budget goal. If apps aren’t really your thing, a reliable excel spreadsheet will do just fine. In my budgeting experience, the effort alone has made me realize just how valuable every dollar is.


Sometimes the best deals aren’t found on the internet. Chapel Hill caters to college students, so be on the lookout for places that give student discounts. There are a lot of events held on campus that give out free food and swag, so be sure to check out those places too. If you need transportation, the transit system in Chapel Hill is arguably the best in North Carolina- and is way cheaper than taking an Uber.

Use your resources, because good deals are all around you!

Whether you’re returning to UNC or starting your first year, learning how to effectively save money will help you through any financial difficulties that may come your way. It pays to be financially smart!

To Meal Plan or Not to Meal Plan…THAT is the question!

Pros and Cons for the Biggest Decision of Your Life

College comes with so many responsibilities. Registering for classes, picking out textbooks, bus routes…it’s overwhelming! But let’s cut to the chase. We know what’s really on everyone’s mind. Say it with me: FOOD!!

Your source of food should be your number one priority (after housing of course). Deciding whether or not to get a meal plan may seem like an easy choice, but there are actually many factors to consider. Lucky for all of you, I am going to list out some pros and cons so you can ultimately make the best decision for you and your late night munchies.

Meal Plan


  1. Convenient as Heck

    If we’re being honest, getting a meal plan is the most convenient choice. You don’t have to worry about cooking or where to go: If you’re in a hurry you can just drop in and eat from the variety of choices CDS has cooked up for you in Lenoir or Chase Dining Hall. Not to mention Lenoir is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the academic buildings. Not feeling the dining hall? Some meal plans even offer FLEX which you can use for meals from the bottom of Lenoir that include Chik-Fil-A, Subway, and other goodies. BLESS.

  2. Friend Hack

    Forget the frat. Dining halls is where it’s at. This is the place to be with your friends.  I’m not even joking. Almost half the school eats in the dining halls, so you are bound to meet some pretty cool peeps and make those long lasting friendships. Sit down, grab a burrito, and bond over your love of food!

  3. Theme Nights

    Chase Dining Hall is notorious for throwing some mad bashes and theme nights with extra special food. Yes, chocolate fountain, I’m looking at you. These are exclusive to students with meal plans, so if you don’t have one, sorry not sorry, but that means more for me!

  4. All You Can Eat

    Meal plans are especially good for you kids who have insatiable hunger. One meal swipe can get you all the food you want: pizza, noodles, salads, dessert, etc. CDS even offers the unlimited block plan which means you can swipe in however many times your little heart desires!


  1. Empty pockets?

    Depending on your situation, meal plans can be a little expensive, especially if you have really specific dietary restrictions. (CDS does always offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options as well other things, but it is does mean you have less to choose from.)

  2. Surplus Meals

    Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we can severely overestimate what block plan we need. At the end of the semester, you can be sure you’ll find students going to Facebook offering to swipe people in with their left over swipes. If you get a meal plan, make sure to commit to it because we don’t get roll-over meals!

  3. Not available? Out of luck!

    Dining Halls are only open at scheduled times. Not only does this mean it is always crowded during regular dining hours (which means long lines!), but it also means that if you have a class during that time, you might not get to go eat until later. However, CDS does offer reusable take out containers if you have time for a quick stop-by!

  4. Freshman 15

    I will say, an all you can eat buffet everyday tends to add some pounds. Not a big deal if you don’t mind, but if you’re looking to avoid extra weight, it’s going to be a little hard to resist the Rams Head Cookies.

No Meal Plan


  1. Learn to Cook

    There are plenty of kitchens in every residence hall so impress your shawty with your “adulting” skills. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Make it Rain

    By only spending as much as you eat, you might have some leftover change to treat yo’self. Franklin Street has some great options! If nothing else, it will teach you valuable budgeting skills.

  3. Eat When You Want

    Without dining hall hours holding you back, you can eat when you want as long as you have the materials.


  1. Mac, Ramen, and Chips . . . OH MY!

    Without a meal plan, it’s easy to rely on microwaveables like ramen that are not particularly good for you. If you can’t commit to cooking healthy, you’re probably better off with a meal plan.

  2. Where is Harris Teeter?

    Shopping for groceries can be a pain if you don’t have a car. The only nearby stores are CVS and Walgreen’s and they’re not exactly known for their fresh veggies. You can always get to Harris Teeter by a few buses, but sometimes it’s just easier to go into a dining hall if you don’t have the time.

  3. Missing Out

    Like I mentioned before, dining halls have a lot of people. By choosing not to get a meal plan, you’re making it just *that* much harder to find your family in the big sea of people that is UNC.

Both options have their merit. Consider each situation. If you can put in the effort, not having a meal plan can be rewarding, especially when you wow your friends with your chef skills. However, if you’re not an ace in the kitchen and don’t have time for that ish, stick with a meal plan.

Pro Tip: CDS offers the option for a trial period. Gauge yourself out. If you decide that it’s for you, go for the meal plan. If not, you can always change your mind! Your tummy will thank you. 🙂

Check it out @

Home Sweet Home?

They say college is a new beginning. Where you’re finally free to live a life away from your parents and play it by your own rules.

But after about a month or two you start missing those home cooked meals, the soft hum of the downstairs TV playing Monday night football as you fall asleep and free laundry.

Trust me, I’m tearing up as I type.

But lucky you, here are 10 things to make your dorm feel more like home sweet home.


  1. Area Rug

The first thing you need to cop is an area rug. Trust me, this will transform the feng shui of your room just like that (snaps fingers). And plus, if you have a lofted bed and aren’t lucky enough to afford a futon, a rug is a great in-between.

So, grab a fluffy pillow and a blanket and make something shake. This is the one I have:

  1. Standing Lamp

All dorms have the standard top light that is so yellow it hurts, and if you share a room it’s over for studying after 11. However, the soft incandescence of a standing lamp gives your room a comfy vibe and enough light to study amongst a sleeping roommate. And plus it’s excellent for catching that highlight in late night turnup selfies.

This one has storage space:

  1. Homey Scent

They say that smell links us the closest to memories, more so than any other sense. And this is nothing but facts. So, grab a couple of Glade and Airwick plugins that give you that homey feel. So basically, anything pumpkin spice.

  1. Comfy Blankets

Personally I don’t like getting under my covers if I haven’t showered. I know I’m weird. But, have no fear, a huge and comfy blanket adds to the homey feel and also keeps you warm during those daily 3 hour naps. Yes I take 3 hour naps and so will you.

A plain Jane comforter separate from the one you use at night works just as well. I honestly like it better, it’s cheaper and softer.

The 3-hour-nap blanket:|adaptpdph1|related_prods_vv|adaptpdph1|50950586|0

The comfy comforter:

  1. Body Pillow (Accent Pillows)

This is an essential for a good night’s rest. Lay that sucker around you and you’ll check out in, tops, 5 minutes. Also, big accent pillows with your favorite colors and designs add to the homey vibes.

Home Goods and TJ Maxx has this department down pact and for the low low.

  1. Mood Board

This is a DIY project that adds so much to a room. Just gather pictures of your hopes, dreams and future Mercedes Benz.

Or you could do a “put you in the mood” board, by cutting out or drawing things that put you in a certain mood or take you back to a certain time (i.e a collage of 90’s Hip Hop and R&B vibes, because I grew up on Destiny’s Child and Sade).

Just stick them on a pinboard and hang it up. This will immediately add color to those bland walls and give your guest a taste of what makes you, you. Also, photos of friends and family always add a homey touch.

  1. Books

For some reason the look and smell of books automatically say home. So bring your favorite books and stack them haphazardly around your room for a more cultured look and to feel more at home.

  1. Fairy Lights

This is a great way to set the mood for late night talks with friends or random movie nights. String these dainty lights along your walls and around your bed posts for a starry night.

  1. Candle Warmer

This is a great alternative for candles. It gives you the same warmth without the hazard.

This one has a nice aesthetic:

  1. Record Player

Now if you ballin’ like a bigshot, a record player is a nice addition to a room and is a sure fire way to make you a housing hit. Just pick out albums that remind you of home and play those suckers on repeat for endless nostalgia.

I say Anita Baker is a good first pick. You’ll thank me later:

Although these things still don’t make the laundry free, a comfy piece or two always helps with the homesickness. But don’t worry too much, UNC quickly becomes your home away from home.



If you try these pieces out share them with us on our social media, we want to see! And if you want more ideas, check out our Pinterest.

Where to spend your summer at UNC

Davis and the UL can wait until the fall.

The idea of being at school during the summer can be a drag. Luckily, us Tar Heels have a campus that’s beautiful no matter the season! Here are some campus spots that are especially gorgeous during the summer.

Outside of SASB

SASB is the perfect nook for reading or writing. The outside of SASB feels like an outdoor lounge, as it features a small amphitheater area and an arrangement of tables and chairs. This high-traffic area makes SASB ideal for people watching. Whether you’re post-workout at Rams Head or on your way to a friend’s residence hall, be sure to stop for a few minutes and enjoy the outdoors!

Second floor balcony of the Student Stores

Something about the “YES WE’RE OPEN!!” sign tells me that the Student Stores are open during the summer. The view may not be as pretty now because of construction, but it’s a nice and convenient place to crack open some summer reading. Plus, the chairs here also have rockers so you are sure to be comfortable.

Outside of Carroll Hall

The area in between Chapman and Carroll Hall can be easily glossed over during the rush to class, making this hidden gem ideal for seclusion. I can imagine this spot as being a great place to practice yoga and meditate. Located only a few steps away from classes, this area is a great place to take a break.

Fourth Floor of the FedEx Global Education Center

Out of this whole list, I would say that this spot is my personal favorite. The rooftop feels like a city terrace escape with arguably the best view of a summer sunset. The FedEx Center is a total break from traditional UNC-Chapel Hill architecture with its modern and sleek look. Come spend an afternoon here, and I’m sure you’ll be hooked.

Outside of the Genome Sciences Building

The outdoor amphitheater of the Genome Sciences Building is empty year round. Grab a blanket and speakers and you can make a nice alternative to your dorm room. It does get pretty bright here though- make sure you don’t forget to wear your sunscreen and sunglasses!

With all of these beautiful spots on campus, make sure you don’t forget to take a breath of fresh air. Take some time to explore the campus and find out for yourself why UNC is the best place to be.


First Year Experience Halls At A Glance

Dear Baby Heels (a.k.a. Newly Admitted Students):

First of all, let me just extend a great, warm welcome to you by saying CONGRATS ON BECOMING AN OFFICIAL TAR HEEL! This place freaking rocks, honestly, and we can’t wait for y’all to join us here on campus. But before you can join us, you have to sign up for on-campus housing by May 15!

I know what you’re thinking at this point.

“But… But I don’t know where I want to live! What are my options? What’s the difference between all the halls? I am #stressed. Please help me, a wee lamb just trying to make it to Chapel Hill in one piece!”

I was there once, too. We all were. But fear not! We’re here for you.

Below is a list of all the halls available to First Years for the 2017-2018 school year, what they offer, and what current students in those halls love about where they live!

Hinton James
Hinton James, affectionately known as HoJo, is the biggest First Year hall (with 10 whole floors!), making it a very social place. HoJo is coed and has 8-person suites with window AC units. It’s on South Campus and is super close to the Dean Dome.

“My favorite thing about HoJo is the energy and positive vibes. Coming home from Davis and walking into loud upbeat music playing in the lobby puts me in a good mood!” –Elysia Ruiz

“[My favorite thing about living in HoJo is] the view and sitting on the balcony. I also love the lively and diverse community of people.” –Shodeah Kelly 

Continue reading First Year Experience Halls At A Glance

Crying the Carolina Way

An incomplete list of the times Carolina brings on the waterworks

UNC has made us all cry at some point. And if it hasn’t made you yet, it will. Be it tears of joy, pain, laughter, anxiety, awe, or anything in between, we have all let a tear or two (or hundred) fall for Carolina.

While it’s true I’m a sensitive soul who cries at least once a day for any number of silly reasons, I don’t think you have to have the same emotional muddle of a mind I do in order to experience the many overwhelming feelings that come with being a Tar Heel.

There are just some things that resonate deep within all our Carolina souls and hit us straight in the Tar Feels—and we can’t help but cry.

Continue reading Crying the Carolina Way

Best Oats Ever

How to spice up your boring dorm oatmeal

I have a confession: I don’t like ramen. I think it smells bad and tastes worse. I think it looks like a bad perm, which doesn’t do much for my appetite. I think the lack of nutritional value is matched by lack of taste. If I’m gonna eat something unhealthy, it better be delicious. What is really in those little flavor packets anyway? How could so much sodium deliver so little flavor? These are the questions that keep me awake at night. A solution to my lack of affinity for microwaved noodles is simple: oatmeal. It is so much healthier, so much more flavorful, and there is so much more you can do with it. Below I have compiled a list of all my favorite recipes with links to the original sites. This list is the result of lots of trial and error and lots of overflowed bowls. You’re welcome. And as my favorite English teacher once said – enjoy every bowl of oatmeal. Actually he said enjoy every sandwich, but I don’t really see how that’s relevant.

  1. Never Ending Oatmeal. Ah, my favorite type of oatmeal, oatmeal that never ends. This is a basic, healthy recipe that serves as the base for lots of different add-ins. You can use this to create your own recipes, or just make a simple, tasty bowl of oats.
  2. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Oatmeal. Satisfy your sweet tooth with this delicious recipe. Best part? It’s still healthy!
  3. Oatmeal with Fried Egg and Avocado. This is probably the most labor intensive recipe, but it’s totally worth it. Check out some cooking supplies from your community office and you’ll have this made in no time. Perfect for sunday morning brunch!
  4. Oatmeal with Mango and Coconut. Sweet but not too sweet, and totally instagrammable.
  5. Chocolate Strawberry Hugs Oatmeal. This is what it would feel like if chocolate dipped strawberries could give hugs.
  6. Oatmeal with Cheddar and Scallions. This savory recipe is awesome because it makes a great meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Or at 2 am as you cram for your Psychology final.


Don’t be afraid to come up with your own recipes too! I firmly believe there’s not an ingredient that can’t taste good with oatmeal. Let me know if you find any good ones at or in the comments below. Happy oatmeal eating!

Shortcuts Across Campus

Chapel Hill can be a bit overwhelming, especially the size of campus. We student interns here at the housing office thought it would extremely benefit first year students to tell them about all of the wonderful shortcuts we didn’t know our first year.

As incentive, knowing these shortcuts will make you seem super cool to your new college friend group. So let’s get to it.

Continue reading Shortcuts Across Campus

5 Campus Support Resources Every Tar Heel Should Know

Hey Carolina Fam,

While we love being here for y’all by making goofs of ourselves, chatting it up when you stop at our table in during orientation, and organizing giveaways to stuff your cribs, we’re also well aware that things aren’t always sunshine and unicorn farts.

Life happens, and sometimes it can get a little tough. So as true family, just know that we are always ready and prepared to get you through whatever it is that you’re going through. Here are five (of the many, many, many) ways we’ve always got your back:

Continue reading 5 Campus Support Resources Every Tar Heel Should Know

Top 10 Things People Forget to Bring to College

Be the hero of your residence by remembering these ten things!

Many students show up at South Campus in August thinking that with their packed mini van they couldn’t possibly have forgotten anything. But every year, people forget these ten important items. Keep reading below so you don’t become one of them!

Continue reading Top 10 Things People Forget to Bring to College