Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

My Carolina Love Story

A shy 12-year-old girl + a boy with dreamy green eyes = a perfect love story. And it’s true. That little girl fell in love, but not with a person, with a place.

2011

Ugh I cringe just thinking about middle school. Awkward outfits, braces, everyone just trying to fit in… man middle school is rough. For the first time, boys don’t have cooties and everyone you meet you see as the next prince charming. In sixth grade, I thought I had met the love of my life. Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong- but he did set my path to the greatest school on earth. You see, he was a big Tar Heel fan, but us being from Florida, Carolina wasn’t exactly a school you were “born” into loving. UNC could’ve stood for Univerity of Northern California for all I knew. Safe to say, my knowledge of the school was an absolute zero. That didn’t stop me however from I fantasizing about going to college with him and marrying my middle school sweetheart (totally normal right?).

2014

On the way to a Christmas trip to Washington DC, I asked my family if we could stop in Chapel Hill. Yea, it was pretty out of our way, but I told them I was considering it as a place for college, and compared to Orlando, we were closer now than usual. This was the winter break of my sophomore year, so college wasn’t realllyyy on my mind. It was just kinda this place I knew I would go to after high school, but it was anyone’s guess as to where that place would actually be. We ended up stopping by on December 30th. I remember campus was deserted. Obviously everyone had headed home for break. It was cold, the branches were bare, yet part of me couldn’t look away. We walked all around campus trying to find the Old Well. I nagged my siblings as they complained and I just kept telling them, “Guys trust me, this Well thing is like one of UNC’s biggest picture spots.” We ended up at the water tower by Morrison. I know they recently painted it Carolina blue, but four years ago it was as plain as could be. We were not in the right place. After about another hour of wandering around, we finally found it. There was nothing fancy about it. It really is just a well. At that point, I didn’t know what the Well stood for or what its importance was, but I did remember the water was tastier than I imagined. I left that trip with Carolina on my mind, and it hasn’t left my mind since.

2016

2016 marked the start of my senior year in high school. College really mattered at this point. As I tried to make my list of schools, I knew Carolina had to be on it. I spent the first few months of my year checking out what each school had to offer. I narrowed my list to five. I had a few safeties and a few reaches. Carolina was a reach. I was confident in my grades and application, but I can’t deny that those out-of-state statistics aren’t scary. Out of all the schools on my list, Carolina’s application deadline was the earliest one. It was October 1st and I didn’t have my essays written. Two weeks until the deadline. I told myself I just needed to sit and focus, but I was so busy with senior year, that moment never came. October of 2016 was when Florida got hit by Hurricane Matthew. By some miracle, UNC extended their application deadline for families that were hit. I heard the message loud and clear. This was my second chance to get my application in. There was no way I was going to pass it up. I locked myself in a room for a weekend and I typed. I typed my long essay and my short responses. I sent them to my teachers and my friends. I deleted and I rewrote almost every line. Finally at 11:57 PM, I hit submit.

A few weeks later, my mom and I took a trip to Carolina one more time. The last time I had been I was a sophomore, so a lot could have changed. I wanted to make sure it was still the school I remembered. Good news: we didn’t get lost this time. I took her straight to the Old Well and we took pictures again. We paused after as we took in the scenery. Carolina really is beautiful. It’s welcoming and it’s peaceful. I drank from the Well once more, hoping when I heard back from the school in January it would be a “Congratulations!” and not a “We regret to inform you.”

2017

When decisions came out in January, I was too scared to open it. I had my little brother look for me. The thing was, I forgot he didn’t really know how to read. After hearing him struggle with the words, I looked myself and saw it, “It gives us great pleasure…” I can’t tell you what it said after that, my eyes were filled with tears at this point. Everything I had ever wanted was written in the letter right in front of my eyes.

Said brother (and hopefully future Tar Heel) who can now read

In February, my mom and I once again flew to Chapel Hill to see the school one last time. I had my choices narrowed down to two schools, and this trip reminded me why. Walking around campus I saw smiling faces everywhere. I wanted to go to a school where I’d be happy- a school I’d enjoy going to. Chapel Hill was it for me.

2018

As for the boy from middle school, he did also get into Carolina, but he decided not to come here. It’s his loss. Carolina is where I’ve found my home, my friends, and my future. Of all the love stories I’ve heard, Carolina is my favorite so far.

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???

Living On Campus: It’s More Than Just A Dorm

Many believe that housing is simply a place to eat and sleep but what they may not realize is that it is all that and so much more. Though it is a requirement to live on campus and I didn’t really have a choice, I would say that it was the best decision made for me and I’m going to tell you why.

 

Roomate on the right.
Picture of my roommate and I.

Well first, there’s change (and not like the quarters you don’t have in your pockets because being a broke college student is real 😅).  Most of us may not be used to change, as we have lived with our parents all our lives, known the same people since we were kids and have become familiar and comfortable with everything around us. However, when college comes around everything you know changes, including yourself. Living with a complete stranger seems very intimidating as you’re forced to share a small place in an environment that is far from anything like home. Yet, I truly am grateful that I was able to have this experience because I met such an amazing person that I can actually call a friend. In retrospect, living with a random person seemed like a disaster waiting to happen but it’s cool to see how a genuine friendship was formed. However, with friendships comes hardship. You and your roommate or even your new-found friends might not always see eye to eye but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t live together or you shouldn’t be friends. This is where the change happens. You learn to compromise, be understanding and respectful which helps you grow as an individual, a friend and/or roommate. You may not be buddy buddy with your roommate or those around you but explore the possibilities to hopefully have the chance to gain amazing friendships.

 

 

Picture of my friends and I on our first halloween night.

The experience in college are like no other. Of course the main priority when coming to college is to obtain that nice GPA and degree so you can go on with your life and have a successful career and future. However, once you come to college you’ll soon realize that’s only the beginning. Since you have sooo much time and freedom in college, you are able to explore and spend your leisure time however you chose. If you or a friend happen to have a car, you can take a quick trip to Raleigh, explore the Triangle area, go to concerts and so much more. Since senior year of high school I’ve been wanting to go to see The Weeknd in concert but my mom was not having it. So once I got to college, my friends and I road tripped all the way down to South Carolina which was an 8 hour drive to and back and had the best times of our lives. Singing throwback songs in the car for hours and having minor heart attacks when someone would drive too intense (mostly me) made the trip even worth while and was something I never thought I would be able to experience. I also got to experience my first Halloween night (yes I’ve never been out for halloween, sad I know) and it was a great time. Ordering our costumes months before, getting ready with makeup and nails, taking pictures and finally going out was something I’ll never forget. Overall, there’s many more experiences you can encounter while you’re in college. Enjoy the times you have and the memories you makes and cherish the friends that make it special. Makes these four years the best that you can because time flies when you’re having fun.

 

 

My friend and I at a photoshoot for black girls of Class 2021.

Besides the memories and experiences you make by living on campus, there are some amazing perks you may not have realize until you have actually moved in. Well one thing is that almost everyone here is always willing to help. From the day you step font on campus to move in, there is endless support, as I didn’t expect a group of students (Haulin’ Heels) so eager to help me move ALL my luggage and items into my dorm. Everyone was so welcoming and nice, it made me feel at ease and comfortable which made the transition from high school to college easier. Also throughout the year, there were endless events coordinated by students and organizations that provided free food, swag items and a great opportunity to explore campus and meet new people. So although it may be nerve-wracking to try new things and get out of your comfort zone, I highly encourage you to do so because you’ll soon come to realize that college is all about being comfortable with the uncomfortable, as you’re exposed to new and different people and experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Managing Money

If you’re an incoming first year, you may wonder if the broke college student life is real?  Even as a returning student you could be in that current state as we speak (well read). Either way, whomever you may be, I’m going to share some tips on how to save your shmoneyy and get your coins.

FOOD. FOOD. FOOD.

Image result for buying food gifSince we’re notorious for being broke college students, ever wonder what we spend the most money on? It is known that most college students spend a lot of money on food, and after just my first year I can definitely attest to that. Whether it’s grabbing a bite out with friends or ordering in, we tend to overspend on meals. So, in order to avoid all the unnecessary expenses on food, it is wise to add dinning flex to your UNC One Card. For those of you who may not know, you can add flex which is basically money specifically for food to your UNC One Card. This will allow you to pay for meals by swiping (like a regular card) at those dinning locations all around campus and even some places on Franklin Street. This way you have allotted money that is specifically for food so you wont have to worry about impulse buying. Also, if you have a meal plan on campus, make sure to utilize those green to-go boxes to store food for later, so you can not only save a swipe but you won’t have to worry about your next meal. In addition, purchasing snacks or groceries to keep in your room is smarter as you’re able to grab something from your fridge easily instead of having to order something. Needless to say, grabbing a meal with friends or ordering your favorite pizza once in awhile is okay but try to avoid overspending so you can save your coins for other things.

GETTING A JOB OR INTERNSHIP

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Although your main priority for coming to college is to get that degree, if you have the time or chance, picking up a part-time job or finding a paid internship can very beneficial. Not only will you be rewarded financially but you are also getting experiences that will allow you to develop your skills that you can eventually put on your resume. Working is also an opportunity that will help you learn how to save because you will soon come to realize the value and/or struggle of making a buck. Having a job also teaches you management and organization which you can apply to saving money and spending, or in this case not spending. Nonetheless, getting that paycheck every other week is a sweet feeling and is even sweeter when you don’t go out the next day and spend it all.  Of course, you deserve to treat your self for all that hard work but don’t go overboard so that all your hard earned money won’t be wasted on things you’ll never use or that are unnecessary.

 

BUDGETING

As lame and tedious as that may sound, it’s very beneficial to have a budget planned for the school year cause if not well…

Creating a plan or system where you allot specific amount of money to certain things like clothes, going out, school supplies and groceries will help you visually map out the needs from the wants. It gives you the chance to see where your bad spending habits are, and also helps you find ways to organize your expenses. Also, when budgeting you can create a certain plan to save money (like 50% of you paycheck goes to your saving account) that way you will have the funds in case of an emergency or unexpected circumstances. Most banks have budgeting softwares within their banking apps or you can simply write out a plan in your notes and take control! Additionally, UNC hosts many events targeted to students like us, who struggle with spending money so be sure to look out for flyers to get some tips from professionals about how to budget and save! There are many resources available and many are at your fingertips, so be sure to use them while you can to avoid breaking the bank.

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/