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The Suite Life: My Experience in a Shared Living Space

Living on campus is a key part of the authentic college experience. A lot of incoming first-years might be excited for the new adventure, but less excited about sharing a living space (and a bathroom).

As a weathered old first-year, I can tell you that I was in the same exact boat. But after a year of living in an eight-person suite, I realized there wasn’t much to worry about. Here’s what I learned:

ROOMMATES

Maybe you’re used to sharing a room with a sibling. Maybe you grew up with a room all to yourself. Whatever your past experience, living with a roommate is probably going to take a little getting used to.

Having a roommate is a little different than sharing a room with a sibling. For one thing, both of you probably won’t be related. Also, the room that you’re sharing isn’t just a bedroom – it’s where you live. That means everything you own and everything your roommate owns will be in the same space. So that means you need to be able to communicate what spaces and items are shared, and what you want to stay separate.

Another good thing about having a roommate is that you probably don’t have to buy all of the appliances and furniture you want to be in your dorm! I found it pretty convenient that I didn’t have to buy a microwave since my roommate already had one.

Something I was concerned about before moving in was having a different sleeping schedule than my roommate. Both of you probably won’t be going to sleep at the same exact minute of the same exact hour – how do you deal with that? Lamps, earplugs, sleep masks, and communication. Just let each other know if you’re going to sleep super early or super late. It only takes a few seconds to ask about things like turning off the lights and turning down any music and other things like that. If you’re a particularly light sleeper, earplugs and sleep masks would be a good investment. Also, you could talk to your potential roommate before even moving in and ask about what time they usually go to sleep.

Something else to keep in mind: Just because you live with this person doesn’t mean you have to be with them 24/7. If you tend to be introverted or you just like to have some time to yourself, the thought of living with another person might make you want to rethink the whole dorm thing. But as an awkward introvert myself, I think I have the authority to tell you that a roommate does not equal a life partner (Unless you want that, I guess. Up to you).

 

SUITEMATES

Suitemates are a step removed from roommates. You don’t share a room with them, but you do live in pretty close proximity to them.

Experiences with suite mates are pretty varied, as they are with roommates. I know people whose closest friends are their suitemates, and I know people who don’t even know their suitemates’ names. Personally, my suitemate group is pretty close with each other. While you can choose whether or not to talk to the other people in your suite, I would recommend hanging out with them whenever you can. I mean, it’s a built-in friend group – you don’t have to try too hard to get to know them.

BATHROOMS

Ah yes, the dreaded shared bathroom. Turns out, there’s not much to dread.

If you live in an eight-person suite, someone comes in and cleans the bathroom for you a few times every week. If you live in a four-person suite like in Koury, you’ll have to clean it yourself. I lived in HoJo, so the bathrooms were cleaned for us. If you live in a four-person suite, I would recommend organizing some kind of cleaning schedule with your suitemates so that the work is divided up fairly.

Sharing a bathroom with seven other people might sound scary, but surprise: it’s not. At least in my experience, and from what I’ve heard from other people, the bathroom situation isn’t as much of a hassle as I thought it would be. Everyone has different schedules, and everyone gets up at different times, so the bathroom is usually accessible whenever you need to use it. In all my time here, I never had to fight over who got to use the bathroom first, because the bathroom was always open.

Another thing: the bathroom does lock. If you’re coming out of the shower or just want some privacy, you don’t need to worry about someone bursting into the bathroom.

To wrap it up:

My experience living in a shared space wasn’t the nightmare I thought it would be. Visions of feuding roommates and duels over who got to take the next shower were replaced with new friends and sweet, sweet independence. Living on campus turned out to be the best way to start off my time at UNC.

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Did I miss anything? Want to know more? Leave a comment or message @unchousing on any social media platform! You can also shoot us an email or give us a call!

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What’s the Deal with Housing by Academic Interest?

3 Things You Should Know About Housing by Academic Interest

A common concern shared among our first-years is the concern about making friends and finding that community that fits with your interests, likes, dislikes. Some of these things are more important than whether or not you like pineapple on your pizza.

During my two years at the university, I realized that students without friends in their classes are at a big disadvantage. It’s easier to study together, share notes together, do homework together (if it is allowed). When you don’t understand the teacher, you can even teach each other like these cute doggos.

But there’s a way to skip the awkward “seek out that one person you know” in a class because now we have Housing by Academic Interest! Here are 3 things you should know!

1.  The Academic Interests

Housing by academic interest means that you can choose to live in communities based on what you’re interested in academically! The different interests currently available are:

  • Business
  • Media Studies and Journalism
  • The Arts
  • Health Sciences/ Pre-Med

All of these interests allow you to connect with the respective and relevant resources. For example, the business academic interest connects you to information from the business school and the undergraduate business ambassadors. These can open doors for internships, networking, and other valuable resources that you need to succeed in your career and academically.

2. Easy to Apply

Lucky for everyone, it’s pretty simple to apply to be included in this opportunity. It’s as easy as choosing from the drop-down menu.

Important Note: You are not required to participate in housing by interest. If any of the interests above interest you, feel free to select them. If you’d rather do something else, then don’t!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

3. It’s NOT Class Based

A common misconception is that you need to have declared a certain major or be taking certain classes to be involved within a specific interest. In fact, here at Housing, we want to encourage you to explore academic interests OUTSIDE of your major to help you be a well-rounded student. Maybe you’re a business student, but you’re interested in the health care industry – what a great chance to live around other students who are interested in health care and expand your horizons!

There you have it folks, a short and slightly comprehensive guide on what to expect! If this sounds like something you’re INTERESTed in, then Housing by Academic Interest is a good idea! Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Tips I Wish I Knew My First Year at UNC

  1. Put your walking shoes on and get ready for 15 – 25 minute walks to class. Comfort is key here as a first year. T shirts, shorts, and tennis shoes will be your go-to outfit at the beginning of the year. Trust me. I tried to look cute and showed up to class with sweat covering my shirt and the blisters on my feet were killing me. A rain jacket would be a nice touch too because you never know what to expect from NC weather.

  1. Any of the science classes will make you feel like you are incompetent, but you aren’t. The 101 classes are popularly known as “weed out” classes. Just keep pushing through the lab reports and lectures. You have a lot of resources to use – two of them being Dey Hall peer tutoring and the Writing Center.

The Office I Understand Nothing GIF

  1. Lenoir Dining Hall from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. is a rush and seats can be impossible to find. You’ll be making rounds around the dining hall until you find seats. Keep your eyes peeled seats will open up! Lenoir has sushi but Chase Dining Hall (south campus) has late night. I think the cooks make late night food with extra love.

4. Free swag is offered at a lot of events through the year. I started the school year with two Carolina t-shirts and now I have a drawer in my dresser completely full of free t-shirts. It’s not just t-shirts either, you will be set for life on water bottles, shoe laces, koozies, clif bars, key chains, cups, visors, towels, and more. You can even regift some of these things.

  1. Registering for classes will have you stressed. Have your phone on you to count down the seconds for your registration period and make sure you have good internet because nothing is worse than losing internet connection during registration. I usually stress out more than usual, but I always end up getting into good classes.

 

  1. If you do not get into all of the classes you wanted, then don’t panic. Sign up for class checker/coursicle online and fill out all of the information. People will drop the class and it’ll all work out… even if it’s during the first week of classes. Email professors too. They understand that the process can get chaotic.

 

  1. Remember Cs get degrees! You are probably use to getting all A’s and the occasional B *GASP* but fear not C’s are passing and if you get one or two it wont hurt you. Work hard and try your best, but sometimes you learn a lot from the classes you get Cs from. If you get an A in calc 2 I applaud you.

 

  1. Gary is the preacher that sits in the pit. UNC is a very accepting place and Gary can sometimes be not so accepting. Just sit there and enjoy the nonsense. He shares some funny stories and his debates are always amusing.The Office Ugh GIF by Romy

 

  1. You might meet your best friends for life in the first week of school. Get ready to open yourself up to others. The first month of school can get tiring because you’ll have to be especially friendly, but you’ll see that it was worth it in the end. Plan on doing something with your suitemates at the very beginning that way you can have some people to help you find your niche. And it’s okay if you don’t find best friends that first week!New Girl Friendship GIF

 

  1. If you have an hour between classes and you’re tired don’t walk back to your room to nap. There is zero shame in napping in the library, the union, or even the dining hall. We all get it and we’ve all been there. Be respectful of others space and nap with confidence.
  2. Chancellor Carol Folt loves selfies. If you see her ask her for one! And nothing is cooler than saying you’ve met Carol and the picture is a bonus.

 

  1. If it snows prepare yourself for one of the best days of your life and maybe scariest. Stock up on snacks and be careful when making the trip to the dining hall. Students will grab anything to slide down the hills. The hill leading up to the dean dome is the ultimate hill. If you use your mattress you run the risk of ruining it, just use someone else’s. Pizza boxes and plastic containers are also good last minute resources. Warning: People will be out there until 3 a.m. sledding and screaming. Oh and you won’t find out until 6 a.m. if classes will be cancelled.

Spongebob Snowball Effect CMV snowball squarepants,CMV,Snowball,Effect,spongebob GIF

13. Franklin Street is FAR from south campus with that being said learn the bus system. The U and the p2p are your best friend. They will get you to the library, franklin, and south campus when you’re incapable of making the walk back. There are several busses and it can get confusing. If all else fails look up the route online or ask the driver if this takes you close to the destination you are trying to get to.

  1. You can search Pinterest for hours and make the ultimate packing list, but you will still forget something because you never know what will hit. I have borrowed shoes, money, butter, jerseys, neon sports bras I mean EVERYTHING. Don’t stress yourself out when packing, you’ll have a lot of people to help you put a last minute 80s outfit together.
  2. Technology can be really cool and a great resource on this huge campus. Download the following apps!
    Venmo: If you don’t have cash use venmo to pay your friends back!
    GroupMe: If you don’t have a groupme prepare yourself. It’s a group message app that can get crazy. I was in one for pickup soccer games… this group message was lit 24/7
    UConnection: This app will give you the exclusive deals for all the food on Franklin Street and around town. At the push of a button you instantly get a deal.
    Uber: As a first year you won’t have a car so Uber is a great way to get to different places. It’s also good when you’re running late… yes I am guilty of taking an Uber to class.
    NextBus: You can track the busses with this app, this will give you a good estimate of when you should go to the stop and how long it’ll take for the bus to get there.

So Helpful Captain America GIF

  1. Carolina for the Kids. Great cause and you should get involved! At least do it once. Dancers last year helped raise over $434, 139
    . This money helps the families who have kids staying in the hospital at UNC. The purpose of CFTK is to help the families emotionally and financially. You can sign up for a certain committee (tech, social media, fundraising, entertainment) or you can sign up to dance. Dancers raise $150 each and stand on their feet for a full 24 hours. One thing the people in the committees do is stand all around campus and ask you if you have signed up to dance. You’ll get asked everyday at least four times a day.

 

  1. There are always things to do on or around campus. Whether it’s 5Ks, a cappella performances, or club fees you will constantly be pulling money out of your pocket. Be cautious when spending money because it can quickly shrink your bank account.

 

  1. The old well is the basic place to take pictures. She looks pretty all year round so can ya blame this beautiful monument? This place is full of magic water. Rumor has it, if you drink out of the old well on the first day of classes (FDOC) you will get a 4.0. Didn’t happen to me, but I got close.

 

  1. You don’t like basketball? Well now you do. Carolina Basketball is the best thing that has ever happened to me. If I saw a basketball player, I would freeze and text someone. They’re basically celebrities. I have gotten to enjoy standing in a line for three hours in 30-degree weather to watch some basketball and I have never left unsatisfied. Even when we lose there is so much pride for our team. Get ready for Carolina basketball. Get ready to hate duke (aka dook). The atmosphere of the campus changes during basketball season. Everyone is ready to watch the game and if we beat duke… we rush franklin street, jump over fires, and sing our alma mater to the top of our lungs.Franklin Street after the Duke Win

 

  1. Don’t sweat it. You go to a top university and if you don’t know your major that’s okay. Half of first years will change their majors at some point. Relax, enjoy the free swag, the basketball, and the wonderful place you can now call home.

Spring Break

Happy Monday Tar Heels! Within a couple of days many of you will be embarking on several different trips for spring break. If you’re headed home or going on a fun cruise we’ve compiled a list of things to consider before you leave UNC.

1. Be careful who you share your location with

Now a days snapchat, find my friends,Facebook, Instagram, and tons of other social media devices share your location with others. Sometimes we don’t think about who we share this information with , but when you add a location to Instagram all of those followers can now keep up with where you are. Double check to make sure you’re only being seen on the snapchat map by people you want to be seen by. You have to edit this yourself or else you are public to everyone.

2. If you’re of age, safe drinking tips:

If you’re drinking in a hot to be careful because alcohol can dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure which means the effects of alcohol come at faster and stronger rates.

Don’t leave your cup lying around and make sure you keep your eyes on it wherever you might be.

Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know

3. Carry Cash

You never know when someone only accepts cash, but I’ve been there MANY times. Tolls especially get ya with this. So be prepared and carry around cash. If you’re going abroad 1. I’m jealous and 2. make sure you plan conversions and withdraw some cash ahead of time. Look out for atm fees while abroad too. Make sure to notify your bank ahead of time and let them know you will be traveling if you are.

4. Write down important addresses and phone numbers

We live in a day and age where we are so dependent on our phones but the minute they die we lose a lot of valuable information. Make sure you have someone’s phone number and addresses where you are staying written down. Maybe plan ahead and try to take a portable charger with you if you are staying out for long periods of time.

5. SUNSCREEN

Apply, reapply, and conquer the outdoors. Whether you’re spending time tanning in Florida or hiking around a mountain the sun is still out so protect your skin. Even on a cloudy day you should still put on some sunscreen because the sun is still there. You’ll be glad you applied in 30 years anyway… less wrinkles and sunspots. Win win!

Fall Trips to take while at Carolina

Fall Trips

Ten Places to road trip this fall around Chapel Hill

 

I’m personally a huge advocate for going to the mountains during fall. The 828 is the place to be, I’m bias because that’s where I’m from BUT still. Best places on earth are in western North Carolina.

  1. Asheville is 3 hours give or take away from campus. It’s a nice drive over especially since you can see all of the colored leaves (also perfect time to start a mountain-esque playlist). You could go hiking, zip lining, check out the Biltmore, and enjoy the beauty of the mountains.

  1. If you’re looking for a place to get away but still want that college vibe Boone is it. Appalachian State is located right in downtown, there are great places to hike, if it’s not too cold it’d be a nice place to go cliff jumping, and there are always cool places to shop and buy antiques. It’s also about 3 hours away so not too shabby.

  1. Do I have to explain why you have to go to DC? Oh and it’s only 4 hours away so talk about hype.

  1. Charleston, SC is gorgeous year round. I scoped it out during spring break and it was great, but the best time of the year (bias again) is fall. So pair up a great place with a great time of year and you’ll have…. a GREAT time. Okay seriously though, Charleston is historic and gorgeous. There are markets, museums, and of course the beach.

5. Gatlinburg, TN is roughly 5 hours away. You can pass by a great view so the drive isn’t even that bad. There are trails, the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Dollywood, and the small version of the space needle. It’s nice to be close to other states and venture around them.

  1. American history is so cool, yeah I’m a nerd. Anyways, learning about Native Americans and how much it has affected North Carolina. The area is really great and everyone should visit to get an understanding of the art and culture.

  1. First in flight? That’s right go to Kitty Hawk. It’s 3 and a half hours away and the beach should be pretty empty when it gets kind of chilly, but still so beautiful, and peaceful.

  1. This is for sure on my bucket list. Hanging rock in Greensboro is only an hour and a half away and you can just hangout and relax. Take a weekend trip here this fall. It will be worth it.

  1. Eno River Falls is right here in our backyard. Located in Durham only 20 minutes away this wonderful getaway is so close that you can take a large group of people jump in the swimming hole, rope swing, and ENO!

  1. Savannah, GA is like Charleston, in that it’s a historic town. There are horse carriage rides, parks, Paula Deen’s restaurant (lit), and many shops. The drive is about 5 hours and definitely feasible for a three day weekend.

Studying abroad with On-Campus Housing

Way easier than subleasing. Trust me.

Hey fellow Tar Heels! The on-campus housing application opens soon (Oct. 23!!!), and I know there are a lot of things to consider. One of the reasons why I’m living on-campus next year is because of UNC Housing’s flexible study abroad policies! If you’re thinking of taking a semester abroad, here are some FAQs that can clarify any questions you may have:

How do I apply for UNC housing if I want to study abroad?

You would go through the same application process as a student that wants to live on campus. For students planning to go abroad in the fall, we suggest that they apply for on campus housing in the even that their study abroad plans fall through. For those going abroad in the spring, students will sign up for housing and we will cancel the spring portion of their contract without penalty.

What are important dates I should know?

·         November 1st – Spring housing application date

·         October 23rd – Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 application opens

·         November 26th – Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 application closes

How much will UNC housing cost if I study abroad for a semester?

There is no charge for on campus housing while you’re abroad.

How much is the cancellation fee for housing if I study abroad?

There is no cancellation penalty for students choosing to study abroad.

What happens if my roommate studies abroad for a semester?

·         If your roommate is going abroad for the fall, you can either try an fill that space with someone that will be leaving in the spring or we will try and fill the space with a 1 semester exchange student. We cannot guarantee or hold the space for their return in the spring. We can also work to reassign you to another room with your friend when we make room assignments for the spring.

·         If your roommate is abroad in the spring, you will have an opportunity to fill their space with another student. If you’re unable to find someone, we will open the space to another student to fill though our the assignment process. In limited cases we can offer the room as a single room buyout.

I hope you found this post informative and helpful! Wherever you decide to go abroad, I hope you consider living on campus when you get back.

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Carrboro

Great question. As a student at Chapel Hill, you not only live on a beautiful campus, you also live right next to the coolest small town on earth.

I’m biased since I grew up there, but take it from me – Carrboro is full of great stuff. Too many of my friends never made it up there during their first few years at Carolina, and now they can’t get enough.

Trying to figure out where Chapel Hill ends and where Carrboro starts can get a bit confusing. It’s kind of a local meme. I always tell people anything past Wings Over is officially in the next town, but the two towns are so close-knit that they might as well be the same place.

Except Carrboro is way cooler. I’m talking fresh donuts, fresh greens, fresh dance moves, live music, live people, live bars, dive bars and anything you could want to do while in college. Chapel Hill is great and I love it. Campus is wonderful and incredibly conducive to learning and bettering yourself and all that jazz. Carrboro is conducive to some straight up ignance.

Try it out the second weekend after you move in.  Get your friends together and stroll on over to Jade Palace. Or 2nd Wind if you’re 21. Just really soak in the small town goodness, and make sure you complete the taco truck rodeo at least once before you graduate. 

Only thing about Carrboro is, you might not actually want to live there just yet. It was a great place tog row up, but man does it suck to have to walk to the bus stop at 6 in the morning. Great place to visit, less great place to live as a student. Being able to walk to class in 10 minutes is a get out of jail free card you don’t even realize you have until it’s gone.

The best time to visit ton is going to be during one of the music events, which happen pretty much all of the time. Weaver Street Market is a really great spot to go and relax and eat something healthy, and they’ve always got a band or two playing there. If you’re more of a night owl, Cat’s Cradle puts on some seriously kick-ass concerts year round. They’ve got Towkio and Amine coming up in October.

So get into your class routine, buy all of your textbooks, then take a night off and go appreciate some dank tacos and tunes in the sleepiest town that never sleeps.