How to Meet People in your Residence Hall

There are 29,084 students enrolled in the University of National Champions. You would think that it would be easy enough to find at least ONE friend, right? Wrong! For some of us, making friends is an art that we’re just not any good at. Whether it be social anxiety, shyness, or the case of the classic dorm room shut-in, there are many ways we can feel isolated. The bad thing about being in such a big university  is that makes you feel that much smaller. The easiest way to whittle down your candidates is looking in your residential community. Here’s how!

SO. MUCH. BLUE!

Think Small

Start with your roommate and suitemates! These two are the first and easiest friends you’re going to make in college. You see them every day and you live together! If we’re cooking up a recipe for friendship, these are like the salt and pepper of the recipe! You can’t go wrong! Do fun things with them! Go out to parties, have movie nights, spa nights, game nights, football nights, gym nights, truth or dare nights, etc. If you’re unsure how to break the ice, buy a pizza to share with everyone or make dinner for them!

Two roommates having a good time!

The main takeaway is that you need to engage in conversation! If you do your own thing (which I have), chances are it’ll just get harder and harder to start the interaction and the next thing you know, it’s the end of the year, you kinda hate each other, and have also never spoken (which I have also experienced). Not ideal. Make friends out of your roommates and you’ll thank me later.

Join Community Government

These are like-minded individuals from your community who want to get together to organize fun things for everyone else. Not only will you bond with your other COGO members, but you’ll meet nearly everyone else in your community who come to your events. After a while, you’ll get a few regulars. Once you remember names, that’s it! You’re already friends!This is a quick and clean way to put yourself in a sphere of influence! Have fun with it!

Community Events

Alternatively, do the things that COGO and the RAs have planned for you! If there’s food,  there’s broke college students! Fact of life! Bond over this! Your RA and COGO is going out of its way to facilitate conversation for you! Use this to your advantage!

Know Your Neighbors

Last night, some girls came over to my suite and told us they had a bunch of left-over food to share and invited us to come over. Immediately, I wanted to be their friend. It is so easy to meet the people around you. Just knock next door, say, “Hey, I’m so and so, it’s nice to meet you!” You should do this anyway at least to know who to yell at when they’re being too loud!

I recognize that some of these things are easier said than done, but they should be done none the less. Friends are an investment for your happiness and well-being. You have to put a little work into them. The profit, however? Priceless. 🙂

If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments below!

5 Movies to Get You Pumped for College

Hey UNC fam! Welcome back to Chapel Hill! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m seriously ready to start anew. If you’re like me and need motivation- look no further! I’ve supplied five movies that will get you ready to tackle the year ahead.

Legally Blonde

Running Time: 96 minutes | Rated PG-13

Legally Blonde is the most of the “pump up” of the movie list. The story centers around the young, blonde, and cheerful Elle Woods. After getting dumped by her longtime boyfriend, she’s determined to get him back- by getting into Harvard Law School.

Legally Blonde is a treasure trove of wisdom. It not only shows you the power of hard work, but touches on topics such as stereotypes and feminism.

Did I mention that it also has one of the most motivational montages in movie history?

Good Will Hunting

Running Time: 126 minutes | Rated R

This movie will make you want to hit up the library more often. Matt Damon plays Will Hunting, a troubled teen who’s secretly a genius. When his talent is discovered by a professor, Will is pushed to reach his full potential.

The characters are written in such a way that I shed a tear or two. The relationship between Will and Sean inspires me to find that one super cool professor to be best friends with.

Mona Lisa Smile

Running Time: 117 minutes | Rated PG-13

I remember mindlessly browsing through Netflix when I came across this movie. I thought this movie would be about art thieves or something; turns out it’s about college girls and their art professor.(Kind of close?)

Julia Roberts plays Katherine Watson, a professor from California, who is hired to teach at Wellesley. She soon realizes that Wellesley is not nearly as progressive as she thought it would be- cue the drama!

The big theme of this movie is opening up to new perspectives even if they’re completely different from yours. It’s a pretty timeless theme that is good to keep in mind during any class discussion.

The Social Network

Running Time 120 minutes | Rated PG-13

You have probably heard of this movie. If you haven’t, you know what this movie is about: Facebook. This pretty inaccurate account of Facebook’s creation focuses on Mark Zuckerberg in his college years. It’s kind of crazy thinking that such a gigantic company was created by someone our age. I mean, I’m struggling to cook meals for myself as it is!

After watching this movie, I thought that maybe taking COMP 401 wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

Animal House

Running Time: 109 minutes | Rated R

This movie is basically the college classic.

I hope these movies at the very least keep you entertained. Happy syllabus week!

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Year

Hey first-years! With the current “___ things I wish I knew before ____” happening I thought I’d jump in on the trend! Here is my personal list of “5 things I wish I knew before my first year at Carolina”:

  1. Prioritize

You will never be bored in college. In between class, clubs, studying, and chilling with friends, you’ll probably only have time to nap. But it’s okay, because who doesn’t like naps?!

About a month into my freshman year, I was exhausted. I had juggled so much; I didn’t know what to put on the back burner so I didn’t do anything about it. I felt like I had to do everything. Turns out, it’s okay to say NO. Don’t feel obligated to go to that club meeting if you have a test the next day. The club will survive without your presence- just don’t ghost on them altogether.

2. Use your resources

UNC is full of opportunities and resources that I wish I took advantage of during freshman year. There are job fairs, cultural events, RHA events, for you to go to. Instead of lounging around, I wish I got my lazy self to some of these places and events. It would have been a better idea to go to The Writing Center for essay help, rather than sit at my desk waiting for “my next big idea!” to happen.

The Writing Center is in SASB btw

One resource that I HIGHLY encourage is office hours. Your professors are paid to leave time aside for assistance. Stop by and say hi! Going to office hours would’ve made classes WAY less stressful (i.e. Econ 101).

3. Comparison is the thief of joy

UNC is such a bustling hub of bright minded individuals that everyone kind of seems superhuman. Music majors have businesses on the side, that slacker in class actually interned at Google, etc. Don’t get lost in other people’s accomplishments. Remember that life has an infinite number of paths; seek out the one that makes you happy and you won’t need to look where others are headed.

4. Be comfortable with being alone

Suddenly you go from seeing your friends every day to having to schedule them in?! In high school, you had the security of knowing that your classmates were most likely your friends. In college, you will never see some of your classmates outside of class. Sometimes you’ll find yourself alone; don’t feel weird about it.

In fact, you should enjoy your alone time when you can. Living in a shared room makes time by yourself that much harder. Go to the movies alone! Go to the dining hall alone! Trust me, it’s not that big of a deal.

5. It’s okay to not feel “at home”

It’s still possible to be the most outgoing, studious, student and still feel out of place. College is a transitory part of your life. Don’t be afraid to talk to your new friends about being homesick, because chances are they probably feel it too.

At the same time, don’t wallow in nostalgia. You’re starting a new chapter in your life, and it’s going to be great! Being uncomfortable doesn’t mean that you’re not meant to be at UNC. It means you’re growing.

Here’s to new beginnings!

I hope that all of you find these five tidbits of advice at least entertaining. I’m so excited to see all of you guys in the fall!

 

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.

The Comprehensive Guide to Hating Dook

You did it. You’re a Tar Heel, now and forever. You go to the University of National Champions (or I guess technically it stands for North Carolina but whatever).With great power comes great responsibility, and no responsibility is greater than upholding the proud tradition of hating Dook.

If you’re new, you’ve probably heard of the tobacco road rivalry, and you probably also spell the other school’s name “Duke”. You’re in college now so it would be pretty embarrassing to make such basic spelling errors in public. Stay ahead of the curve of incoming first-years and make sure to refer to them as Dook as much as possible 100% of the time.

Now, you guys only have a little bit of time before basketball season starts, so now more than ever it’s important to teach yourself the basics. Basketball is kind of a religion here, and being able to point out exactly which foul Grayson Allen just committed will be sure to make you a few friends.

As for watching the games, the golden rule is one person per square inch of space on the TV screen. Basically watch the games with as many people as possible. It’s a bonding experience, and one that can help you make friends with literally anyone on campus.

On a more serious note, there are very specific etiquette rules surrounding interactions with students from opposing schools. First let’s talk about NC State fans.

Now these guys will stop at absolutely nothing to get you to acknowledge a rivalry between UNC and State. One of the great truths you must learn during your time here is that there totally isn’t. State’s a good school, so are we. On the off-chance that they make the NCAA tournament, you should absolutely cheer for them.

Dook is another story. They are evil. Their mascot is a devil. They know they’re evil. Now you know they’re evil. For you humanities kids, Dook by any other name would smell as gross. For you comp sci kids, Dook.equals(“the worst”). For the rest of you, just check out this guys face, it says it all.Image result for ugly grayson allen

When interacting with Dook students however, it’s important to treat them with as much respect as physically possible. They’re good people who work hard and a lot of the time are actually studying the exact same thing as you. Just remember that you’re school is infinitely better because their shade of blue sucks and this one internet review you read told you they are arbitrarily evil.

Whenever Dook plays someone in the tournament, it is absolutely imperative that you cheer against them. Obtain opposition gear and memorabilia whenever possible. If another school defeats Dook or knocks them out of the tournament, that school is now cool and must be treated as such.

Finally, the most important tip, and what may become one of your best memories at Carolina…………….the Franklin Rush. If you’re from in state you might have heard of Franklin Street. It’s a pretty cool place that;s usually bustling and full of exciting things and people. After we beat Dook you won’t be able to walk. If you’re a current student, I’m sure you remember the championship rush. If you’re new, just picture one of the horde scenes from The Walking Dead. That about sums up how much elbow room you’ll have during the celebration.

Image result for unc championship rushThe town absolutely explodes after a win and there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. If you cheer a little bit and then go back to your lab report, that is incorrect and your roommate will become morally responsible for delivering a swift smack to the back of your head. If you scream and run out of your dorm straight for Franklin Street as fast as possible that is correct and you will have an incredible night. Running is very important. If you were on the cross country team, you have an obligation to run the entire way. If you were on the debate team, keep a steady pace that is doable for you and think of clever slogans to paint on the signs (my favorite is “Duck Fook but hey).

You can’t really appreciate the full magnitude of Dook’s suckitude until you get here, so I’ll leave it at that. Come watch Grayson Allen trip someone in the Dean Dome and you’ll understand.

Image result for unc >duke

Watch with your friends, buy running shoes before the big game, Go Heels, Duck Fook.

Bus Here, Bus Anywhere

Alright y’all! This post is dedicated to a topic that is near and dear to my heart: bus transportation. I was surprised to find out that only a few people were as ecstatic as me about the public transportation system in Chapel Hill. I mean, the system is so expansive and can take you to so many places! This post is dedicated to you students who have yet to learn those bus routes- you have no excuses now!

Life’s solution to the hassle called walking.

Here are a few scenarios and the bus routes I’d take:

Note: This is more oriented towards first-year students, who are probably less familiar with the bus system.

I need to… go to class

There are a ton of different routes to get to class! The RU, CCX, and will take you to the Student Stores area which is close to many buildings on the lower quad. The RU and are your best bets if you have class on the upper quad.

I need to… go grocery shopping

The J is going to be your all stop grocery bus! Not only is the new Super Target on the J’s route, but stay on a little longer and it’ll take you to the Harris Teeter in Carrboro. If you need some basics, the route puts you on Franklin Street, where the CVS and Walgreens are.

I need to… get somewhere out of Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is a great place to be, but it’s understandable to occasionally want to explore other areas every once in a while. Thankfully, there are a ton of different options to get there-wherever there is. The Triangle Transit is a great way to get somewhere in the Research Triangle. It only costs around 2-3 dollars per bus ticket, which is way cheaper than an Uber. The PART bus system will also take you to Greensboro, and only costs 2-3 dollars as well.

Because I really care about you guys (and the bus system), I made a diagram for you guys so it’s easier to picture all of these different routes! This map is in no way comprehensive of all the different routes and stops; I just put in the ones I found the most helpful.

This diagram was obviously made for usefulness and not appearance.

ALSO: NEXTBUS. DOWNLOAD THAT APP. IT WILL BE YOUR SAVIOR.

How to be a Jedi: Time Edition

A long time ago, in a high school far, far away…

It was easy to get away with looking over your notes for a minute, and then acing the test. It started to get a little harder when we got to AP classes, but college classes are in their own league. “Okay, so I’ll just spend a little more time studying – no biggie!” Ummm, wrong! On top of studying, now you need to handle taking care of yourself too. That means laundry, cooking, cleaning, exercising. Let’s not forget you have clubs, jobs, leadership positions, etc. Finally, last but not least, you need to maintain a social presence and sleep at least 8 hours a day. Now we’re in quite a pickle.

You might say you have a choice: zombie, bum, or nerd. Lucky for you, we’re going to teach you how to time manage like a jedi. Here are some tips from someone who (kinda) made it through their first year of college.

Scheduling Is Key

Remember that agenda they used to give you? Yeah, you might wanna pull it out for more than doodling now. Your agenda is like your light sabre! Teachers won’t always put their homework online, so it is critical to write everything down. Time blocking everything out is also useful. Once you know everything you’re supposed to get done, estimate the time you’ll need for each task. This way you can keep yourself on schedule. It might feel a little monotonous, but part of the problem is that sometimes we don’t know how to police ourselves and stay organized. This is meant to help with that.

Libraries are your Best Friends

As comfy comfy and relaxing as being in your room can be, it can leave you susceptible to non-productivity. You’re around your comfy bed and your food and your friends…which is nice, but it doesn’t push you to study. Libraries are quiet and solemn. They can give you clarity of mind and make you feel less alone in getting your work done.

Study with your Friends

Multi-tasking is a great idea in this sense. As long as you’re not chatting up your friends, you can maintain some kind of social life while still getting your work done. Same goes for eating, exercising, and going to clubs. If you do things with your friends, you won’t feel alone or as if you’re doing work at all.

Take Smart Breaks

You obviously can’t study 24/7. Know when you’re taking too much on for you, or when you’re working too hard. Just because your friend is in 50 different clubs, doesn’t mean you should do that too. Everyone has their own level of work they can handle, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Do what’s good for you! The last thing you need is to feel overwhelmed and too stressed out. If you have nothing big coming up, go ahead and take a walk, or go out with your friends. There’s no use in running yourself dry! Treat yourself!

Know When to Stop

If you’re partying every weekend, that’s too much. It’s healthy to go out, for sure, but if you’re doing it at the expense of your responsibilities, or even worse, your sleep, it’s not a good idea. A fun night does not have to involve a late night party, especially with final exams looming near. Sometimes getting your work done and then just enjoying a movie night with your roommate is all that you need. That way you’ve finished all your work during the weekend and your week won’t be so backed up. The more you put off homework at Carolina, the more it builds up. Built up work is the Darth Vader of college.

Don’t Procrastinate

Yeah, yeah. We’ve all heard it. But it actually is important. When I took Econ 101, I was surprised by how many people bombed all of the exams. Alternatively, I didn’t think it was so bad and did fairly well. What was the difference between us? The difference was that I kept up with my studying every day. I never procrastinated for more than a day. That way, when it came time to study for an exam, I didn’t have to cover as much material as other people. They weren’t able to “relearn” it all in time (it was a lot!) and didn’t do well on the test. On the other hand, I didn’t keep up that well for my accounting class and it was not so fun studying for 24 hours straight when I could have studied for one hour every day for 24 days. Trust me, there are better ways of doing things. Use the force! The force of your will that is.

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Like all things, time management is a fine skill that takes practice. If you fail a couple of times, don’t worry about it. It’s only a blimp in the past. But if you learn how to hone these skills, the better life can be, and the more you can get out of it. Just remember to put your physical, mental, and spiritual health first! If you don’t have these, you have nothing!

Happy time-crunching friends!

Heels Away From Home

You may have been excited to start college (I was!), but then as you watched your parents drive away from you, or you drove away from them in the driveway, an intense feeling of dread might have kicked in. No one is quick to admit it, but homesickness is a thing, a very real thing! And contrary to what the moniker might entail, it doesn’t really have much to do with your home, or the physical place you lived.

Home is Where the Heart Is

In an article published by CNN, Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at University of Alabama explains that homesickness “stems from our instinctive need for love, protection and security — feelings and qualities usually associated with home” (Ho).

So even though your dorm might be bland, your mattress is lumpy, and your roommate is weird…those aren’t really the reasons why you’re so sad all of a sudden and want to go home. What you really miss is just your family and friends!

It doesn’t mean you’re a baby! It means you’re human. So if you’re feeling guilty about this, don’t! It’s perfectly natural.

Know you’re not alone…

‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home! In the words of the great Phillip Phillips, settle down it will all be clear. Everyone is homesick at first (even if they don’t say it) and you have people to talk to! The most important thing is that you find each other and share these feelings. Talk with your roommate and bond over your favorite things from back home.

Friends are the Medicine

If homesickness is from our instinctive need for love, then the best solution is just to find your new family. Your friends are what make your Carolina experience great and what will make UNC your new home. Don’t shut yourself in your room and just watch Friends on Netflix while crying about the good ol’ times. Get out there! Meet people! Go eat on Franklin with your suite or introduce yourself to your next door neighbors! You will find that as soon as you find your school family, you won’t be so homesick anymore because you are home!

Not to mention, our residential communities always have fun things going on like parties, free food give-aways, game nights, and more! Take advantage of these opportunities to have a good time!

Decor Galore

You’d be surprised by how much decorating your room like your room at home or anything else cozy can make you feel a lot better!

Don’t Forget Your Roots

Just because you’re having a good time in college doesn’t mean you should give up on your old friends and family! Keep in touch with them because they miss you too! (Especially your parents, seriously!) Skype is a great way to catch up! Once a month, have a Skype date, and share your current adventures! This will help any residual homesickness!

If You Still Feel Alone…

Carolina has a lot of resources that can help you improve your mental health. CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) are a great resource available to all students at UNC. They are committed to helping you!

Check it out: https://campushealth.unc.edu/services/counseling-and-psychological-services

Your RA is also a great option! They are basically like your mom. But cooler. 😉

If All Else Fails…

Visit home. It takes the strongest person to say they need a break. Take a weekend, have your mom hug you, and pack you some food to remind you of home. You’ll come back feeling rejuvenated and ready to try again!

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Don’t stress too much about homesickness. Once you get into your studies, you won’t even have enough time to think about it. As someone who left the nest early to go to boarding school, I understand how scary it can be. It only took a week for me to find my family and start calling my school home. The real problems is when you go back home for the summer and then start telling your parents you want to go home.

“You are at home!”

“No! Carolina, home.”

If you ever need anyone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me or the rest of the bloggers! You can never have enough friends!

CNN article:  http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/08/16/homesickness.not.about.home/index.html

The official student blog about life in campus housing at UNC Chapel Hill