Finding a Roommate

Looks can be deceiving

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My roommate and me (right)

Roommates. Ah, this can be one of the best things in college…or the experience that some of you are dreading. For those of you who have never shared a room or lived with someone who isn’t your family member, don’t worry. This is part of the college experience, for better or for worse. With that said, I bet that you can make just about anything work if you just put some effort into it.

Like I said in a different blog post, I was assigned to Teague my first year with a random roommate. I could have roomed with someone from high school, but I decided that I would give potluck a whirl.

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Recycling and Trash During Move-In

Carolina green

Recycling bins
Carolina blue goes best with green. Don't forget to recycle!

Moving in takes a lot of packing, boxes, bags, and duffels. Chances are that when you move in to your room, you are going to create some trash. Imagine what move-in would look like if everyone just threw away all of their boxes and bags and left things in the hallways. Trust me, it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.

Carolina is known for being a very beautiful campus. When you move in, your residence hall will have been decorated by the RA staff and will be clean for your arrival. Please try and keep things clean. No one likes moving in or living in a mess. You should find a recycling bin in your room when arrive. Please use it.

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What to pack

Should I bring this?

Packing can be super-stressful when you are trying to figure out how to move your whole life into one room that you have to share with someone you might have never met. Those who know how to pack best are those who pack smart – this means that you don’t bring every little thing that has been in the room you’ve had since you were three.

Residence hall rooms aren’t meant to be storage closets. Bring the essentials and the finishing touches that make your room feel like home, but you are going to have to leave things at home.

First things first – check out the list of things are ok to bring with you and the list of things that are NOT allowed in the residence hall rooms. There is no point in taking up extra space in the minivan with things that are just going to have to go back home.

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Campus Resources

Photo of a student recieving help
It is easy to receive help on campus; you just have to ask.

Resources, resources, resources

If I tried to tell you about all of the Housing and other on-campus resources in this one blog post, I’d be typing for a very long time. Hopefully that says to you that there are lots of resources here at UNC! Tons, really. Looking for help in any way, shape or form? There is an on-campus resource for that.

For the sake of time and reading on your part, I’m going to compile a list (that is in no way totally complete because I probably won’t even get to the 600+ student organizations that can be amazingly helpful). If you are interested in knowing more about any of these, click the links.

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Mmmmm….food!

Carolina Dining meal plans offer variety and convenience

Everyone’s gotta eat, and what’s really nice about UNC is that there are always places to grab a bite. There are two main dining halls on campus where your meal plan will get you into: Top of Lenoir Hall on North Campus right next to the pit and Rams Head Dining Hall on South Campus which is in the Rams Head Plaza. You should get to eat in Lenoir when you come for Orientation, so that visit will give you a taste for what to look for in Lenoir.

Now I could tell you about dining hall hours and what kind of tax savings you can get when you purchase a plan, but what I really think you should know is where the hidden gems are within the on-campus dining locations, and a few delicacies that everyone on UNC’s campus should order from Franklin Street and beyond.

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Making the Transition from High School to College

High school is over

College is the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Yes, I know that sounds awfully like a greeting card or a sappy graduation speech, but it’s so true. I’m nowhere close to the same person I was when I got to UNC. I really have become a better version of myself.  How did this happen? I was able to hold onto the great things about high school, while realizing that high school was over and that I needed to really let some things go. It can be hard because, for some people, they have been going to school with the same friends since pre-school. Now, they are splitting up and going to different colleges. It’s definitely a balancing act, but you can do it.

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The many benefits of living on campus

Why live on campus?

I know living on campus is now required for nearly everyone for their first year at UNC, but that’s a really good thing. Whether you choose to stay on campus for one year or four years, on-campus housing really does have things that you will take with you for the rest of your life. Friends, memories, experiences, relationships.

Coming into UNC in the fall of 2007, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found myself in Teague Residence Hall, part of Parker Community. I didn’t request to live there. It wasn’t even one of my preferences, but I didn’t really know much about living on campus, so I packed up my stuff and headed down the mountain (I’m from Boone, NC) to the Piedmont.

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Decorating Your Room

photo of Craige Residence Hall
Room in Craige Residence Hall

Be your own designer

If you are anything like my suitemates from this past year, you will obsess over what your room next year is going to look like. Hannah and Rachel took measurements of all the furniture in the room and created a graph paper model that was to scale. They would spend hours upon hours rearranging the 2 inch rectangles to create the ideal room. I got tired watching them sometimes. But, they finally came up with a plan they liked and are really excited for their room next year.

I realize that their plan of attack is a bit much for some of you and that they had quite the advantage, having access to furniture measurements and the room itself. But if you are someone who really loves to plan ahead, don’t worry. There are plenty of resources online that can help you out. Each community page has floor plans so that you can find your room and look at measurements. There are pictures of rooms on the Housing Facebook page so you can get decorating ideas.

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Transportation Around Campus

Bike, hike or bus

Chapel Hill Transit

UNC’s campus might just be one of the most beautiful campuses that this country has to offer. Yes, I’m completely biased and anyone from Duke or Wake or Elon will tell you differently. Don’t listen to them. There really is just something about the way that trees bloom as you walk to class through Polk Place on an early April morning (Brendan James, anyone? – he went to UNC). Ah, it’s just lovely.

As with any campus, there are many ways to get around. Walking is, by far, the most common way to get from place to place. Carolina is a very pedestrian-friendly place. When crossing South Road to get to class in the morning from south campus, there are crossing guards at peak hours to make sure that traffic gets through as well as students.

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Sharing a Bathroom

Sharing is caring

No matter where you live on campus during your first year at Carolina, you will have to share your bathroom. It’s just gonna happen. And – to be completely honest – it’s not even that difficult.

So many incoming first-years that I have talked to or hear about fear sharing bathrooms. Well, ok, incoming first-year females mostly. Guys, I guess you don’t tend to spend as much time in the bathroom. I hope that this message will assuage your anxiety and worries.

Sharing a bathroom won’t be the end of the world. For the most part, you won’t even think too much about it. Yes, you will have to wait to take a shower at least once during the year. Yes, you might have to share a sink to brush your teeth. But that won’t happen all the time.

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