Tag Archives: first-year

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!

 

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.

Room(ie) For You

How to share your home away from home.

Ah, the start of back-to-school season.

The idea of having a roommate is probably starting to sink in.

If you’re nervous- don’t worry! I asked some fellow Heels for some advice about what they’ve learned from living from a roommate, and what knowledge they could pass on to you.

This is a picture of my roommate and I… It was Halloween okay don’t judge!!!

Getting to know your roommate

“In some way, get into a conversation where you start talking about T.V. shows or music. And that’s a really good icebreaker because it’s just like, everyone likes music or T.V.” -Joy L.

It seems like there’s a lot of pressure to make the perfect first impression for your roommate. Every person engages in the media in some way, so you’re bound to find a way to bond. You can learn a lot about your roommate from their tastes, and potentially find your new favorite band!

Setting Boundaries with your roommate

“Honestly, communication is so important.You can’t expect that every person is going to be just like you- everyone is different. Everyone has their own quirks, everyone has their own preferences. I’ve made this mistake before- I keep things to myself. But that’s the wrong way to do it ’cause your roommate isn’t a mindreader, you know?” -Fania K.

One of the hardest situations all roommates will face is the inevitable boundary talk. Whether through the RA-given roommate agreement or independently, it’s going to be slightly awkward. Some of the boundaries you set may seem like second nature, but as Fania pointed out, your roommate isn’t a mind reader. Talking out all of rules now will save for a way more awkward conversation later.

Living with someone you already know

“Just be flexible with what happens. Even if you have known [your roommate] for a while, you probably haven’t lived with them. So if you’re rooming with someone that, like, maybe you knew from high school or something- be wary about that. Because that’s when you kind of see, like, a new side to them.” -Jacob P.

Though Jacob’s advice may seem a bit ominous, there is some truth to it. A lot of people who decide to room with a high school friend don’t realize that people are different at home than they are at school. Don’t have a set idea of how your roommate will act in a living situation, and be understanding to the new side you’ll see of your roommate.

Living with someone you don’t agree with

“Don’t take things to heart. Like, don’t be very reactive. ‘Cause, a lot of times people grow up in different environments and so they probably have different ways of communicating.” -Joy L.

You may find that you and your roommate can’t help but be at odds with one another. Joy’s advice is useful with people whose views you don’t agree with in general. Basically, be empathetic and be respectful. Even if you and your roommate don’t mesh well, you won’t run into much trouble if you act like a decent human being.

You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but knowing how to live with your roommate can make college less stressful than it has to be.

Picking each other up when we’re feeling down… that’s what froomies are for!!!

 

COGO or No Go?

Joining COGO will not only help you succeed in college, but in the real world too.

What is COGO? COGO, an affectionate name for community government, is the child of the parent organization, Residence Hall Association. Every residential community on campus has one and it’s tasked with building and bringing together the community, coordinating fun events for the students, and enhancing our existing amenities. After the Governor is elected at the beginning of the year, they choose the rest of the team, and they get started!

A few months back, we interviewed a member of community government turned college graduate on how his participation in COGO helped him in his job at Oracle in Austin, TX. You can find that interview here: http://reslife.web.unc.edu/2017/02/28/why-you-should-join-community-government/

This time, I’ll give you my personal account on how being the marketing manager for my COGO has impacted my life and what you should consider before diving in headfirst!

Why did you first join co-go?

In case you hadn’t noticed, UNC is ginormous. We have more than 29,000 undergraduate students and we’re somehow supposed to find friends? Being a part of a smaller community was important to me and I thought COGO would be a good way to meet people and actually make an impact on our huge campus. Also, let’s be honest, as First-Years, we don’t really get that many leadership opportunities thrown at us even though we need them. I felt COGO was a good way to get started.

How has COGO helped your college career so far?

Being the marketing manager for my COGO has really made an impact not only on my resume, but on my soft skills as well. This is almost a full time job (except we don’t get paid :/ ) and that leaves you with so much experience. As someone who is pursuing marketing, I really learned a lot more about branding, advertising, and social media. Beyond that, I learned what it meant to be part of a team. We had our failures and successes and we learned how to handle it all and handle it together. These are skills that I will definitely need in the future. All of my experience has helped me get internships and other leadership positions on campus. Employers like school involvement! Shocker!

What were some things you did?

As Marketing Manager, I really controlled the advertising part of our COGO. If there was an event, I decided how to market it. This involved designing flyers, designing logos, posting on social media, and managing all of our free stuff (you know, the important stuff!). If you got a T-Shirt from Craige last year, that was created by me in conjunction with some other team-members.

Favorite Cogo Memory?

I loved planning all our events with my team members but my favorite memory was our end of the year dinner. It took us a whole semester to get comfortable with each other so when we were finally able to sit down and talk about stuff other than COGO, it was amazing. We have so many different personalities but we all got along great. I loved my COGO family and if you join a COGO you’ll love yours.

What are some things you wish you knew before you started?

Something that’s important to know about COGO is that it can easily feel like a “thankless job.” It’s those days when they thank the RAs for what WE do (we are not associated with the RAs in any way shape or form), when people ask “what’s COGO?”, and when people just come down to grab the food and skip the actual event. It’s days like those where you wonder why you even do it. Yet, you’re still feeding someone, they’re still grateful for it, even if they don’t say it. You still plan awesome events, and people do enjoy them. Maybe we’ve saved them from one hour of boredom. That’s good enough for me, fam. Most days. 😛

Best part of Cogo?

Hands down, it’s the people you’ll meet. I loved my team members, I loved my CD, I loved the residents I met (especially those who thanked me), I loved the other members of different cogos, I loved our Exec Officers, and I loved the RAs who helped us. COGO members are some of the most selfless and generous people you’ll meet and I am so glad I met them.

Any negatives?

Depending on the position you have, you might have more work than other COGO members. We’re still kids, so sometimes we drop the ball. If you’re the only one keeping the ball up, don’t get angry. It happens!

Advice for people involved in or looking to get involved in cogo?

Meet the governor and apply for as many positions as possible. Even if you don’t feel you have enough experience, there’s a position for you in there somewhere!

#JoinCogo

If you have any questions feel free to shoot us a comment below!

 

 

The Coolest Room Ever

It’s time to release your inner HGTV

The dog days of summer can often leave you longing for school to start. You may find yourself thinking about a time when there were things to do and people to do things with. Whenever I find myself in these moods, I like to anticipate the start of the next school year by looking at possible rooms themes for next semester. Weird, I know, but everyone has different ways of coping.

UNC Housing has a Pinterest with a variety of different boards you can look through if you are thinking about turning your room into your own cozy nook. Here are a few of my favorite themes from the Pinterest:

Movie Magic

I like to think of myself as a movie fanatic, so I actually may try this theme next semester. Exchange your tapestry for a screen, and you have yourself a home theater!  Plus, life is so much better when you feel like you’re the protagonist of your own film.

Music 

This theme is for those of you who have to live with background music at all times. Cover the wall with all of your favorite albums and records, and surely you’ll find other people with the same music taste.

Boho Chic

This theme doesn’t take much effort at all. In fact, effortlessness is a part of the look! This theme is pretty simple and thrives on fairy lights, earth tones, and tapestries. With this theme you can finally live out your dreams of being the young vagabond artist you’ve always wanted to be.

Adventure Is Out There!

The use of Washi Tape in this picture is pretty ingenious

I love traveling, so I decorated my room with this theme in mind last year. Whenever I felt stuck inside the “college bubble”, this theme reminded me that there was so much beyond Chapel Hill. I had a huge map posted against my wall, and every day I woke up feeling like I could conquer the world. If you’re thinking of investing in a map, my advice is to find one you can read from your bed. You’ll be surprised by how many countries you can memorize by the end of the year!

Remember not to stress over the “look” of your room come August. Your room is definitely a part of living on campus, but it’s more than the decorations that make the residence experience great.

Don’t Rain on Our Parade!

10 ways to make even the worst days seem dry and fly!

Welcome to Carolina, the place where the skies are always Carolina blue and the sunshine is always shining! For a few minutes.

Let’s be real for a second- the weather down south can be a *bit* temperamental, which means that the outdoor barbecue you were planning could be ruined by a torrential downpour if you aren’t lucky. Nevertheless, the great thing about living on campus is that even when it’s dark, dreary, and wet outside, residence halls are always LIT on the inside! 😉 Know what I’m saying? Here are 10 ideas for you to try out the next time a tropical storm comes hurtling up the coast.

1. Go Outside!

I know y’all think I’m some sort of crazy for suggesting this, but I have seen plenty of people who actually choose to stay outside in the rain. As long as the clouds aren’t wearing their thunderware and lightning belts, it can be fun to just play in the rain, and literally let nature wash your problems away.

2. Food n’ Friends

When it’s raining cats and dogs out and you don’t feel like taking a shower on your way to Rams, have a potluck dinner with your friends. Have everyone chip in whatever food you guys have in the fridge, get together on your floor’s kitchen, and just have a good time cooking and chatting over some homemade food! It could be one of your favorite memories one day.

3. Netflix and Pizza

When it’s thundering outside, cozy on up inside. Grab your suite mates, pitch in for a pizza, and binge watch you some House of Cards. Or the Office. Or Sense 8. All Housing Intern approved. Don’t have Netflix? Did you know that by living on campus you get free access to HBOGo? Well you do now! HOUSE OF THRONES GUYS, go, go, GO!

4. Take a Nap!

Don’t feel like doing anything? This one is easy. Just curl up in bed and catch up on your ZZZZZs. The soft pitter patter of rain on your windows will lull you to sleep.

5. Yoga Time

Rain is zen, and you should be too. Get in touch with nature AND yourself by doing some downward dog. Stressed about an upcoming midterm or final? Pro tip: The bridge pose (https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/bridge-pose) is great for releasing anxiety!

6. Game Night

Residence Halls are equipped with an arsenal of enhancements! I’m talking video games, board games, and rec room games. For example, Craige Residence Hall not only has a pool table, ping pong table, and air hockey table, it it also has an XBOX 360. Use these to your advantage! Go have some fun!

7. Spa Night

Listen, we’re all stressed. We go to one of the best universities in the country! Stress causes wrinkles. Treat yo’ skin by doing some facials. Put those cucumbers on your eyes and get rid of bags! It can be so relaxing. Turn your night in into a spa night!

8. Arts n’ Craft

Sometimes, you just have to paint something. It can be super fun to break out the scissors and glue stuff with your roommates. Plus, your room could always use some more decorating. Peep some ideas on our Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/unchousing/)!

9. Karaoke Night

Go on YouTube, load up your favorite songs, and have a good time belting it out with your friends. Heck, invite people you don’t know! There is no better bonding than badly rapping to Chance the Rapper. Pro Tip: Check if your residence hall has a karaoke machine in storage!

10. Working Out

Okay, this probably isn’t as much fun as a choice as eating pizza, BUT if you have free time, why not make some gains? Do squats, work on the booty, and thank me later. 😉 It’s still better than studying!

 

I could go on and on with fun things to do. Just because the sky is crying, doesn’t mean you have to also! It’s always a good day to be living in Carolina, rain or shine!

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

Pros and Cons for the Biggest Decision of Your Life

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

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

Meal Plan

Pros

  1. Convenient as Heck

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

  2. Friend Hack

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

  3. Theme Nights

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

  4. All You Can Eat

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

Cons

  1. Empty pockets?

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

  2. Surplus Meals

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

  3. Not available? Out of luck!

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

  4. Freshman 15

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

No Meal Plan

Pros

  1. Learn to Cook

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

  2. Make it Rain

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

  3. Eat When You Want

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

Cons

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

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

  2. Where is Harris Teeter?

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

  3. Missing Out

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

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

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

Check it out @ http://dining.unc.edu/

First Year Experience Halls At A Glance

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

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

I know what you’re thinking at this point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading First Year Experience Halls At A Glance

Dear Out of State Students,

Sup! Or as people here like to say.. Hey, how are y’all doing?

So you’ve decided to leave your home state and become a Tar Heel, huh? Whether you’ve crossed an ocean, the whole country, or simply a state border, congratulations! You’ve made it here now, and you’re part of the 18% that aren’t North Carolinian!

While that number may seem smaller than a dook heart (we’re talkin’ very small), it’s more than it seems and more than enough to make you feel at home. If you’re not from the South, one thing you’ll quickly learn about it is its spirit of welcome, manners, and warmth. As you grow a new sense of home here, those features of the South are definitely your friends.

Before the fall, I hadn’t given going out of state any thought, hadn’t even considered the change of Southern culture. After all, I was coming from only two states away! No big deal, right? Well, gonna be honest here, not expecting things to be different resulted in culture shock hitting me like a biology textbook in the face.

Continue reading Dear Out of State Students,

The Uncheck List: 10 Things Not to Bring

It’s now only one month till move-in (!!!!), which means the thought of dorm shopping has probably crossed your mind two or three times. Or fifty, if you’re as nervous and clueless as I was last year.

While superstores are jumping to protest how you need need need the million decor options they offer, let’s set the record straight. The secret to packing for college is actually to avoid overpacking, which will leave your room cramped and your wallet cranky.

Here are 10 things I promise you’re better off leaving at home or on the shelf:

  1. T-shirts

Continue reading The Uncheck List: 10 Things Not to Bring