Tag Archives: first-year

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

Meet the Bloggers: Clara Wong

13235586_1085607684832653_4939146883967631036_oSup. If you’re looking for Clara Wong, you found me! If you’re not, well, you found me anyway.

Tell us about yourself!

I hail from Clarksburg, MD (reppin’ the DMV!) (that is not the Department of Motor Vehicles, thank you for asking) and am a rising Sophomore double-majoring in Journalism (Advertising) and Pre-Business.

 

Where did you live your first year? What did you like about it?

As a first-year, I made my humble abode in Craige Residence Hall. The perks were definitely not having to clean the bathroom and the proximity to the business school (great for first-years with classes or clubs there!). Having the social adeptness of a wild mushroom, I was initially hesitant about living suite-style in one of the most populated first-year dorms, but the social atmosphere turned out to be perfect for nudging me towards meeting other Tar Heels.

 

What have you been up to on campus and what else do you wish you had done?

I’m a part of Summit College, Chinese Language Community, and Build the Hill. Whatever you’re passionate or just curious about, there’s going to be a club for it at Carolina. For me, these activities reflect my enthusiasm for East Asian culture, my faith, and economic empowerment for the disadvantaged. While I’m a strong believer in a life philosophy of #noragrets, I wish I had spent more time participating in rallies or marches, attempting to be artsy, or just sleeping on the quad.

 

What is on your UNC bucket list?

Before I graduate, my heart says “try every restaurant on Franklin street” or “study abroad”, but my wallet suggests “play Squirtle in the Bynum Circle fountain” or “order a 20 oz. Tough Guy Chai” instead.

 

Random Cliches!

Favorite ways to destress: Museum hopping, blowing bubbles, indulging in me3baked goods

Deserted Island Item: Egg (Might as well die happy and well-fed)

Favorite artists: Oh Wonder, the xx, Twenty One Pilots

 

Entertain my virtual mailbox at wongcl@live.unc.edu and be my friend!

 

See you around the blog,

Clara Wong

RLPs at a Glance

Imagine living with a community of students who are all passionate about the same thing as you. Pretty cool, right? Residential Learning Programs (RLPs) offer all of the perks of living on-campus, with the added benefit of a unique educational experience right in the comfort of your own home. If you’re looking to become more involved at UNC, make friends who share your interests, or further explore your academic passions, an RLP may be for you! Read on for a brief description of each program—if one catches your eye, click the name for more details.

Chinese House

Located in Carmichael, Chinese House offers residents the chance to practice their Chinese speaking skills on a regular basis. Through conversational hours, service projects, and social activities, you’ll build your fluency while learning more about the Chinese culture. If you’re planning on majoring or minoring in Chinese or studying abroad in China, this RLP will provide a helpful immersion experience!

Members of the Sustainability RLP bond over a game of sand volleyball!
Members of the Sustainability RLP bond over a game of sand volleyball!

Transfer United

Also housed in Carmichael, Transfer United helps junior transfers make new friends and transition to life at Carolina. As a member of this RLP, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in mentorship programs, attend social events, and take on leadership roles within the transfer student community.

Pride Place

The newest RLP, Pride Place will be housed in Cobb and aims to provide a safe, inclusive, and welcoming community for LGBTQ+ residents. As a member, you’ll engage in conversations about diversity, self-identity, and healthy communication while building friendships with your neighbors.

Spanish House

Similar to Chinese House, Spanish House provides residents with frequent immersion opportunities. As a member of this RLP, you’ll live in Craige North and participate in cultural development activities, social programs, and service projects like tutoring or translating. If you’re taking a Spanish course or already have some experience with the language, Spanish House is the perfect to further explore your interest in the culture.

Balance volunteered at the Carolina Campus Community Garden as a service project.
Balance volunteered at the Carolina Campus Community Garden as a service project.

UNITAS

Co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and APPLES service-learning, UNITAS is located in Ehringhaus and centers around sociocultural diversity. Members of this RLP take two 3-hour courses—one per semester—with their fellow residents, as well as participate in a semester-long service-learning project. If you’re passionate about topics surrounding diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation, UNITAS may be for you!

Balance

Located in Joyner, Balance focuses on all eight dimensions of wellness, including physical, social, and emotional. As a member of this RLP, you’ll learn about each dimension through frequent educational and social events, from retreats to sports tournaments. Residents also commit to fostering an inclusive and healthy environment within the community.

Service & Leadership

If you’re passionate about public service and community service, this RLP provides plenty of opportunities to develop your leadership skills in these areas. Residents complete service hours, participate in a social change workshop, and take an APPLES service-learning course, all while living together in Hinton James.

WELL residents get ready to take a group field trip off campus!
WELL residents get ready to take a group field trip off campus!

WELL: Women Experiencing Learning and Leadership

WELL aims to provide residents with the chance to build friendships, leadership skills, and an appreciation of their gender expression and identity. While living in McIver, members of this RLP attend retreats and training sessions, complete a women’s studies course, and participate in community service activities.

Sustainability


It’s easy being green when you’re a member of this RLP—residents participate in seminars, social and educational events, and service projects centered around the environment and other systemic issues. Housed in Morrison, the Sustainability RLP offers plenty of opportunities for discussion and hands-on work within the community, including documentary screenings, park clean-ups, group dinners, and guest speakers.

Want to join an RLP? First-years, transfers, and returning students can all apply—the deadline for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors is March 1, while new students are eligible once you’ve accepted admission. Just follow these instructions, and you’ll be on your way to living in one of these unique academic communities!

Tar Heel Transportation: Getting Around Campus

You leave your room in Hinton James, head to class in Carroll Hall, eat lunch at Lenoir, circle back to another class in Genome Sciences, work out at the SRC, return to Hinton James, then go to dinner with friends on Franklin…the daily life of a Carolina student involves plenty of rushing around campus. While UNC is pretty walkable, sometimes you need a quicker way to get around. Read on to learn about transportation on campus, plus a few tips on how to make walking more enjoyable!

All of the Chapel Hill transit buses are free for students.
All of the Chapel Hill transit buses are free for students.

Take the Bus

A, D, F, J, S, T…the long list of bus routes can seem like a confusing bowl of alphabet soup. Which one should you get on? Luckily, you’ll only need to know three routes to get anywhere on campus—you’ll be thankful you’ve mastered them when it’s 20 degrees outside or you have to get from Craige to the Hanes Art Center in 20 minutes.

• RU: The RU (Reverse Shuttle) runs counterclockwise, so you’ll usually ride it from South Campus to North. Hop on at the stop next to the sand volleyball courts by Hinton James or outside Ehringhaus and Koury, and you can get off by Fetzer Gym, the Union and Davis Library, or the Old Well.

• U: The U (Campus Shuttle) runs clockwise, but you may ride it toward North or South Campus depending on where you’re trying to go. Popular stops include Horton, the Dean Dome (close to the business school), the Hinton James sand volleyball courts, Student Stores, the ROTC building (across from the FedEx Global Center), Hanes Art Center, and Franklin Street.

• P2P: The P2P runs counterclockwise every night from 7pm to 4am, so you’ll never have to worry about making it back to your residence hall safely. The shuttle stops at Ehringhaus and Koury, Hinton James, and Public Safety (between Morrison/Hardin and Craige/Craige North), and takes you toward Franklin Street and Granville Towers.

You can check out a Tar Heel Bike for free at any of the South Campus high-rise residence halls!
You can check out a Tar Heel Bike for free at any of the South Campus high-rise residence halls!

Pro tip: download the NextBus or EZ Chapel Hill Transit apps. With these handy programs, you can bookmark your most-used bus stops and see how many minutes remain until the next bus arrives. Check out the bus and P2P routes online for the full list of stops!

Ride a Bike

Biking is another quick way to get around campus—plus, you’ll get some great exercise. (They don’t call it Chapel Hill for nothing!) If you bring a bike, you’ll want to purchase a sturdy U-lock and register it for free with the Department of Public Safety to protect against theft.

Don’t have your own wheels? The Residence Hall Association sponsors a program called Tar Heel Bikes, where you can check out a bike from the Hinton James, Craige, Ehringhaus, or Morrison community office for free with your OneCard!

Walking gives you the chance to spend time with friends and enjoy the beautiful sights on campus!
Walking gives you the chance to spend time with friends and enjoy the beautiful sights on campus!

Walk

Fall weather is coming! While the trek from South Campus can be miserable in the sweltering heat, crisp mornings and scenic autumn leaves are on the way. In the meantime, hiking around campus all day is an awesome workout, and you can make it more enjoyable by listening to music, setting a goal for the number of steps you take per day using an app or a Fitbit, or walking with friends.

Whether you decide to walk to and from North Campus every day, or you give up on that plan and start taking the bus after the first month (I may or may not speak from personal experience…), there are plenty of ways to get around campus. Don’t hesitate to try them all and figure out which works best for you!

Residence Hall How-To’s: Doing Laundry

You’ve been living in your residence hall for a week or two, and you notice your laundry hamper filling up quickly. Your mom is not around to conveniently wash, dry, fold, and deliver your clothes right to your room, and you only have a few more days before you’ll have to resort to wearing long-sleeved shirts and sweatpants in the middle of August. The time has come—you have to do your first load of laundry. Whether you’ve never done your own laundry before or you’re just unfamiliar with the on-campus machines, save yourself a call home from the laundry room with this how-to guide.

laundry

Washing Your Clothes

1. Load your clothes into the washer, taking note of the machine number.

2. Open the black plastic lid on top of the machine, and pour detergent and fabric softener into the labeled compartments.

3. Walk over to the electronic box on the wall and swipe your OneCard (one wash cycle costs $1). Push the machine number, and keep pressing Enter until you see your remaining balance.

4. Return to the machine, and select a fabric setting. I usually choose Bright Colors for my regular load of laundry and Delicates and Knits for nicer, more fragile shirts. Once you press a button, your wash cycle will begin!

Drying Your Clothes

1. Load your clothes into the dryer, taking note of the machine number, and add a dryer sheet.

2. Swipe your OneCard at the electronic box on the wall (one dry cycle costs $0.50). Push the machine number, and choose how many extra dry cycles you want (one extra is recommended, for a total cost of $1). Keep pressing Enter until you see your remaining balance.

3. Return to the machine, and select a fabric setting. I pick Whites and Brights for my regular load of laundry, hanging my more delicate shirts to dry in my room. Once you press a button, your dry cycle will start!

Other Tips and Tricks

1. One wash cycle takes between 35 to 40 minutes to complete, while two dry cycles takes an hour. The laundry rooms can get busy, so take out your clothes on time—or somebody may take them out for you!

2. On the flip side, if you’ve been waiting by a completed washing machine for more than 10 minutes, it’s okay to take the clothes out. Some residents will just place them on top of the machine, but it’s nice to be polite and put them in a dryer.

3. Nothing’s worse than trekking down from the 10th floor of Hinton James only to find that all the laundry machines are full! The OneCard CaroLaundry website shows you which machines are available in each residence hall and allows you to set up email or text notifications when your laundry cycle is done.

Don’t let doing laundry for the first time intimidate you—once you know how the machines work, washing and drying your clothes is a piece of cake!

Weekends on Campus: What to Do?

The countdown to move-in has begun, and you’re busy shopping for supplies, texting your roommate, and signing up for classes. However, what happens after you’ve settled in? As a first-year student (or even a returning one), weekends are the prime time to explore, meet new people, and really make UNC feel like home. When Friday arrives, stick around and try one of these 5 activities right on campus!

Hundreds of residents attended the RHA Silent Disco.
Hundreds of residents attended the RHA Silent Disco.

1. See a movie at the Union: Going to the movie theater on a regular basis is expensive (even with that handy student discount) and nearly impossible without your own transportation. Luckily, you don’t need cash or a car to see a film with your friends! Almost every Friday and Saturday night, the Union shows movies in the auditorium, free with your OneCard. The best part? Most of the films are new releases that just left theaters—last semester, the selection included Mockingjay, Gone Girl, Big Hero 6, and Interstellar.

2. Attend a Residence Hall Association (RHA) program: RHA provides fun, unique events for on-campus residents, from laser tag to a Silent Disco. (Picture a dance where everybody is listening to music on headphones!) Your residence hall’s Community Government, as part of RHA, will also host occasional weekend programs like cookouts or carnivals. Don’t get stuck eating Easy Mac in your room on a Friday evening—follow RHA and your community on social media to stay informed on upcoming events. Most of them offer some kind of free food!

The student section at football games is usually packed!
The student section at football games is usually packed!

3. Cheer on the Tar Heels at a game: Whether you just wear a UNC T-shirt or paint yourself Carolina blue from head-to-toe, watching the Tar Heels play is always exciting. Most Saturdays in the fall semester are football game days, and in the spring semester, basketball. However, I’ve also seen volleyball, soccer, and field hockey—less popular sporting events are usually still packed with students and often give out free T-shirts! Sign up for the Carolina Fever email listserv to learn which teams are playing each week. Attending games earns you Fever points, which can win you prizes ranging from water bottles to coveted basketball tickets.

4. Check out Campus Rec: Work out, try a group fitness class like cycle or yoga, swim laps at the indoor pool, play pick-up basketball—Campus Rec has something for everyone. My first year, my roommate and I were bored one Sunday afternoon and decided to visit the racquetball courts. We ended up just hitting the ball around more than actually playing by the rules, but it was definitely a fun stress reliever.

Staying in with friends can sometimes be the most fun of all.
Staying in with friends can sometimes be the most fun of all.

5. Hang out in your residence hall: When you’ve had a long week or the weather is bad, your own residence hall offers plenty to do—you can check out cookware, board games, DVDs, and more from the community office. Sometimes, the best memories are made by rounding up a group of friends and spending the evening inside baking cupcakes, laughing over Cards Against Humanity, or having a ping-pong tournament. In fact, one of my favorite moments this year was playing Just Dance on the game room Xbox with my friends on a snowy night.

When Friday comes around, you may be tempted to head home, but staying on campus those first few weekends is vital to making friends and becoming a part of the Carolina community. So, stick around and try one of these fun activities. You’ll soon look forward to spending weekends at UNC—there’s always something to do!

To Bring or Not To Bring

The aisles of Target are stacked high with plastic storage bins and laundry baskets. Your mom drags you to Bed Bath & Beyond for the third time with a checklist longer than the walk from Hinton James to Franklin Street. Yep…college shopping season has arrived.

Getting everything you need before move-in day can be overwhelming. You have the basics (twin XL sheets, microfridge, alarm clock), but some things you don’t realize you need until you arrive on campus. When you’re loading up your parents’ minivan, make sure you have these 10 often overlooked items!

1. Umbrella: Chapel Hill, North Carolina—where the weather can switch from 10% chance of rain to 100% chance of thunderstorms in the time it takes you to walk to the bus stop right outside your residence hall (I speak from personal experience). Sitting in a cramped lecture hall soaking wet is no fun, so keep a small, portable umbrella in your backpack.

2. Lysol wipes: When one person on your floor gets sick, EVERYONE on your floor gets sick. Fight the inevitable campus-wide cold by wiping your doorknobs, desk, and other germ-ridden surfaces with Lysol wipes. You’ll also need them if you’re living in a residence hall where you have to clean your own bathroom (Koury, Horton, Craige North, and Hardin).

Professional Clothes

3. Professional clothes: Athletic shorts and T-shirts may as well be the UNC student uniform, but you’ll have to get dressed up more often than you’d think. Pack a business suit and a few business casual outfits for career fairs, on-campus job interviews, student organization meetings, etc.

4. Shower shoes: When you’re sharing a bathroom with 7 (or more) other people, you’re going to want something between your feet and the floor. Stop by Old Navy and pick up a few pairs of $2 flip-flops!

5. School supplies: College is still school, after all! Unlike in high school, though, your professors won’t care what you use to stay organized. I keep it simple with an accordion file for papers, a five-subject notebook (one section for each class), pens, and pencils.

Dinnerware

6. Dinnerware: Bring a plate, bowl, mug, spoon, and fork for those days when you’re not feeling Rams Head for dinner or you want to heat up some leftovers. Also, most residence hall programs are “bring your own bowl/mug/etc.”, so don’t get stuck using a paper towel as a plate for your pancakes!

7. Desk fan: I can’t sleep without my desk fan—the white noise drowns out loud floormates and slamming doors, or conversely, keeps the room from being too quiet. Not to mention, you’ll want a way to cool off after walking back from class in the 90-degree late summer heat.

8. Reusable water bottle: Don’t forget to stay hydrated! I fill up my water bottle every morning at Top of Lenoir, and most residence halls (and the Union) have water fountains with bottle attachments.

Surge Protector

9. Small duffel bag: Club sports, student organizations, church groups, and other things you may decide to join sometimes travel. Whether you’re going on an overnight trip or just heading home for the weekend, you’ll need something to pack your stuff in.

10. Power strip/surge protector: The number of wall outlets is limited, especially when you’re sharing the space with a roommate. I use a power strip (with a flat plug so it fits behind my desk) to plug in my phone, laptop, lamp, desk fan, and other electronic devices.

As you’re checking items off that mile-long college list, make sure to pick up these lesser-known essentials—you’ll be glad you have them once you move into your residence hall. Happy shopping!