Tag Archives: freshman

A Letter To Rising Freshman

Dear UNC 22,

My name is Kalina MacKay, and I’m incredibly jealous of you, rising freshman. I’m going to be a junior this year, which means I’m halfway done of my time at this magical place. And for that reason, I would give anything to be in your shoes – bright eyed and ready to begin my journey as an official Tar Heel.

I remember my summer between high school and college, not knowing what the future had in store for me. Would I make friends? Would I change in college? Would I get homesick? Spoiler alert – yes, yes, and yes. Going to college is one of – if not THE – biggest transitions of your life to date. So having these questions, is beyond normal. You’re not alone, we’ve all been there too.

My first snap as an official Tar Heel!

Yeah, you can read hundreds of blogs just like this one on how to prepare for college, but none of them can mimic that feeling of stepping on campus on move-in day, knowing that that day is this first day of the rest of your life. What I wouldn’t give to go back to that feeling. An overwhelming feeling of pure independence…, freedom…, and wait, I kind of miss my Mom…. Not everything about college is easy. In fact, college is very, very hard. But it’s also incredibly worth it.

Yikes, clearly I learned a lot since freshman year… like how to work my blinds….

Freshman year is SO fun. You’ll learn a lot about yourself. You’ll probably make a lot of mistakes and fall on your face a couple of times. But it’s okay because it’s your first-year and you’re still getting the hang of the whole college thing. You’re not expected to have your life together or start planning your future yet, your main priority is yourself and learning how to function on your own.

Maybe you’ll fail a test… or two… I know, I know, we’re all Carolina kids, and we all care about our grades – failing a test sounds like the end of the world. But may I repeat: College. Is. Hard. The beautiful thing about UNC is, even if you fail a test, you get to step out of that classroom onto the most stunning campus in the world, maybe go to a football game or basketball game to let out some stress and forget about it.

I can’t speak for everyone but personally, high school did not prepare me for college. I had no clue how to read a textbook without a quiz at the end forcing me to know the material or study for an exam without a pre-made study guide outlining the exact material on the test. But I figured it out, and you will too. One or two bad test grades in a gen-ed class is not going to wreck your GPA forever.

My first football game with my suitemates Zoe, Sarah, and Kate (208 forever)

Your first-year at UNC will be filled with tons of magical moments in unexpected places: your first time watching a Carolina victory and getting goosebumps knowing those are your classmates; your first time seeing the campus flooded with alumni during homecoming and realizing how big the Carolina community really is; your first time singing the alma mater at the end of a game and nailing every single word, feeling each syllable come from the bottom of your heart; your first class where you feel like ‘this is it – this is what I want to do for forever’.

College is this amazing time in your life where you get to grow up and reach new heights but also are still allowed to be a kid from time to time. You get to plan for the rest of your life and figure out your passions and purposes, while still pulling some dumb stunt at 3am with your roomie.

As the four years progress, things get more serious. Your classes get harder, maybe you get a job or internship, or maybe you get more involved in an organization. Now don’t get me wrong, all this stuff is tons of fun and great experience, but it also occupies a lot of your time.

Not only do you start to get busier, your friends also start to get busier. You’ll find yourself trying to squeeze an hour out of your busy schedule for lunch with your freshman suitemates whom you haven’t seen in ages. It’s never the same as your first-year when you all had free time in the evenings to go to dinner at the dining hall whenever you felt like it.

That’s why I’d kill to be a freshman again. Yeah, I struggled and learned a lot, but I also definitely took advantage of the carefree lifestyle your first-year allows for.

My first time rushing Franklin!!!

From that first move-in moment onwards, I’m not kidding when I say time will fly. So, breathe in every second. Every late-night laugh with your suitemates, every midnight mental breakdown tear in Davis Library, every TARRR shouted from the top of your lungs in the Dean Dome.

Make the most of your time here because honestly, you’ll never get another opportunity quite like this. For probably the first time in your life, you’re in complete control of your life without someone telling you to finish your dinner or be home by 10:00. But at the same time, you’ve got an incredible support community of RA’s, professors, and peers when you need it.

Being over dramatic on my last night in my dorm…

Whatever fears and worries you have about college will disappear in no time and before you know it, you’ll be tearing up as you drive away from campus for the Summer. Carolina is contagiously welcoming and calling yourself a Tar Heel is an honor, tradition, and a privilege. Whoever said high school was the best four years of your life clearly didn’t go to UNC.

 

Lots of love from one of many who’s rooting for you,

Kalina

 

SOS I’m Undecided

At eighteen years old, you have tons of decisions to make that can feel like they will affect the rest of your life. You picked a college (congrats, you picked the best one in the world :)) and now you have to pick a major. While some of your classmates may be pursuing their career they’ve dreamed of since they were five, if you’re undecided it can feel like you’re lost without a purpose. But I promise, everything’s going to be okay, and it will all work out.

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You’re Not Alone.

In fact, between 20 and 50 percent of college students enter undecided. On top of that 75% of all students will change their major at least once throughout their college career.[1] So don’t feel like you’re the first student who doesn’t know what they’re doing going into college, because you’re not.

Look at it from the bright side, going in undecided leaves you limitless. You’re free to discover new passions and possibilities, rather than being stuck on one set path. Some people argue that college freshman shouldn’t be able to declare a major for this very reason.

You WILL Change in College.

Spoiler alert: no matter how much you think you know yourself, you will not be the same person in college that you were in high school. There’s something about being completely independent that will change your entire character. And if your character changes, odds are your interests and goals will change with you. So the fact that three out of four students will change their major is not shocking.

UNC offers majors you probably haven’t even heard of. Asian Studies, Classic Archeology, Public Policy, Sociology, you name it! While these may not grab your attention immediately, have you ever really given it a chance? There are so many interesting subjects at university that your high school probably didn’t offer. Here at UNC, you are encouraged to step out of your comfort zone in course planning, you just may find a passion in a field you didn’t know existed!

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Gen. Eds.

In order to produce well-rounded students, there is a set of General Education Requirements all students must fulfill before graduation. These will probably occupy most of your schedule freshman year, meaning you won’t be wasting your time taking random classes if you haven’t decided on a major. You will be taking classes everyone has to take to complete their degree!

Most students will not be taking more than one or two major courses their first semester. So you’re not going to be behind when you come to a decision. In fact, you’ll be ahead of all those people who started their major curriculum and decided it wasn’t the path for them. Being undecided is a completely normal thing and will not by any means set you back on that projected graduation date.

You’re Not Stuck.

While you are encouraged to declare a major before February of sophomore year, you can change your major up until second semester senior year (as long as you can complete the requirements before graduation). There is no ticking clock forcing you to make a decision. You have the freedom to decide whether or not a path is right for you on your own terms.

This also gives you the opportunity to explore your options and fall in love with your major. While you may not be completely set on what you want to do after college when you first declare your major, taking specialized upper level classes will iron this out for you. And if it doesn’t, you can always make a change!

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Advising is Here to Help.

While those “tell us about your pizza preferences and we’ll determine your major” quizzes are fun and all, you don’t have to rely on those to make such a huge life decision for you. In fact, UNC has an awesome team of advisors that are here to guide you in the right direction. They also offer tons of resources that you can look at without leaving your bed here!

 

Still unsure? It’s okay, you don’t have to take my word for it. You’ll see for yourself once you get on campus and find your niche. Don’t stress, you’ll for sure fall in love with UNC and all it has to offer in no time, and with that your major will come to you!

 

[1] https://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/06/disconnect-choosing-major/

Why Having a Roommate is the Best Thing Ever!

Before college, many people never experienced sharing a room with anyone. Even if they did, it was probably a sibling that they felt close enough to yell at or kick out when they needed their own space. So sharing a room with a peer can seem terrifying. But I promise, it doesn’t have to be! You’ve heard all the horror stories of roommates that didn’t get a long, so let’s talk about all the ways that living with a roommate rocks.

You’re never completely alone. 

As much as we all love and need our alone time, too much time spent by yourself can get very lonely, very fast. Odds are that you and your roommate’s schedules won’t perfectly match, and you’ll both have a fair amount of time with the room to yourself.

At the same time, having someone to keep you company when you need can go a long way. It eases the homesickness and all the other struggles of college when there is someone else in the room. Even if you aren’t talking the whole time, just knowing they’re there for you and you aren’t alone is incredibly soothing.

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They understand what you’re going through.

No matter how different your class schedules or backgrounds are, you are both going through the same stage of life – adjusting to college. And no one ever said this stage was easy. Just having someone to talk to and relate to makes you feel a lot less isolated when things get rough.

For every bad exam grade or long night studying, there’s another student who feels your pain, and when it happens to be your roomie, that makes everything that much better.

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They can help you with all your little struggles.

Key got stuck in the door? Scary bug eyeing you from the corner of the room? Locked yourself out? Can’t reach the top shelf? Wind making scary noises? Seriously, what would we do without roomies to come to our rescue???

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You always have someone to binge watch shows with.  

Because watching The Bachelor is so much better with someone to laugh at all the dorky contestants with. Sometimes you just need a break from studying and a good TV show with an eager roommate can be the perfect cure.

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And drag along on other crazy adventures.

What would college be without crazy adventures? From Insomnia Cookies at times where you definitely should be sleeping to exploring Carolina’s best kept secrets – memories much more fun when you have someone to make them with.

Plus, a roommate is much less likely to say no than a text to a random friend. I mean, how could they say no to your face when you have such convincing arguments that this adventure has to happen right now??

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It’s never just you two.

When you’ve had enough of your roommate, the beauty of residence halls is there are so many options of people to hang out with. Whether it’s suitemates or hallmates, you’re sure to find someone else in your building you click with when you need a little escape.

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As much as you may think you’ll hate sharing a room with someone, this is such an essential part of university life. A roommate is that person that doesn’t have to be your best friend but will always be there for you no matter what. And the first weekend they leave you alone, I promise you’ll be begging them to come home soon!

Meet the Bloggers: Udara Fernando

$waggy

 

 

My Hometown: Cary, NC

My Year: Junior

My Major: Journalism (Advertising Sequence) & Biology; Hispanic Studies Minor

My Previous Homes: Ehringhaus, Morrison & Ram Village

My Campus Involvement: Los Caballeros Mentoring Program, SUCCEED Inc., Crash Campaign

My Email: udaraf12@live.unc.edu

 

 

What’s the coolest thing about housing?

As cheesy as it may sound: the sense of community that comes with it. There’s nothing like splitting a suite with 7 of your fellow Heels and becoming a #SuiteSquad that drags each other out of the dorm for 8AMs on the weekdays and drags each other back to the dorm at 2AM on the weekends. That’s family right there.

Do you have an insider tip for living on-campus?

Go beyond whatever floor you live on and do it early. If you live on the second floor, don’t just stay on the second floor. Go say what’s up to another floor early on, when everybody’s still getting to know each other. Don’t deprive yourself of meeting cool people you live with just because they’re a couple sets of stairs away.

What about a tip for freshmen in general?

It’s pronounced “Dye” Hall (or maybe “Die,” depending on your experiences in there). You’ll get what I’m talking about soon. Hopefully.

What’s your overall favorite memory at Carolina so far?

Probably rushing Franklin St. after that solid victory at that school with the ugly blue. I promised myself I’d walk it (your boy did not stick to his gym regimen and as a result, my body was not prepared for it tbh), but I got caught up in all the excitement and ran like it was the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine…

Did you actually make it to Franklin St. at that pace?

Next question, please.

What’s one thing on your UNC bucket list?

I want to try my hand at stand-up comedy at the DSI Comedy Theater on Franklin St. before I go.

What’s the most important thing college has taught you up to this point?

To be flexible. To know that your interests might change. To know that your years here might not go according to that four-year plan you scribbled out in the back of APUSH in high school. And ultimately, to know that no matter what it is that you decide to pursue, there’s always someone here you can talk to about studying it and organizations you can join that focus on exploring it.

Fun Facts

  •  During a brief, heavily Lil Wayne-influenced period of my life, I went by the stage name “udeezy” because I thought I had a shot at the rap game…there’s a mixtape still in the works
  •  People always ask me what I want to do with my life, but I don’t even know what I’m doing for dinner tonight
  •  I turned down a full scholarship from Coach K because he refused to acknowledge Duke as Dook

You’ll be hearing from me ALL SUMMER SIXTEEN (bloggin’ clean, not dirty tho…sorry @Drake),

Udara