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So You Want to Go to a Basketball Game…

Being a student at UNC has a lot of perks – endless career-advancing opportunities, a community of outstanding faculty, and of course, complimentary tickets to athletic events. Yep, the rumors are true, you can get into any home regular-season game of any Carolina sporting event with just your OneCard… except basketball. While basketball tickets are still free for students, they are a little harder to finesse than other sports, given that these tickets are highly coveted by many Tar Heel fans across the globe. But I’m here to break it down for you so you never miss a game in the Dean Dome again!

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The Lottery  

Pre-season games are typically fair game for students, no lottery or ticket required! Just show up with your OneCard and you’ll be good to go. Conference games are a little trickier. Early in the year, students will receive an email with a list (example pictured right) identifying lottery and non-lottery games, along with dates the lottery opens and closes. The lottery is entered through an online website, and then students are randomly selected to receive tickets. Odds of ‘winning’ the lottery and receiving tickets vary by game and number of students requesting tickets.

On the designated date, students will receive an email either containing their tickets or notifying them that they have not been selected. Winners receive two tickets to every game except the Dook game, so you can take a friend! Tickets are allocated in ‘phases’ which decide what time you can enter the arena. Phase One means you can get in the earliest (typically 90 minutes before tip), giving you the best seat selection.

Risers are first come first-serve, but from my experience you should have Phase One tickets and arrive one to two hours before your entry time to line up for to ensure you get a good spot in the risers (this is highly dependent on the game and time of the game, however).

The Turn-It-Back Line

If you don’t get tickets from the lottery, don’t let that discourage you from attending. The Carolina Athletic Association distributes all excess tickets in-person through the Turn-It-Back Line. This occurs a few days before the game, but specific details frequently change, so for more information, refer to your lottery rejection email!

The Stand-By Line

If all else fails, turn to the Stand-By Line. At tip-off, any unused student ticket will be redistributed to students in the stand-by line. While you won’t get a front row seat, you still get the game-day atmosphere within the Dean Dome, and it’s still tons of fun! I’ve found this line to be highly successful (especially for the Dook game where the redistribute all tickets, not just student tickets), so it’s definitely worth a shot.

Carolina Fever

Fever is a student organization for the highly dedicated fans. Essentially you get points for attending athletic events such as football, soccer, lacrosse, etc. and during basketball season the top 150 students with the most points are guaranteed two phase one tickets to every game, as well as one phase one ticket to the Dook game. In order to get full points, you must swipe-in and out of games with your OneCard (no, you can’t get away with swiping in and leaving five minutes later).

While this is a pretty high commitment, in my opinion it is completely worth it! It boosts comradery for the other sports and gives you incredible perks (no more stressing about the lottery!). You’ll meet some amazing people just as passionate as Carolina athletics as you are and you’ll have the opportunity to be on the risers in the Dean Dome for a Dook game (which is an incredibly big deal and honestly was one of the highlights of my college career thus far).

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Pro-Tips

So now you know how basketball tickets work, here’s my insight on how to use the system to your advantage:

  1. Follow @unccaa, @UNCStudentTix, and @CarolinaFever on Twitter. These accounts are all super helpful in reminding you to enter the lottery, keeping you updated on all things Carolina, and giving you all the resources to get you in the game.
  2. Write the lottery dates in your calendar, make a poster, or set up alerts on your phone. Forgetting to enter the lottery is the absolute worst, so be proactive and make sure it doesn’t happen!
  3. Work out a ‘you take me when you win and I’ll take you when I win’ deal with a friend giving you a better shot at getting tickets. (note that this one can become sticky and cause drama with other friends so be careful how you go about it!)
  4. Don’t buy or sell student tickets. It’s a violation of the Honor Code and could jeopardize your ability to receive tickets in the future!
  5. Don’t not go to games if you receive tickets. There is a way to turn back your tickets if something comes up leaving you unable to attend, use it. Otherwise you get penalized in future lotteries, slimming your chances of winning.
  6. Arrive at the Dean Dome with friends you want to sit with. You need to have the same phase, otherwise you won’t be able to sit together (unless the person with the better phase is willing to sacrifice and go in later). There is a strict no seat-saving policy and seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.
  7. Don’t give up when you don’t get tickets – exhaust all options. If you are persistent enough, I promise you can get into (almost) any game you want, including the Dook game!

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Basketball games are one of my favorite parts of being a student. This opportunity of not having to pay for tickets is something you have to take advantage of while you have it! Only 103 days until the first home game… Go Heels!!!

Meet the Rivals

“Rival (noun) – a group that competes for superiority due to jealousy or bitterness despite the fact that Carolina is the University of National Champions, and no one will ever top that title. – dictionary.com” – Kalina MacKay

Let’s get one thing straight… The UNC-Dook rivalry is THE best rivalry in college basketball. However, those pesky gothic devils aren’t the only ones that UNC has beef with. Being the top-notch university across the board has its perks, but it also comes with many haters. Here’s your inside guide to all the schools that we love to hate:

Dook

Okay, obviously this is a big one. Being only eight miles down Tobacco Road, we run into these guys a lot. And they’re the absolute worst. I’m not going to go into a lot of depth here because I’m sure you all know lots about this rivalry, but if you don’t: here are some resources to study up. Hating dook is a rite of passage here at UNC, if you don’t… “you can’t sit with us”.

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Hating Dook 
  2. The History Behind the Hatred 
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We know… it’s hard being a Dookie… he’ll come to the good side one day 🙂

Maryland

Before the Blue Devils there was the dreaded Terps (honestly #blessed that our mascot isn’t a terrapin, how unfortunate). This rivalry began in 1954, when the Heels used to play men’s basketball in Carmichael arena. While I can’t say I ever personally witnessed this rivalry, it existed when Maryland was one of the most competitive teams in our conference. Upon leaving the ACC in 2014, we began to forget about the Terps. However, women’s lacrosse still has major competition with this school, as they often face each other towards the end of post-season.

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Is this real???????

Villanova 

Ha… the ultimate source of heartbreak and tragedy are the Villanova Wildcats. Let’s set the scene. April 4th, 2016, the National Championship game. Looking like an impossible victory for the Heels, there was 14 seconds left and we were down by three. Through some form of twisted miracle, Marcus Paige made the craziest three-point shot that probably would have never gone in without the pressures of this being a national title game. So now there is four seconds left in the game and the Heels are thinking there’s no way the game doesn’t go into over time… right? Wrong.

Villanova answers back with an immediate, buzzer-beating three silencing all Heels across the nation, and cuing immediate yellow and white confetti. The title was dangled in front of our face and then immediately ripped away.

Lucky for us we came back with the best redemption story of all time in the 2017 tournament, but that doesn’t void the fact that this game sucked…

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Marcus’s miracle shot, may or may not have cried while reliving the horrible mems to get deets straight for this post.

Miami

So this one totally comes from a place of personal hatred, and the average Tar Heel probably wouldn’t consider the University of Miami our rivals at all – but I’m bitter so I’m going to share. It was February 27th, 2018, Joel Berry and Theo Pinson’s last game as students in the Dean Dome. While Miami has a decent team, being senior night and going into the NCAA tournament, we should have beaten them with no problem.

As you probably assumed, this wasn’t the case. Now maybe I’m a sore loser, but it was the worst possible way to lose – you guessed it, a buzzer beater. A very ‘Nova-esque situation: it looked like we were going to take a defeat, but our hero Joel Berry hit the perfect 3-pointer with only five seconds left in the game that tied it up. Thinking we were going into overtime the crowd went nuts – and an instant later, total silence. It was over, they somehow managed to answer with a 3-pointer in under 5 seconds.

The saddest thing about this game was afterwards Joel and Theo gave their traditional senior speeches. And they were SO disappointed that they ‘fell short’ for us. Those words really hit home – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the student section. (luv you 5ever Joel & Theo)

The next day some Miami fan had the audacity to make a geofilter for the UNC region about a “hurricane warning”… Soooo yeah Miami isn’t technically a rival, but I really hate them.

How freaking rude!

NC State

Ugh. This is a very one-sided rivalry (hence why it’s last on this list), but you need to be prepared because you’ll definitely run into it. I think from State’s perspective, they hate us as much as we hate dook. Which I’ll honestly never understand, but that’s the way it is.

The Wolfpack is a very… passionate… group of people, and they are very outward about their spirit. They really, really hate Carolina, and love expressing this hatred. The best way I know how to describe this relationship is that State is like our annoying little brother that’s always trying to start something. So people will often call our matches ‘rival games’, which may be the case on their end, but for us – we know that Dook is the real target.

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I think this pic really encompasses State fans so pls enjoy!

 

The energy around ‘Beat Dook Week’ on campus is this indescribable feeling that none of these other schools on this list can match. But it’s okay to have some hard feelings towards other universities who have done us wrong. Being a Tar Heel means being the good against a lot of evil…

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

 

UNC Campus Celebs

Carolina is full of personality to say the least. With that, there are tons of notable figures on campus that our students both worship and love to hate. We love our super successful alumni, but this one is for all the current Heels… Here’s the ultimate breakdown of all the current UNC celebs!

Carol Folt

Of course, the first celebrity I had to mention is our beloved chancellor – Carol Folt. Always dressed to the nines (probably in some form of Carolina blue), Carol is the true QUEEN of UNC. She loves our school and it’s students, and can be found supporting them at various events throughout the year, so stay alert because you never know where you’ll see her! Also, if you see her – you HAVE to ask for a selfie, she loves taking them, and it’s #81 on UNC’s bucket list!

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Roy Williams

Easily my fav celeb on this list is THE Roy Williams. He’s only the coach of the greatest college basketball program of all time (Bias? Maybe a little, but that doesn’t make it not true…). Let’s just take a minute to acknowledge this man’s coaching accomplishments.

  1. Over 800 career wins
  2. 17-time regular season conference champion titles
  3. 7-time tournament conference champion titles
  4. 9 Final Fours
  5. 3 National Championships [1]

I have nothing else to say other than this Roy is an angel in human form and we LOVE him!

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Any Basketball Player

Along those same lines, any player on the UNC basketball team is regarded as a celebrity on campus. They walk around like skyscrapers in a crowd, which makes them pretty easy to spot. I’m sure when they walk around campus they constantly hear “omg, there’s Luke Maye/Kenny Williams/Cam Johnson/etc.”, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t alert whoever you’re walking with – it’s the friendly thing to do, right?

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After Luke Maye saved the day keeping us alive in the 2017 Elite Eight game vs Kentucky, he showed up bright and early to his BUSI 101 8am lecture!

Gary the Pit Preacher

Gary is a man that sits in the pit or the corner of the Quad and screams very radical religious statements at innocent passerby’s. Regardless of your religious beliefs, its very amusing to sit and listen to his claims and watch people’s reactions. Gary has become such a part of UNC culture that students have dressed up as him for Halloween!

Rumor has it that Gary has retired/is retiring soon, and many new pit preachers are surfacing to fill his shoes. But no one will ever replace Gary the original.

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Quad Whistler

I’m not really sure if this counts as a notable figure since most wouldn’t recognize him in person, but one thing is for sure – we’ve all heard that whistle. He strolls through McCorkle Place so often that you may think there’s an automated whistling sound track running over some loud speakers in the quad.

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The face behind the voice, courtesy of DTH!

Joann Traffic Guard

As you cross the streets of UNC, you’ll often be greeted by traffic guards making sure you make it safely to the other side. Joann is one of these people, but she’s incredibly special to the Carolina community. She will always respond to your “thank you”, and always has a smile on her face – through rain or shine. Students are such a big fan of this hero that a GoFundMe page was started to fund Joann’s travels to Arizona to visit her son. This fundraiser raised over $7700 – 11 times it’s original goal of $700!

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Joann receiving her funds, photo courtesy of DTH.

Dan Reichart

It seems fitting to end with another beloved, but less-known UNC hero. Before November of 2017, Dan Reichart was just a Physics and Astronomy Professor. But when there was an attempted bombing of the Davie Poplar tree, Reichart literally jumped in the fire to save the day. Surviving with second degree burns, the fire exploded on the professor as he was trying to extinguish it. We’re so thankful for Reichart’s actions in saving the momentous Carolina tree!

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Reichart trying to put out the Davie Poplar fire

 

If I missed your favorite current UNC figure, let me know in the comments! And if you see any of these guys around campus this year, be sure to ask for a selfie 😊

[1] https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/coaches/roy-williams-1.html

Can I Start Packing Yet?

Freshman college move-in day… crazy, right? Seems like just yesterday you were working up the nerves for your first day of high school. Well, that’s definitely how I felt. But it’s happening. In fact, today marks just 50 days until first-year move-in weekend! Does preparing for this monumental day seem overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. Here’s my insight on how to pack for college like an upperclassman.

There’s Two Types of People…

This time two years ago, I probably already had my hallways at home lined with all the necessities… and then some. Queen of overpacking, it’s safe to say I didn’t nail the concept of simplicity. But you live and you learn, right?

While packing for college there’s the over packers and the under packers. There’s the ones, like me, that read every blog and Pinterest post on how to pack for college on the face of the internet and began packing from the moment they got their housing assignments. On the other hand, there’s those that figure they can get all the necessities in a suitcase the night before. Don’t be either of these people – find a happy medium.

Seriously, you’ll thank yourself if you manage to find that perfect balance between the bare minimum and way too much. It’s definitely not too soon to start thinking what you’re going to bring with you into the next stage of your life. But that doesn’t mean you need to keep piling things up all summer long. It just gives you more time to think about strategic ways to make your dorm the best home it can possibly be!

Step #1: Talk to Your Roomie

Microwave, mini fridge, rug, curtains, futons, extra shelving – these are all the things you don’t need two of. Communicating with your roommate in advance will not only make packing and moving in easier, it will also give you added space in your dorm!

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Step #2: Look into RHA Enhancements

This is a super cool perk of living on-campus! You can check out ‘enhancements’ from your community office, including cookware, cleaning supplies, board games, DVD’s, and more with your One Card! Most enhancements you can keep for up to 48 hours and can check out as many times as you want throughout the semester.

So if you were planning on bringing that cupcake pan, mixing bowl, and whisk just in case you wanted to surprise your roommate on their birthday – leave it at home. If you have a meal plan, you probably won’t be cooking that often anyway, so it’s better to take advantage of this great resource!

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No catch here, thanks RHA!!!

Step #3: Remember that UNC isn’t a Deserted Island

If you forget something, I promise everything will be okay. We have a Target essentially on-campus, as well as a Walmart and Harris Teeter just a short drive away. Amazon prime will be your best friend, and students get a discounted rate!

This is also a great way to make friends. Knock on your neighbor’s door, introduce yourself, and ask to borrow their (whatever you forgot). Maybe this is how you’ll meet your future bestie, you can thank me later.

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Like the opposite of UNC

End Goal – Keep It Light

Repeat after me: you don’t need to bring your whole closet on move-in day. I know, NC weather is bipolar and you never know what you’re going to get. But you will not need your whole winter wardrobe before Fall break.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll live in t-shirts and norts in college. And from the amount of free Carolina blue t-shirts you’ll get at sporting events, extracurricular activities, and just walking around on campus – you don’t need to stock up. Seriously, I had to send some of my free t-shirts home this year because they didn’t fit in my drawers…

When you’re packing your things, really ask yourself if you’ll need it all. If you’re packing something that you may need in only one very specific situation, you can probably leave it at home. Worst comes to worst, you can get your parents to mail it to you!

 

My Dad loves to roast me on Snapchat for how much I overpacked…

Trust me, packing light is the way to go. Whether you live on the 1st floor or the 10th floor, you don’t want to be lugging two car loads full of things you’ll probably never touch up and down the stairs in 100-degree heat. Your family will definitely thank you if you minimize the work for them… right Dad???

Carolina, More Than Just a Basketball School

Okay it’s true, Tar Heels love their basketball. No, we worship our basketball. From late November to early April, the one thing getting us through our Winter blues is that Carolina plays in the upcoming future. We plan our schedules around the Heels, ensuring that we are free to watch each and every game. That is all incredibly true. But we will never be just a basketball school. The passion for the color on our backs bleeds into each and every sport. Need some facts to back it up? Look no further.

Women’s Soccer

A classic example of Carolina talent in it’s purest form, this team holds a whopping 22 National Championship titles[1]. For comparison, the next university with the most titles in this sport is Notre Dame with three titles. To say that Carolina is dominant in Women’s Soccer is an understatement. It should come as no surprise that several Tar Heel alums have won Olympic Gold Medals in this sport. We are so proud to call this program, led by Anson Dorrance, our own.

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Field Hockey

Coming in third in the natty count behind Women’s Soccer and Men’s Basketball is Field Hockey with six championship titles! Most recently, the Heels made it all the way to the Final Four in 2017. This team was also home to six women who earned All-ACC Academic honors, proving that they are successful both on and off the field!

UNC has won 20 out of the 35 ACC Field Hockey tournaments that have been played. That is, while the team accounts for 12.5% of the league, it owns ~57% of the tournament titles. In the 2016 Olympic Games, five out of the 16 players on Team USA were former Tar Heels[2].

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Men’s Lacrosse

In 2016, UNC secured their fifth National Championship title in Men’s Lacrosse. The team also holds 13 ACC champions, the second most in the league behind Virginia. Next Thursday, June 28th you can catch four of these former Heels in action in the Major League Lacrosse All-Stars match[3]!

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Baseball

While our baseball team has never won a College World Series, this is such a talented team worth noting. This year the team made it all the way to the CWS, and while they weren’t able to bring home the title, we are still so proud of their incredible season! This team has six ACC tournament titles and 11 regular season titles, most recently in 2018.

Another reason to love the Diamond Heels? Keenan Stadium and the Dean Dome are amazing places, but there is nothing better than spending a day in the Boshamer Stadium, watching the Heels play baseball, under a beautiful Carolina blue sky!

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Football

So we’ve had our ups and downs with the football program here. While every season may not have been as picture perfect as we may have hoped, this program has created some remarkable successes worth noting. Greg Ellis, Julius Peppers and Mitch Trubisky are among the 215[4] Tar Heels that have played in the NFL.

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Cross Country, Track and Field, Fencing, Golf, Tennis, Wrestling, Gymnastics, Rowing, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Volleyball, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, and Women’s Lacrosse – I didn’t forget about you guys. But if I raved about each and every Carolina team (which I promise, I totally could), this blog post would go on FOREVER.

So moral of the story, while our basketball team is home to seven National Championships, an incredible coach with over 800 career wins, and amazingly talented athletes; at UNC we love all our sports just the same – and we will not stand to be called a ‘basketball school’.

 

[1] https://goheels.com/news/2015/6/10/205473190.aspx

[2] https://goheels.com/news/2016/7/1/211047891.aspx

[3] https://goheels.com/news/2018/6/18/mens-lacrosse-four-tar-heels-set-to-play-in-2018-mll-all-star-game.aspx

[4] http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?abbr=N&collegeName=North+Carolina&abbrFlag=0&type=school

Leaving Your Heel Print

With almost 19,000 undergraduates, it would hypothetically be easy to blend in at Carolina. But one of my favorite things about our university is that “blending in” isn’t something Tar Heels love to do. There are so many ways to get involved in campus to make yourself stand out that make 19,000 not seem so big or scary at all!

Join a Student Organization

With over 800 student organizations to choose from, it’s almost impossible to not fall in love with at least one! With everything from politics to dance to service, there is sure to be an organization with your name written all over it.

Eight hundred options can seem overwhelming, that’s why Carolina Union hosts FallFest at the end of move in weekend each year. At this beloved UNC event, hundreds of representatives from student organizations set up tables to explain why YOU should join their organization. It’s a super fun event complete with free food, performances, and meeting new friends!

Fall Fest is a popular event for new and returning Heels alike!

Become a Leader in your Org

Once you get settled into the organizations you’re passionate about, stay dedicated to them. Being a leader in a college organization has shaped my Carolina experience. While you may have been president of your high school’s National Honor’s Society chapter, leading a university organization comes with much more responsibility and power. The officers are in charge of everything, from finances to registering with the university to dealing with internal conflicts. By holding a leadership position, not only are you impacting your organization, you also learn a lot about yourself and maybe even your future goals!

Get Involved in Greek Life

This is a popular one that I’m sure you’ve heard all about, and probably have your own ideas about already. While this wasn’t the route for me, I have tons of friends who have found their home at Carolina in a sorority or fraternity. Keep in mind that the meaning and importance of Greek Life extends way beyond all the stereotypes. I highly recommend looking into it with an open mind to explore if you’re interested in rushing!

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Members of UNC Fraternities and Sororities coming together.

Participate in an Intramural Sport

Continuing with the theme of endless options, UNC offers over 50 intramural sports for all skill levels. This is a fun way to channel your inner natty champ winning athlete, get your exercise in, and meet tons of cool people!

From sit-down volleyball to cornhole, there are tons of unique sports for you to try! And if you can’t find your passion, you are more than welcome to start your own team. All you have to do is pull together a few teammates and register with Campus Rec! For more details, check out this link.

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Win an event, score a coveted Intramural Champ T-Shirt!

…Or Just Attend Sporting Events

If you, like me, aren’t as athletically gifted, you can still get involved while staying on the sidelines! Even with little knowledge of sports (speaking from experience) supporting your talented peers can be tons of fun. At the University of National Champions, we’re really into school spirit so this one is a must. With free tickets to games, you might as well take advantage of this incredible perk while you’ve got it. Supporting the Heels is honestly therapeutic, you can let out all the stress from classes with one big “TARRRR…”

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#GetIntoIt!!!!!

Bond with a Professor or Mentor

The staff at UNC is amazing and they are all so incredibly passionate about their jobs – teaching you! Even in those huge lecture halls where it can be easy to sit in the back row, go that extra mile to make sure your professor knows you. Whether it’s sticking around for a couple of minutes after class, shooting them an email, or attending office hours, professors will appreciate students that express interest!

Even if you understand the course material perfectly, simply introducing yourself is a great way to start getting involved in the UNC community. Adults have been in our position and can offer everything from job references to life advice.

 

Bottom line is: no matter how you do it, step outside of your comfort zone and get involved! At Carolina there are so many ways to do so without ever leaving campus, and involvement will help you find yourself, your people and even what you want to do with your life. Don’t spend your four years in your dorm!

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/

How I Fell in Love with Carolina

UNC is a constant sea of Carolina Blue, filled with die hard Tar Heels who have been born and bred into the family… or at least that’s how the saying goes. But for me, and many other students, this isn’t the case. In fact, my story of how I came to bleed Carolina blue is quite different than the alma mater I chant at the end of every game.

2012

My story starts six years ago when my big sister decided to go to UNC, and I decided (out of sibling spite) I would love Dook. I wasn’t devoted to our gothic rivals, but I took every opportunity I could find to remind my sister what I believed to be true, that Dook was the better blue (which as we all know is a down right lie).

On move-in day I put on a Tar Heel shirt (the least Carolina Blue one I could find) to show my support, but on every other day I would sport Devils gear when I could find it – which became a difficult task growing up in a Tar Heel family. I would take pictures in Dook hats thinking I was so cool; pictures that are now so embarrassing and often come back to haunt me.

My sister (Bryanna MacKay) and I on her freshman move-in day, circa 2012.

2016

Flash forward two years… it’s college decision time for me and I’m an absolute wreck without a dream school or clear path. Carolina seemed like a good fit and an obvious choice being an in-state student, so I applied here and five other schools. After I got back all my decisions I was torn between UNC and Syracuse University – two schools that checked off every box on my list. They both felt like they could be my future home, each with a great journalism program and big on school spirit. They also happened to be two schools playing each other in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.

Everything in my heart was telling me to go to UNC, but I needed a little push to solidify my decision. So I told my Dad “If Carolina wins tonight, I’m enrolling tomorrow.” He laughed it off, but I was incredibly serious. On April 2nd, 2016, the Tar Heels beat the Orange 83 to 66. On April 3rd, 2016, I paid my enrollment deposit to UNC Chapel Hill.

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THANK YOU Heels, for winning this game and deciding my fate.

Today

Since that moment, I’ve never had a single doubt in my mind that I made a wrong decision. I remember walking through the pit one day in maybe my second week on campus thinking “I’m so lucky”. After all, we get to take classes and live in the most beautiful place in the South, what more could we really ask for??

It’s the way the sun hits the quad under a mesmerizing Carolina blue sky. It’s the smile on the little boy’s face as he walks into the Dean Smith Center with the sparkling number 23 on his chest. Or the feeling of never being completely alone, even if when you feel like you’re hitting rock bottom during finals.

Calling myself a ‘dook fan’ growing up is no comparison to my dedication to this university. There is nothing that gets me more excited than waking up early on a Saturday morning to wait three hours in the cold for a spot on the risers. I will always get goosebumps during the Tar Heel lights show and tear up during the intro video (seven… seven… SEVEN national championships). And I will always shout the alma mater from the top of my lungs, win or lose.

Me (front row, right) taking jump around too seriously, per usual.

I love Carolina for welcoming me in and never making me feel like I was an outsider. When I chant “I’m a Tar Heel born, I’m a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I’m a Tar Heel dead”, I really feel like that’s true and it unites me with all my classmates – no matter what our backgrounds may be.

My point is you don’t have to be born into the Carolina family to be a Tar Heel. All those who support UNC support each other, no matter who you have supported in the past. And to me, that’s why this university is such a priceless gem.

College Stereotypes: Fact or Fiction?

University life is portrayed in a specific way in pop culture, surrounded by tons of perceptions and expectations. But sometimes college doesn’t live up to it’s picture perfect stereotypes. And sometimes, it’s SO much better. Here’s my perspective on the reality behind college stereotypes.

Myth #1: You will hate your roommate.

Maybe you won’t get along with your first ever roommate. It happens! But on the other hand, your roommate could be your best friend. I know tons of people who loved their freshman roommate and lived with them all four years. Sure, I’ve heard the occasional horror story, but they’re not as common as you might think.

Being best friends with your freshman roommate and completely hating your roommate are two strong extremes, and from my experience, both are pretty rare. It’s no surprise that people change a lot when they come to college and picking a roommate as a high-schooler can be extremely difficult when you don’t know how you function as a college student. Odds are that you’ll get along just fine, overcome any minor conflict, and have a great year together!

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Myth #2: You get to skip class whenever you feel like it.

Actually attending classes is a must in college. Even in big lecture halls, a lot of professors have sign in sheets, use apps like ‘Poll Everywhere’, or assign random pop quizzes to record student’s attendance. So if you think you can pass every class by only showing up on exam days, you might have to think again.

While this may seem like a hassle, at the end of the day it rewards students that show up. Many professors calculate attendance as a portion of your final grade, so having perfect attendance really does have its perks. It can easily be the difference between a ‘B+’ and an ‘A-’!

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Myth #3: Your dorm is going to feel like living in a shoe box.

Okay so your dorm room may not be as big as your master bedroom at home that you have all to yourself. But your space in your dorm really is what you make of it. It’s definitely not at as small as what you’re probably imagining. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all survived! Struggling? Read this article for tips!

My biggest piece of advice: don’t. over. pack. I’m totally guilty of it, I hate leaving anything at home in the off chance that I’ll be stuck in that one situation where I desperately need that specific item. But be practical! The more stuff you bring into your dorm, the more space you have to use to store it.

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Myth #4: Sharing a bathroom sucks.

Whether you’re living suite style or hall style, you’ll have to share a bathroom with someone. It may take some adjusting not being able to shower whenever you feel like it, but typically you won’t even notice! Hall style offers multiple showers per floor, so the likelihood of someone being in every shower at any given time is slim. In suite style you’re sharing a bathroom with 3 to 7 other people, so communication is key!

If you’re worried about your suite- or hall-mates making a mess, remember that in the 4-room suites and hall style buildings, we have an amazing cleaning staff that does the hard work for you! 2-room suites must be cleaned by the residents, but repeat: communication. is. key.

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Myth #5: You will never get to sleep.

In college you’ll definitely experience some long nights studying, especially when finals season rolls around. But the idea that all college kids ‘never sleep’ is completely false. I’m a girl who doesn’t function well on no sleep, so getting rest is definitely a priority to me. Keeping an organized schedule and staying on top of your school work allows you to get the right amount of beauty sleep to keep you mentally sane.

I’m not saying it’s always easy to get that full 8 hours, but it’s for sure doable. Two keys to making time for a wholesome slumber – avoid procrastination and prioritize whats most important (even when that means sacrificing something you really want to do).

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Fact #1: You will have SO MUCH FUN!

The realest thing I’ve ever heard about college is that it is the best four years of your life. You will learn so much about yourself and change in more ways than you knew possible. You’ll overcome very real challenges that will make you a stronger person. And at the end of the day, you will meet life-long besties and make unforgettable memories while finding your passions.

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Everyone has a different college experience and it doesn’t always play out like you may expect it to. The image of the perfect college life you have in your head very quickly might come crashing down when things aren’t going the way you assumed they would. But you will get through it. And at the same time, you’ll find joy in places you never expected to. After all, the unpredictability of it is part of what makes college so fun!