what chapel hill means to me

One year ago today I decided to come to Chapel Hill. After a lot of struggling with the decision, my parents and I had sat down and looked at the pros and cons of attending UNC and decided together that it was the school for me – and I am so grateful that we did.

In the past eight months, UNC has become more than just my college, or a home away from home… it has truly become my second home.

That is not to say that I don’t miss my family while I am here, or that I don’t miss the beach, my home church, my mom’s cooking, or my dad surprising me by filling up my gas – because of course I do. I still talk to my mom almost every day on the phone, text my dad and sister practically every day, and text Jacob (with no response every time I might add) about once a week.

But in the midst of missing my family back in my Currituck home, I have come to realize just how much the home I have in Chapel Hill means to me.

It’s the place where I have 10 of my closest friends within five minutes of me at any given time. The place where I can take for granted how many amazingly interesting people I meet every day because of the sheer number of them. The place where I’ve come to know people with the same passions as me – such as Special Olympics, helping children, and Christ. The place that I’ve gotten to find a church community and bible study groups I love on my own. Its the place where any number of friends will use their meal swipes to bring me food while I’m sick with the flu (cough, cough, right now).

It’s the place where I finally attended my first UNC Basketball game, but it was better that way because now I can say that I’ve cheered like a maniac in the student section at every game I’ve attended. It’s the place where I got to rush Franklin twice with some of the best friends during my freshman year. It’s the place where I didn’t mind going to my 8 a.m. running on three hours of sleep the morning after the National Championship.

Yes, I feel pretty blessed that I get to attend one of the best public universities in the nation – that I get to study Journalism at a school that has produced countless numbers of successful alumni and prestigious awards. But I feel a million times luckier to be a part of something even more holistic and important than how my school lines up in various rankings  – to be a part of the Carolina family.

UNC is much more than its rankings, titles, awards, and yes, even championships. Of course those things matter, but what matters more is the sense of family that being a Tarheel gives you. It’s the people at UNC – the friends you make, students in your classes, the one-of-a-kind professors you actually have quite frequently, and the staff you get to know across campus. It’s the places at UNC – the Old Well on FDOCs, the Pit at lunchtime, the quad on a beautiful day, the “trek” from south campus to classes walked with a friend, and even the good ole’ dining halls.

It’s who you become while you’re here – the ways in which you are constantly challenged and refined, the ways in which you grow. It’s the lowest of lows in impossible classes, followed by the highs you experience when you overcome those same academic challenges. It’s finding your truest self, and then having all the opportunities in the world to get to know that person.

Of course, I may be biased, seeing as I go here and all. But every time I join in the Alma Mater or walk in a sea of Carolina blue, I am reminded that, at least for me, UNC is the best school in the world. And that is what Chapel Hill means to me.


Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices
Ringing clear and true
Singing Carolina’s praises
Shouting N.C.U.

Hail to the brightest star of all
Clear its radiance shine
Carolina priceless gem,
Receive all praises thine.

I’m a Tar Heel born I’m a Tar Heel bred
And when I die I’ll be Tar Heel dead
So it’s RAH, RAH, Carolina ‘lina
RAH, RAH, Carolina ‘lina
RAH, RAH, Carolina ‘lina
(Go to heck Duke!)

-Hark the Sound, 1897

[Okay full disclosure: I fully intended on writing this yesterday, but college happened, so in reality this should’ve started off with “one year and a day ago today,” but that just isn’t as catchy, so let’s pretend I posted as planned.]

living in the now instead of on a countdown

‘“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”’

The previous quote, from A.A. Milne, is a great one. However, if you were to ask me what today’s significance was, I would most likely tell you that it was the one month mark for the LDOC (last day of classes) at UNC – which isn’t exactly living up to Pooh’s awesome attitude, I know. I am just so excited that I will be done with my first year of college classes, and only a week away from being done with my freshman year at UNC, in only 30 days.

But even as I giddily cross out the days on my dry erase board calendar and in my planner, I can’t help but feel slightly scared by just how quickly the last 365 days have flown by. In the past year, I made my college deposit (shoutout to Mom & Dad), ran my last competitive track meet, went to my last prom, graduated high school, moved into my first home-away-from-home, took 11 UNC classes (one of which was a snowboarding class, like how cool is that?), went to football games, rushed Franklin after beating Duke, and got to be a part of Maye Madness – just to name some highlights.

As I reflect on all the amazing opportunities I’ve been blessed with this past year, it seems absurd that I could have spent any of that time wishing the days away, but crazily, I have been guilty of doing just that.

During the end of senior year, the countdown was for graduation. During summer, the countdown was for move-in-day. During my first weeks at school, the countdown was for my best friends from high school coming to visit. During first semester, the countdown was for fall break, then thanksgiving break, and finally winter break. Once I was back at school the countdown was for each weekend I planned to go back home, and even now as I write this, the countdown is for LDOC and summer.

While I have genuinely loved the last year and all that it has brought me, I can’t help but feel sad that I have somewhat tainted some of these amazing moments with the constant anticipation of future ones. Having things to look forward to is great, but by never stopping to enjoy the moments I have longed for in their entirety, I have robbed myself of the true fullness those moments had.

In just one short month, I will officially be 1/4 done with my time here at UNC. Three years sounds like a lot, but the last year has taught me that the days go by faster and faster as life becomes more and more exciting. I’ve discovered that life goes by quickly enough on its own – it doesn’t need a countdown!

Even as I anticipate God’s plan for my life and all that will come after college, especially as that time grows nearer and nearer, I am striving to remind myself daily to enjoy the season of life that God is blessing me with right now. It seems that already so many seasons are behind me, and my current season in college is moving by so quickly.

As I live the last 30 days as a first year at UNC, I hope to live in each day more fully and appreciatively. I hope to hang out with my friends more and my phone less. I hope to spend more time in the quad enjoying the nice weather and less time napping in my room. I hope to take the time to enjoy the season God has placed me in rather than anxiously waiting for the next season to come along.

I hope to live in the now instead of on a countdown.


“For this is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
-Psalm 118:24

what a RUSH – a Tarheel’s first taste of victory over Duke

There were ten seconds left in the game.

All of us were jumping up and down, and screaming like crazy people. This was it – after an anxiety-inducing, nauseatingly close game we were actually going to rush Franklin!

It’s a longtime tradition for UNC students to rush Franklin after a Duke victory – thousands of students pour out of wherever they were watching the game to run to Franklin Street. Last night, I finally got to experience the tradition for myself.

As soon as the final buzzer of the game rang, all of us inside the Battle House, where I was watching the game, cheered as we simultaneously jumped over and around chairs and/or each other to begin our run to Franklin Street. It was freezing outside, but we didn’t feel it – all we could feel at that moment was pure euphoria.

Within the first minute of my run, a fellow overjoyed Tarheel stepped on my heel, and while I tried to ignore the all-too-familiar feeling of a falling-off shoe, I realized very soon after that I was about to lose my shoe. And then, I actually did.

Rather than panicking, I quickly picked up the lone (and mid-stampede) shoe and then continued my run, wobbling with one shoe down the street, and at a faster pace this time to catch up to my friends.

When I found them, I’ll admit that my left foot was freezing, and becoming very numb. But it didn’t matter – I had the stupidest grin on my face. I was surrounded by some of my best friends, with thousands of other Tarheels, celebrating an awesome victory in the sweetest way imagineable.

I eventually found the time to put my shoe back on, and the rest of the night on Franklin that followed was an amazing blur of chanting, screaming, being pushed & pulled through the huge crowd, jumping over a fire that had burned Duke apparel, and hearing more insults to Duke and Grayson Allen than I ever thought possible.

So yes – I may have no voice today, lost my shoe and bruised the bottom of my left foot, (likely) ruined my shoes with all the ash from the fire, and become more personally acquainted with my fellow Tarheels than I would have previously liked (we were packed into Franklin like Sardines okay) – but my first taste of a victory over Duke was one of the best nights of my life, and one I will always remember.

I’m a Tarheel born, I’m a Tarheel bred, and when I die I’ll be Tarheel dead. Words I’ve heard so many times, but that somehow mean so much more after last night. Singing those words with thousands of other Carolina students as we first reached Franklin together, is a moment I will treasure forever. A moment that has made the Alma Mater I have already sang many times, ring that much more true.

I look forward to the next three years of (hopefully) rushing Franklin, and am so thankful to go to a school where experiences and community like this exist. I’ve loved Carolina since I was eight years old, but nights like last night cause me to fall in love with my school over and over again.

Remember – it’s always a great day to be a Tarheel, and the ceiling is the roof!

(P.S. Go to heck Duke!)

the beginnings of not taking myself too seriously

From the time I was ten years old and watching iCarly (inspirational beginning, I know), I knew that I wanted to become a blogger one day.

Emphasis on the one day part, of course.

It’s taken me almost ten years to make good on my 10-year-old self’s dream, but I have decided that I have a lot to say, and I owe it to myself to finally give myself a lasting space to say all of it.

In the past, I have hesitated to blog out of the fear of not having anything worthwhile to share, or having people criticize what I did choose to say. Being a freshman in college has subsequently taught me that in the past, I have taken myself way too seriously.

Many of the friends I have made in my just under two semesters at college so far made the plunge a while ago in deciding to blog, and seeing the links to their blogs throughout these first seven months of college has given me the ~courage~ I needed to finally make the plunge as well.

Admittedly, this is a pretty meaningless first blog post, but hey, ya gotta start somewhere. If only one person (besides my mom that is – hi mom!) reads what I have to say, then I will be one happy “blogger.”

Stay tuned for my first ~real~ blog entry, and please forgive me if it doesn’t live up to my original iCarly blogging inspiration!