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10 Things Not to do as a First-Year

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

1. Friend EVERYONE IN YOUR CLASS on Facebook

I’m sorry, but no. Everyone is eager to meet people, I’m not going to lie, I was too. But choosing to Facebook friend request people you don’t know/may not ever meet is a little TOO eager, and let me tell you why. Because half of them you will never see, and the other half you will never say “hey” to around campus. So although you should make the effort to meet people in your class through social media and groups, add people who you will message after they accept your friend requests. Add people who you may consider to be your roommate, but don’t just add the cute boy who has a shirtless profile picture because he has a shirtless profile picture. Trust me; one of the best things about college is the relationships you’ll make in person, not online!

2. Set off the fire alarm

Do you remember in high school the fire drills? You had to stand outside and wait 10 to 15 minutes for the school to basically test your response to the fire alarms. Well this is that x100. You will not have a true college experience if you are never subjected to standing outside at 1 a.m. because some girl from the 3rd floor forgot her popcorn was in the microwave. Trust me; you don’t want to be THAT girl. So be cautious of your outlet usage, microwave usage, and flat iron usage. Remember that some of these buildings are pretty old and any little sense of smoke can send hundreds of students to wait outside of the residence hall at odd hours. Like at 1 a.m., when it’s cold and wet outside…And you’re in your facemask and footie pajamas.

3. Throw up on the P2P

If you are not familiar with the P2P, a point-to-point shuttle that runs from 7pm-3am each day, you will be. Why? Let’s take a quick quiz: Because walking from South Campus to Franklin street at night is a) uncomfortable to do in heels b) blissfully cold in the winter c) hot in the spring/summer d) will ultimately negate the point of dressing up in the first place once you get there or e) all of the above ? If you chose E, you are by all means correct. So when you choose to take the P2P, make sure you are cognizant of the other students who use it to get around campus too. Let’s have another quiz: Why shouldn’t you throw up on the P2P? a) other students don’t want your vom on their cute suede wedges b) you will be asked to leave and walk home in whatever inclement weather is occurring at the time c) it’s a slightly embarrassing process d) all of the above. All of the above, every time.

4. Wear your high school apparel around campus

Now that you are here, you have unlimited access to college paraphernalia. Discount T-shirts on game day, T-shirts from clubs and organizations, T-shirts galore. With that said, don’t feel the need to don your “HS Class of 2013” tee around campus. You should be proud of being a high school graduate, but now you are in a new place; take pride in your University and wear a Tar Heel blue shirt every day, if possible.

5. NOT get involved

With a school hosting over 500 student organizations, the Carolina experience is not complete if you don’t get involved around campus. With the multitude of student groups at UNC, getting involved serves as a great way to make new friends and fall in love with Carolina!

6. Feel like you are “just a number”

At UNC, you are not just your PID (Person ID) number, you are an integral piece to this University; you are home. So take the time to talk to your professors, meet new people, join clubs, and ask questions. Although UNC is a large university, the faculty, students, and staff who wake up each morning to spend their days here, are here for you!

7. Go out every night

If you are looking to graduate, this may not be the wisest idea known to man. UNC has an amazing night life, like, if you haven’t been to Franklin Street that needs to happen soon. However, don’t get sucked into experiencing everything Chapel Hill has to offer all at once. Buns, Yopo, He’s Not, East End, Fraternity Court, TOPO, Linda’s, McAllister’s, and everywhere else in between will most likely still be there on the weekends. Remember that you are not only here to experience UNC to the fullest and make memories, but to get an education as well.

8. Be close-minded

Get involved, learn new things, explore. Being close minded at such a diverse institution does you no good; I’m not saying that you should throw out all of your morals and values prior to coming to Carolina because you shouldn’t. I’m saying be open to new experiences, new people, new ideas, new opportunities, and a new life. Use your morals and values to shape who you are, but don’t be afraid to try new things. As the saying goes, you don’t know until you try!

9. Set expectations on what to experience

You are amongst some of the brightest and best people in the world. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be like them and it doesn’t mean they’ll be like you. To go a step further, it doesn’t mean you will like them and it doesn’t mean they will like you. We were all raised differently, we come from different places in the world, and we like different things. Although college is much different than high school, there will be people you don’t like and people you do. There will be things you will try and things that you know you won’t. This is life.

10. Let age determine relationships

I sat in English class the other day next to a 27 year old. He’s nearly 10 years my senior, yet we are in the same course. One of my good friends I met this semester is 22, nearly 3 years older. So what? In high school, I was so used to being around people my age I never realized that relationships will transcend age. So keep an open mind when it comes to ages. Don’t feel the need to stick around people who are close in age to you, your greatest friendships can be formed with faculty and staff at the University or your “Big”, or your RA or your 22-year-old friend. Remember that age is just a number, and it shouldn’t be allowed to set limits on which relationships we can form. (P.S. the picture of the Dalmatian and labrador puppy was too cute NOT to include, related or not)

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Melissa Paniagua is a senior journalism major at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, specializing in public relations. She is currently a fashion market intern at ELLE Magazine. On campus, Melissa acts as the Her Campus president as well as the vice president of the Carolina Association of Future Magazine Editors, UNC’s Ed2010 chapter. In the past, she has been an intern for Southern Weddings Magazine and a contributing writer for Her Campus. Melissa has an appreciation for all things innovative, artful and well designed and hopes to work in marketing for a women’s lifestyle magazine in the future!