It’s almost time, seniors. In three months and two weeks, your relatives will be waving and calling at you from the bleachers in Kenan Stadium as Chancellor Carol Folt tells you, “Please turn your tassels.” You’ll be waving back at them vigorously with one hand and holding your graduation cap steady with the other, wondering how four years could have gone by so quickly.
Being a senior means you’ve got honors theses and capstone courses to worry about. It means worrying about the looming job prospects and the graduate school interviews. On top of that, we must try to remember to “live in the moment” and savor what’s left of college. As graduation comes closer and closer, it’s easy to start reminiscing about the events that helped define our time at UNC.
Here are just a few ways to make 2014ers feel nostalgic about the past:
1) Tell us you’re from the Class of 2015. Or 2016, or 2017…
As if the F-word (that’s “future,” y’all) couldn’t get any scarier, hearing younger students’ graduation years can sometimes feel like getting hit by a train.
“Like, the current freshmen are graduating in 2017. That makes me feel ancient thinking about what I’ll be doing in 2017,” says Dominique Moore, a senior PWAD (peace, war and defense) and anthropology double major.
I don’t even know what I’m going to be doing in May 2014, let alone 2017. It’s weird to think that we’re about to graduate from UNC when younger students are just beginning to explore different options with their majors and minors.
“With the younger classes, it makes me feel old/sad/happy when they complain about things like ECON 101 or how they were the greatest student in their high school, or when they talk about the dreams they have for after college,” Moore says. “I just think to myself, ‘Boy they have a long road ahead of them.’”
2) List the First-Year Seminars you’re taking this semester (or took in the past).
For those of us who are double majors (perhaps with an additional minor, if the ambition is high enough), taking classes for fun might not be possible anymore. First-year seminars were a great way to explore our interests more in-depth in ways we never did before. Where else can you combine music with math, learn about “the physics of movies” and create LEGO robots?
However, it seems that the list of FYS classes changes every semester. To to all first-years, I highly encourage you to embrace this once-in-four-years opportunity to take a quirky class that is exclusive to you. Anyone else take JOMC 61: Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll? I didn’t think so.
3) Order a smoothie from Jamba Juice, or even just mention its name.
I will never forget the first time I tried the Strawberries Wild smoothie – it was nothing short of a magical moment for my taste buds. It was smooth, sweet and ‘berry nice’ — my favorite part was getting to the chunks of frozen berries that were left at the bottom of the cup.
For students who only see chairs and tables at the bottom of Lenoir where Jamba Juice used to be, this ever-popular snack vendor often saw clusters of students waiting to get their smoothie fix for the day. When I heard that Jamba Juice was closing, I bought myself a — you guessed it — Strawberries Wild smoothie and shut myself in the bathroom of Davis Library and cried, tears rolling down my cheeks on either side of the straw (okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, but there were a lot of feelings).
Freshens replaced Jamba Juice back in 2012, but that was short-lived. Now we’ve got Healthy Bowl, which still serves Freshens smoothies, but it just isn’t the same.
4) Ask, “What’s CTOPS?”
Admittedly, “CTOPS” sounds so much cooler than Carolina Testing & Orientation Program Sessions. I still have my 2009-2010 True Blue Traditions Book, which includes a complete bucket list of things that every UNC student should do before he or she graduates. One of those checklist items says, “Reunite with some from your old CTOPS group.” (You can be sure that I’ve already crossed this off my list. Talk about a #throwback.)
If you look on the website for UNC Division of Student Affairs, the term “CTOPS” is nowhere to be found. Apparently, they’ve decided that the best title for an orientation program geared toward first-year students is “first-year student orientation.” Who knew? At least orientation leaders are still called OLs.
5) Check out the Twitter feeds of these four former UNC basketball players: Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, Tyler Zeller and John Henson.
I never got into sports (even UNC sports) until the spring of 2012 after I attended my first basketball game and started recognizing the faces of student-athletes around campus. The day I met Kendall Marshall, he and John Henson were passing by in the Pit. Marshall was holding a Jamba Juice smoothie in his right hand (the same side as his broken wrist). He wore an LRG Brilliant Youth tee, square-shaped glasses and a humble smile. I remember introducing myself and telling him that we were all extremely proud of him. (As much as I like to roll my eyes at “the starstruck,” there may or may not have been some major fangirling going on on that particular day.)
We were sophomores when these four Tar Heels — Marshall, Henson, Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller — got drafted in the NBA in 2012. As senior Sydney Harris puts it, “that was the year we had a great chance to win it.” Nobody wants to talk about how Dexter Strickland injured the ACL in his right knee while playing against Virginia Tech, or how John Henson sprained his wrist during the ACC tournament against Maryland.
Harris says even though she wishes they had stayed at UNC so the team could’ve pulled itself together, she is a huge fan of the NBA and understands that “when the money is right, the money is right.”
“It does make me really happy though when they have a good game, or are regarded highly by announcers, since they are Tar Heels and we went to school together at the same time,” says Harris, a journalism and exercise and sports science double major. “For some reason, even though I never knew them personally, it makes me feel a stronger tie to them watching them.”
6) Take out a picture of Vintage Lenoir.
It may come as a surprise to some of you, but there was a time when Med Deli didn’t exist at Lenoir Mainstreet and the salad bar at Top of Lenoir wasn’t an elongated buffet line. But our dining hall isn’t the only building that has had major renovations in recent years. Does anyone still remember the Cabaret, that dimly lit theater room in the Underground of the Student Union? I had part of my CTOPS (oh excuse me, first-year orientation) experience in there, as well as my first Casino Night with UNC CUSA. All of this was pre-Wendy’s, by the way.
7) Put on some “Mipso.”
They serenaded us numerous times at Cat’s Cradle, in front of South Building and on the steps of Wilson Library. That was the old days, though, before Jacob, Wood and Joseph graduated in May 2013. Now they’re touring all over the country and even outside the USA, becoming one of the most well-known (if not the most well-known) student bands to originate from UNC.
Even though they’ve left the university, Mipso keeps making big moves — like releasing their second album, Dark Holler Pop. The band recently celebrated their third anniversary and came out with “Mipso in Japan,” a Jon Kasbe documentary that follows the band’s summer adventures in Japan.
Students who have been fans of Mipso since their first year — *raises hand* — still listen to their music and follow news about them.
Senior Chenxi Yu says she misses hearing and seeing members of the band around campus.
“They are a big part of my college experience because I saw the band grow and develop during my four years at Carolina,” says Yu, a senior double majoring in math and economics and minoring in entrepreneurship. “It’s like you experienced that process with them, together. When they were leaving Carolina last year, we were also entering senior year. They released ‘Carolina Calling’ during then and it is just a perfect song to describe my feelings back then. Of course, [I] felt a little warm inside listening to it.”
The truth is, we all experience what it means to attend UNC-Chapel Hill. But every UNC class is different. Each one comprises of students with intelligent minds, unique passions and expectations of what they want college to be like. When the Class of 2014 finally and inevitably leaves in May, we will have contributed our own legacies to Carolina’s history (e.g. UNC’s dance minor, approved by Chancellor Holden Thorp in February 2013) as well as taken away unforgettable memories that we can proudly say were made at Carolina.