#CelebratingUNC: Favorite Spots on Campus from a First Year's Perspective

Navigating UNC’s campus as a first-year can be incredibly overwhelming. All the buildings look the same, the signs are tiny, Google maps isn’t always reliable and there are a lot of people walking around at the same time. UNC has a student population of 18,000 undergrads and 11,000 grads so finding those perfect spots on campus to hang out, study or relax can be challenging. We're now halfway through the first semester and I have done my fair share of wandering aimlessly around campus, exploring the hidden alcoves and coming across way too many sets of stairs. In no particular order, my favorite spots on campus are:

  • The steps of Wilson Library

  • The stairwell of HoJo that faces the sunrise side, and alternately the stairwell on my side with an amazing view of the sunset

  • The study rooms on the top floors of Davis, where time does not exist

  • The outside alcove in between Venable and Murray

  • The Dean Dome

  • Kessing Outdoor Pool

  • Kenan Stadium at night

  • Honorable mention goes to the P2P at 2 am.

I asked my suitemates and friends for their input, and it was interesting to see the places to which they gravitate.

My best friend, Lindsey Oldt, echoed my affection for Wilson Library, the quad, Kenan Stadium and the Dean Dome but also added that she loves Coker Arboretum, the Old Well, Davie Poplar and the fantastic piece of art that is the spider.

My suitemates, Lizzy Campbell, Ava Eucker and Anna Southwell, all mentioned places that I haven’t been to very often, such as the meditation room, the EspressOasis café in the FedEx global center and the second floor of the Union where the fish tank is. Another one of my suitemates, Eleanor Murray, joined the “I love Wilson Library” club but specifically listed that the side ledges next to the steps are some of her favorite places to relax. Julia Walia, my lovely roommate, texted me that she absolutely loves sitting in the quad at night, looking up at the stars and reflecting on the day that passed.

I texted a bunch of group chats that I’m in and got so many awesome responses from my friends about their favorite spots. Kate Leach acknowledged that the bottom of the Undergraduate Library is a fantastic place to study or take a nap (the couches are really comfortable). The hallway area behind Chapman Hall was submitted by Andrew Henriques, while Austin Hughes listed the UL, HoJo, Rams dining hall and Bowman Gray/Kessing pools. Catherine Buccholtz, a massive Carolina basketball fan, naturally said the Dean Dome but also loves to relax on the quad. My favorite music major, Scott Hallyburton, of course loves being in Kenan Music Building, which everyone should stop by sometime because there’s always great music coming from there. The fountain outside Davie Hall is a favorite of Kate Leo’s, which we pass by on our way to our policy class.

Regardless of whether you know everything about campus or are still using maps to find your way around, the truth is that we first-years have 3 ½ years (more than, actually) to explore and discover what will become our favorite spots on campus. UNC has been around for 225 years, which means there will always be something new to find on our sprawling and beautiful campus. There’s something for everyone here. Whether you find it now or in your last semester of senior year; it doesn’t matter. You’ll find the places here that make UNC feel like home. We’re only halfway through the first semester. We have time.