#WhyILoveUNC: Advice from a UNC Senior

After four years at UNC, I've learned a lot about navigating the ups and downs of college life.

To the incoming freshman, I understand how intimidating the prospect of college can be. Or, maybe, you think you're ready for it, but trust me when I say that it's not as glamorous as the movies make it out to be. Yes, there's a lot of fun involved, including sports, clubs, on-campus organizations and the opportunity to meet new people. However, I also know it's easy to get swept up in all of the fun stuff and forget that you also need to juggle a full class schedule, internships and preparing for life outside of university. Although it might not seem like those things aren't important now, it's never too early to start planning ahead.

But what are some things you can do to make the most of your freshman year?

1. Join on-campus clubs and organizations that align with your interests.

When I started my freshman year, I made sure I went to Fall Fest in order to get an idea of the types of clubs I could join. It's the best way to explore different opportunities and see which one can add the most value to your college career. For example, as an English major, I knew I wanted to possibly do something with writing. Thus, I was more than excited to sign up for the creative writing club. With 800 student organizations, you're sure to find something that satisfies your interests and meet some new people along the way.

2. Take advantage of UNC's career services early.

Yes, I know the last thing Freshmen think about is career placement after college. After all, you're probably thinking you have four years ahead of you, why worry about that kind of thing now? I can understand this way of thinking. However, it's never too early to think about the future. UNC's online Handshake service provides internship and employment opportunities, so you don't even necessarily have to visit the office. Instead, start exploring your options early. It will definitely come in handy later. Here's a link to my Handshake profile if you're curious about what it looks like!

3. GO TO LECTURES!

Alright, so attendance at those big lectures isn't mandatory. That doesn't mean it's okay to sleep through your 9:00 am. A lot of students seem to think they can get by with attending the first and last day, only coming in for exams. But doesn't that defeat the purpose of even going to university? And I know you're probably just as thrilled as I was with some of the required Gen Ed's (sarcasm intended), but let's face it: you paid a lot of money to attend UNC, so don't let it go to waste.

4. Take care of yourself.

Yeah, I know, it seems obvious, but you'll be surprised by the number of people I know who complain about exhaustion on a regular basis. And no, it doesn't actually have to be just a college thing to be exhausted 24/7, especially during your freshman year. Go to bed at a reasonable time, eat regular meals, exercise as much as you can and don't feel the need to go to parties every weekend. Sorry, I know I sound really lame, but I've been through it all. 

5. Use UNC's resources.

I was actually intimidated by Davis library and did not once step foot inside until my sophomore year. And that was only because I needed to check-out a book. Ever heard of the writing center? If not, then you're not alone. I've used the writing center multiple times (and I'm an English major!), and it's really helped me out, especially when it came to writing for classes outside my major. Even if you don't want to visit the writing center, UNC offers an online submission process which allows you to turn in a draft and receive feedback. Do it! 

And for the people who are worried about this next step, don't stress about it; I was really hesitant as well. Just remember that, very soon, you'll be settled down in a routine, making new friends and finding your niche on campus. College is a wonderful adventure, so enjoy the ride.