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Gap, American Eagle, Polo, Abercrombie & Fitch, Kenneth Cole and Timberland are his brands of choice.

"I'm a sucker for clothes," Powell said. "It's a habit I have to break."

And with a semester almost under his belt full of budget woes and parking stress, Powell is still in the learning phase of his freshman year.

By the time he deals with his car, cellular phone, his affinity for clothes and normal college expenses, Budgeting 101 might as well be included in his class schedule.

When a bill from his Gap credit card was sent to his home instead of his residence hall room, his mother wasn't all that pleased. "I caught a little heat for that," he said.

But while balancing expenses takes an extra effort, Powell also agrees that adjusting academically is important.

With an academic course load filled with Spanish 4, English 12, Political Science 41 and a First-Year Seminar, Powell is wading through classes normal to a UNC freshman.

Powell is fighting his way through is his political science class, "Introduction to Government in the United States."

The large lecture, the essays, The New York Times articles and the exams just aren't for Powell. "That's the most challenging class I have," he said.

Ask him about his psychology class, and he'll be the first to tell you he said good-bye to the class after the first exam.

"People sleep on the difficulty of Psych 10," he said. "You can have the same course, and the teachers make all the difference. It's a game of luck."

Powell admits that in this game known as UNC, you have to be on your toes.

Early in the semester, a Tar Heel Parking flier advertising off-campus parking spaces for rent was slid under his Craige Residence Hall door.

After Powell shelled out $150 for the spaces, he and other buyers realized the parking lot wasn't up to par.

And after legal disputes, Powell got a refund from the lot owner. "I learned you can't trust everything," he said. "Not everything that comes under your door is legit."

While Powell adjusts to his workload, finances and search for the perfect parking spot, his family in Rocky Mount has been cheering him on from afar as he tries his luck.

With a twin sister, four older sisters and divorced parents, Powell has been man of the house for a while. But he credits his family with being his biggest fans. "I have really strong family support," he said. "I was born blessed with the best family in the world."

He says his mother plays a big part in keeping him grounded. "She keeps me more emotionally stable," he said.

And Powell said that while he has never lived with his father, that hasn't prohibited them from fostering a strong father-son relationship. "My father's always been in my life," he said. "That's something that I commend him for."

Every couple of days, Powell calls his twin sister, Ceone, who attends N.C. Central University, to catch up.

Trips back to Rocky Mount bring to light changes that have occurred since the 18-year-old went off to college. "I hate being idle now," Powell said.

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And he's far from being a passive participant in UNC life. He sat on the Homecoming Steering Committee, which planned this year's festivities.

Keeping to his goal to involve himself in the Black Student Movement, Powell's been a BSM junkie of late.

He serves as co-chairman of the Freshman Class Committee and was voted Mr. Freshman BSM for his active role in the organization.

But Powell's not limiting himself to one organization. "(BSM's) a good gateway to other things on campus," he said, adding Student Congress as a group he's interested in.

The "to be Greek or not to be" question also has entered Powell's mind. But he says, for now, he's focusing on academics. "I'm just trying to concentrate on getting a solid GPA and be a solid academic student before thinking about going Greek," he said.

But Powell doesn't want any activity to define him.

He said, "I'll always be Deone."

The Features Editor can be reached


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