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The Daily Tar Heel

Class of '02 -- Revel in the Waning Moments of College Life

After 2 1/2 weeks away from Chapel Hill, I breathed a long sigh of relief on Thursday night as my plane skidded to a stop on the runway at RDU.

And my long exhalation wasn't just because I hate flying.

Nor could it have been attributed solely to the fact that my plane had just landed (although somewhat unsuccessfully) on an unplowed runway in the middle of a snowstorm in of all places -- the South.

There is something about returning to UNC for a fresh semester that is -- in and of itself -- sublimely comforting.

A new semester means a new atmosphere, new experiences, new chances to hang out with friends and a new shot at actually attending class.

Better yet -- the upcoming semester is a spring semester, bringing the promise that the cold snow will soon melt away to lengthening days, blossoming dogwoods and warm evenings at He's Not Here. And there is always Spring Break.

Mmm ...

But my moment of calm reflection and eager anticipation came to a screeching halt for two completely unrelated reasons.

Just moments later my plane encountered a snowdrift that made it wobble a little too erratically for comfort, and for some reason, I was struck too by the stark reality that this is my final semester at UNC.

When confronted with these two potentially unnerving scenarios, I came to what might seem to be an illogical realization.

It was the thought of leaving UNC -- not the thought of getting marooned on a plane in the freezing cold somewhere in the boonies behind RDU -- that caused me more alarm.

This semester there will be no need to register for fall classes.

The next time I see my parents will be at graduation.

When I head home to New York again, it will not be as a carefree college student but as a UNC alumna.

The next time students return to school for a fresh semester, I won't be a student anymore.

And the thought of graduating began to scare the hell out of me.

Maybe my apprehension stemmed from the fact that it seems like yesterday when I walked onto campus as a freshman.

Or perhaps my quickening pulse was caused by the nagging thought that I can't remember what my life was like prior to college -- before I met all the friends I have made during my time at UNC.

I wonder what I will do with my life when this whole whirlwind of classes and The Daily Tar Heel ends, knowing deep down that I really am not sure.

And in the midst of all these heavy thoughts, I was suddenly struck -- like by a lightning bolt -- by one inalienable truth.

Life is only going to get more complicated from here.

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Pretty soon I will have to find a job, I will have to establish credit, I will have to secure my own health insurance.

In all likelihood, I will not be able to sleep late on Friday mornings, or stay up until 4 a.m. on any night of the week.

I might even have to wear panty hose to work.

Based on these realizations, I offer to my fellow seniors one piece of advice that is meant to help guide you through the next four and a half months: Revel, revel, revel!

Revel as much as you can, as hard as you can and as often as you can.

It doesn't matter what your idea of revelry is.

Maybe it's attending a basketball game for free at the Dean Dome or catching a nap on the quad between classes on soft day in the early spring. Maybe it's participating in a campus organization or dancing the night away at Player's.

But whatever you cherish about college -- enjoy it this semester. So that when we all line up at Kenan Stadium in May, it will be with no regrets.

Members of the class of 2002: It's time to live it up.

That's not to say that we should all go buck-wild and become a bunch of lethargic slackers.

Much to the contrary, now is the time to continue doing everything you have always done -- only to do it that much better.

Whatever you are involved it, give it your all.

Spend as much time as possible with the people that you can't remember your life without.

Enjoy each moment as it passes.

Don't worry too much about the future because in spite of how hard we might try to delay it, it is going to come anyway.

And everything will work out just fine -- for many of us, I would imagine, in ways we never would have expected.

So in the meantime, take an afternoon and stroll around campus just to notice the way in which the sunlight illuminates campus landmarks.

Run through sprinklers on the quad in the middle of the night.

Do all those things you meant to do as a freshman but somehow just didn't ever get around to doing.

Revel in being a college student just a little while longer.

DTH Editor Katie Hunter can be reached at krhunter@email.unc.edu.

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