The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday March 27th

Column: So long, friend

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As we go on, we remember ... what?

That’s a popular song you likely sobbed along to in high school with friends as you got ready to leave for the next step. Sorry for getting it stuck in your head.

Probably much like our last graduation, we’ll remember the good times, the new-found freedoms and, of course, our friends.

As I write my last words in The Daily Tar Heel, I can’t help but think about what I’ll remember about Chapel Hill.

I realized we all have one unique friend we will remember — that’s UNC. It truly has a life of its own, and has been with us every step of the way.

My journey with this friend was a bit different. Through the DTH, I got a behind-the-scenes look at problems and weaknesses at the University as well as its good days.

But what’s a friend if you’re not there in the bad times, too?

When I stepped on to this campus for the first time far away from home, I assumed that four years later, not much would change. I’d stand in Kenan with the same chancellor who welcomed me at CTOPS for graduation, cheer on the same teams with the same coaches and be the same person I was then, just a bit wiser, hopefully.

Being on the front lines of UNC’s battle with itself in the past years has been exhausting, and maybe disheartening at times. There have been many situations where I wish I had heard more answers to those problems, and my friend UNC would have been more open with me about them. But who can predict the future? For example, take this year.

I expected a year like last, with protests and buzz constantly around sexual assault on campus. UNC has continued that recurring storyline, much of it concerning a long process of righting itself and reforming policies; one that I hope will eventually finish.

Surprisingly, the first jolt of the year was the situation with P.J. Hairston. It served as an example of what seems to be a national trend, where impermissible benefits have become the new designer drug with a few tempted athletes struggling to resist. An unstable situation with athletes that revolves around academics, payment, extra privileges and so much more, it’s almost too big to classify as one issue.

Mary Willingham brought UNC back into the national spotlight again, and I understood the outrage by some members of our community, especially the class of 2014. We’ve undergone a lot, so rolling our eyes was a natural response.

What I’ve learned is that UNC, like any friend, has its bad days. And it may never be perfect, but knowing this has made me wiser.

I feel fulfilled, despite things not being where I thought they would be four years ago, and despite the questions that will eat me up even when I step away from the brick pathways for good.

That’s part of a deep connection I have to this place. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t write. I wouldn’t give it a second thought and you wouldn’t read about it.

Now, I leave it to all of you.

To quote Billy Joel: I’m movin’ out.

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