The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday December 6th

Column: The Carolina in my mind


Columnist Benji Schwartz

It’s time for me to leave this place.

All of the clubs I’m a part of are holding their last meetings, and this will be my last piece for The Daily Tar Heel, the group that I dedicated myself to for the past four years. I’m a senior, after all, and the end of the semester is upon us.

It’s a little strange that we call fourth-years seniors. It lends itself to a type of melodrama where 22-year-olds prance about as the venerated elders of an ever-changing community.

It’s easily laughable — I say as an eager participant who spent the past year telling younger friends about how things used to be in the days of old.

And don’t think for a second that I won’t participate in the most morbid senior tradition of all — to look back, as if I am an old man, and reflect on a life here that lasted just four short years.

What is there to be said? I loved my time here. Not everything was good, but I will remember my time fondly.

I’ll remember hearing birdsongs in the morning at the end of an all-nighter that I may have resorted to with a bit too much eagerness, and I’ll remember cursing as I saw the sun peek through the blinds.

Any time I have a burger I’ll think of Buns, and I’m certain no faux-Mexican meal will beat the Qdoba nachos I had at 2 a.m. on LDOC during my first year here.

And from that first year I’ll remember what it was like learning how to pace my drinking, and the ... mistakes I made along the way. I’ll remember the night during the first or second week when I called home, crying, just wondering if I’d ever feel like I could fit in or feel okay here.

I hope my friends stick with me in the future, but if they don’t, I’ll remember them as good, decent people, who brought me to many a fun adventure and never ceased bringing me joy. They stayed with me on the bad nights, too — making sure I never needed to make a call like that again.

Above all else I think I’ll remember that one “Carolina Day” — it’s a day that never happened to me, and I don’t know if it has ever happened to anyone, but I remember it all the same.

The day happens sometime during the first year, when everything about this campus is still new. I’m walking by our aquarium-colored football stadium, on a red brick pathway that is both missing too many bricks and stretching on for far too long.

It’s a little too warm outside for a Yankee like me, but there’s a perfectly timed breeze that helps me move forward when I think of taking a breather. It also cuts off James Taylor, crooning from somewhere near the alumni center. I can see the sunshine, Mr. Taylor, but I don’t feel any moonshine right now.

And while they may have no place in this memory specifically, four words exist in the background of this moment.

They’re the most important words of all:

“Go to hell Duke.”


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