Hello, new Tar Heel. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Here comes another seasoned upperclassmen trying to give me sage advice about 'remember the good times' and 'make the most of it.'"
Well, guess what? You're right. Clearly, you're very smart; that's why you're here.
And while I am here to talk about how important being mindful of your Carolina experience is, I'm not here to be sappy about it. In fact, let's get brash, shall we?
In truth, I don't remember a whole lot of my first year at UNC. I can recount two or three big moments, but the only thing left to fill the in-betweens is a generally positive feeling. It's a warm, hazy remembrance, bereft of specificity, but full of chuckles to myself about nothing in particular.
For example, I can tell you about how I got a police escort to UNC Hospitals on Halloweekend because my friend had imbibed a bit too freely. I can tell you that it was a lovely experience chatting with the friendly officer who let me ride in the front seat of her cruiser so I could lie by my friend until we lumbered home in the fog at 7 a.m., hours before campus would wake to their own horror or fantasy stories of the night before.
I can tell you about awaking in the middle of the night to a girl who was not my roommate rustling around in my room. I can tell you that she kept asking into the dark "Where's my phone?" as she was guiding her steps with her iPhone flashlight. I can tell you that the hilarity ensued even still as I woke up the next morning to shorts, undergarments and a retainer on my floor left by the pantsless punk in her hurry to flee. I can tell you that my friends and I laughed about it for weeks.
I can also tell you about the first time I got a -50 points (out of 100) on a journalism assignment because I miscalculated a source's age. I can tell you it was the moment I said, "That's it. I'm going pre-med." I can tell you that was a very brief stint and that a CHEM 101 'withdraw' on your transcript is a trifle hardly worth fretting over.
I can tell you about the two or three times I cried harder than I'd ever cried before in a crumpled mess on the floor of my room with my suitemates around me, feeding me all the love I thought I didn't have.
What I can't tell you, but what I wish I could, was how I felt on my first FDOC, or during my first exams, or on spring break or even on the last day of my first year. I can't really remember whole swaths of that school year because so much happened. So much.
Every day of your college career is exceptional, and you don't register that until they are all behind you. I wouldn't put such an emphasis on mentally snapshotting every single day if this time wasn't limited. But it is.
Not every day is a celebration, but every day is worth celebrating. You don't, and will not, have everything figured out by the time you get here, or even by the time you're done. But if you've done it right, you'll have some wild stories to tell that might make you feel strong for surviving them.
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