Dear class of 2025,
Congratulations! You got into UNC. If you choose to go here, you will be joining the ranks of over 342,000 alumni spanning 50 states and 149 countries. These alumni seem to have done everything, from being legendary basketball players to key researchers of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Governors, broadcasters, writers and a president are all graduates of this University. Wherever you go, you’ll see some glint of UNC around you. Whether it’s a Blue Cup from He’s Not Here at a random bar or hearing the cheer of “Tar......Heel” repeated halfway across the world, this place seems to have a never-ending reach.
However, being a UNC student isn’t all fun and games. Academically, it’s a demanding place. You will probably see your first “bad grade” and face some failure. Some random class you take from outside your major as part of the general education curriculum will push and test you. Good, embrace it! To quote J. M. Barrie, “We are all failures — at least the best of us are.”
Beyond the academic realm, there’s much more at Chapel Hill. There’s exploring the restaurants on Franklin Street, attending a UNC athletic event, seeing your favorite artists at Cat’s Cradle and engaging with the community. But there’s also the occasional appearance of armed neo-Confederates, a water crisis and the still-lingering accusations of “paper classes."
As soon as you announce you are attending this University, you will also have a target on your back. From friends at N.C. State who want to have a rivalry to the Duke University students who look down on you, you are now a lightning rod for their anti-UNC vitriol. Choose your online battles wisely, and when in doubt, take the high road. Just remember we have the most national championships in the ACC (and don’t be afraid to use that statistic).
We raise both a toast and challenge to you, class of 2025. Hold yourself, each other and UNC to a high standard. Wherever you go from here, UNC will follow. Be it a SportsCenter highlight of some athletic victory or a headline that screams of failure, the reach of UNC is truly global. When UNC messes up (which it eventually will), it will have some small effect on you.
So, what to do? When someone or something lets you down, don’t spend too much time waiting on an apology — focus on holding them accountable. To apologize is to wallow in the past, but to focus on accountability is to continually reform the future.
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