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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: Surviving your first week at UNC

Because of the pandemic, many students–freshmen and sophomores alike–are coming to campus for the first time. The Pit is alive again on Monday, Aug. 16.

If you’ve had to ask where something is already this semester, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The class of 2025 is making their debut on campus, alongside the class of 2024 who attended Zoom University during their first year. Equally confused is the class of 2023, who hasn’t been on campus since March 2020.

So if you’re a first-year, sophomore or junior who is struggling to get your bearings on campus, here are the Editorial Board’s tips for being a first year (all over again):

Get ready for lots of walking

If you’re like us, you may have forgotten how big campus actually is, especially if you live on South Campus. And it’s brutal out here in the heat of August. Plan ahead, find those shortcuts, leave enough time to walk to class and invest in deodorant. Consider bringing your bike or using a campus bike if you’re trying to get from Hinton James to classes!

Buy the cheapest meal plan

You may think you will go to the dining hall four times a day, but let us tell you that the food gets old real quick. Buy the cheapest swipe options for your meal plan and you’ll likely still have plenty left over to give to the needy seniors at the end of the semester. 

Learn the bus system

Google Maps, NextBus and TransLoc Rider are your friends and they will all give you invaluable information as you learn to navigate Chapel Hill Transit. It is free, so take advantage of it! Go for a joy ride on the NU route and see where it takes you, or ride the A from your house to University Place. The buses will take you all around campus and (did we mention), they are free!

Find your toilet

This campus was built in the 18th century. Some of the bathrooms are just as old and crusty as you would expect them to be. If you’re able to find a pristine and clean toilet, “urine” luck. Do your research and find the toilet best suited for your excretory system. We recommend avoiding the libraries and the older buildings like Phillips Hall. The Student Union and Genome Sciences are our pristine latrines!

Know where to study

Although Davis may be the go-to study spot, it’s no lie that it can get loud fast. Finding a quiet study spot early in the year can be a lifesaver later, may it be a study room in your dorm building or in the corner of the Sloane Art Library. There are plenty of quiet spots across campus just waiting to be discovered.

Earn those Fever points

Cheer on the Tar Heels in every sport! To get tickets to the big football and men’s basketball games you need Carolina Fever points. It’s awesome to learn about a new sport, discover hidden talent on the field and do it all with your fellow Tar Heel fans. When you go to other sporting events, you can earn points and get big perks. 

Invest for the rain

It doesn’t rain often in Chapel Hill, but when it does, expect a downpour. Given the hilly nature of campus, it’s best to invest in rain boots and a good windbreaker. And just to be safe and protect your belongings, probably a waterproof backpack, too.

Find free food on campus

Free food is all over campus — it’s just a matter of finding it. Check out Facebook for free food pages at UNC, or stalk Heel Life to find out which clubs are stocking interest meetings with pizza and snacks to stockpile your dorm room with.

It’s important to remember most of us came to campus not knowing any of this, yet we survived it all. You will learn your own tips and tricks for navigating campus soon enough, just be patient and learn from your elder peers.  


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