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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: A review of my first real semester on campus

Students walk past Wilson Library on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.

For many, the end of the semester marks a time of reflection. The sophomore class has technically been in college for the last three semesters, but after last year's COVID-19 cancellations, this feels like the first. 

Like many in my class, I spent my freshman year behind a blank Zoom screen on an empty campus. 

This year has been our first time experiencing the typical college functions: in-person classes, eating at the Bottom of Lenoir, fraternity parties and walking across the quad. 

Here’s my review of the first “real” college semester:

In-person classes

The return to in-person classes was not without controversy. Yet, it was the right move. Personally, it has been a world's difference in learning, focusing and retaining information — face-to-face with a professor. 

Forming new friendships and meeting people who share similar passions has been one of the most exciting parts of my semester. Additionally, some professors have utilized their COVID-19 broadcasting experience to record to hold an online option for class. More options have made it easier than ever to access lectures. 

Admittedly, while it was much easier to roll over in bed, fire up Zoom and sit behind a blank screen for 50 minutes, in-person classes have my vote. 

Dining Halls

Yes, the dining hall was open for a brief period in the fall and in the spring, but it wasn’t the same. 

Now, the Top of Lenoir is open, all the restaurants below are fully operational and Late Night at Chase has captured our hearts. 

Yes, I know some people aren’t the biggest fans of the food, and I too question if the dining halls know they can season the food with anything other than salt. Yet, between the breakfast food at Chase and the burrito bowls at Lenoir, the dining halls easily make up for their shortcomings. 

Plus, it’s even more fun when you can sit with friends instead of having to yell from tables six feet across.

The Feel of Campus

I still remember the sight of so many students leaving my jaw open. The sight of a full campus, festivities in the Pit and people walking to and from class were foreign to many of us. 

The joys of being able to hit up Franklin Street and explore the Chapel Hill nightlife has been a joy. 

Even grinding late at Davis Library has been a welcomed change from our bedrooms. 


Last, but certainly not least, has been those game-day experiences. After a year of empty stadiums, the Tar Heel faithful are back to watch the various successful athletic teams. 

I, like many other students, grew up a die-hard UNC fan. For many of us, game days are a lifetime experience of being able to cheer on UNC athletics from the student sections.

After a year of an empty campus and Zoom classes, the return to campus was highly anticipated. While, like any college experience, there are difficulties to manage. Still, the return to campus has been all I expected— plus some.

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It just feels good to be back.