The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

As summer comes to a close, UNC students reflect on what they missed about campus

<p>UNC Chapel Hill students take part in UNC's 2021 SmallFest, an adapted version of the FallFest tradition from years past, on August 24, 2021. Despite the COVID modifications--less organizations at one time, a shorter time frame each day, and lengthening SmallFest to a week-long endeavor--students turn out in droves for free swag, fun activiities, and, of course, to find organizations to join.</p>
Buy Photos UNC students take part in the 2021 SmallFest, an adapted version of the FallFest tradition from years past, on Aug. 24. For many students, getting involved in campus organizations is a way of finding community.

Ahead of the fall semester, The Daily Tar Heel asked UNC students to reflect on what they missed about campus life over the summer and what makes the University a true home away from home.

Torin O’brien is a rising junior double majoring in biology and Asian studies. O’brien says she misses the beautiful pine trees on campus because she doesn’t have them where she’s from.

“All of the old trees that have been there for like 300 years," O'brien said. "It's super cool. It’s so nice in the fall."

She said she also misses being able to see her friends whenever she wanted, and that the University allows so many people with different interests to come together in one place. 

“UNC has been a really important step in, just like, me figuring out what I want to do with my life," O'brien said. "I think requiring Gen Eds was really pivotal, and making me take a science made me realize I do want to study biology versus, like, econ."

O'brien also said she missed UNC's basketball culture and the excitement it creates within the student body.

“Having that atmosphere around sports and basketball games and just having the whole community come together and root for something, and the hype around it every day is so exciting," O'brien said. "It makes your heart pound. You're like 'I'm Tar Heel born and bred.'"

O’brien isn’t the only student missing basketball season — rising junior and nursing major Sarah Ford said she misses basketball season and the student section the most.

“I miss going to the games or even just watching them with friends,” Ford said.

She said she looks forward to the return of basketball season.

“I miss Franklin Street too, like eating out on the weekends," Ford said. "Sup Dogs, especially.”

Ford said she looks forward to going to the library with friends and having a set schedule, even though she doesn’t really miss doing homework.

“The community has definitely made me want to be a part of campus,” Ford said. 

Aparna Venkatraman is a rising sophomore and business and information science double major. She said she misses studying late at night as a first-year student in the Hinton James Residence Hall lounges. 

"That was really fun, and definitely something that I probably can't experience again for a while — I don't think I'm ever going to experience that ever again,” Venkatraman said. 

She said she also misses going to the Carolina Union in the morning to get Alpine Bagel.

“The community is super inclusive so that I’m able to try a bunch of new things that I never thought I’d try before coming to college,” Venkatraman said.

In her first year, she remembers going to SmallFest.

“I signed up for a ton of different clubs. And so the community for extracurriculars is really encouraging,” Venkatraman said.

She also said she missed her classes, particularly her large lecture classes.

"I made some of my best friends in classes that have around 400 people," Venkatraman said. "I took my first econ class first semester, and I made two of my best friends in that class.”

Venkatraman said the University has impacted her life by showing her that she can do things she never thought she would be able to do.

"Every single day, I think about what I want to accomplish,” Venkatraman said. "I'm reminded of the amazing faculty, an encouraging student body, and the professors that would undoubtedly support me in whatever I plan to do."

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