The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday June 2nd

Column: Thriving in college – it’s simple!

DTH Photo Illustration. UNC student works on his College Thriving homework on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. Students complete modules for the class every week.
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. UNC student works on his College Thriving homework on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. Students complete modules for the class every week.

Learn how to thrive in college — all it takes is a mandatory course for fall 2022 first-years. Easy, guaranteed steps to collegiate success!

I know what you’re thinking. "Finally, an answer to all our problems. With the completion of this course, I am now guaranteed a college experience where I will thrive!"

Yeah, okay. Nice try, UNC.

In the University's new curriculum, first-years are required to take a one-credit hour pass/fail course entitled College Thriving. 

With the aid and guidance of watching the provided videos, listening to podcasts and keeping up with the required readings, a successful transition to college is sure to ensue. 

You might have to take the class on Thursdays at 8 a.m., but don’t you fret. Some teachers have been known to distribute Dunkin Donuts Munchkins in class.

The class was introduced as part of the IDEAS in Action curriculum, with the goal that students will strengthen their basic academic and personal skills, according to the University. Each week, the class meets to participate in a group discussion led by the academic advisor teaching their course section. 

Topics vary — from learning how to develop a growth mindset to discussing how to make positive commitments. Students might be expected to complete their assigned module for the week and upload responses to reflection questions for homework. 

In all honesty, a class to help students acclimate to college life could offer a lot of peace to first-years going through this major transition. But I don’t think this class is the answer.

For one, most of these professors show up to class and adopt a “let's get through this together” attitude, which sets the mood for the entire period. In my experience, this results in students doodling or staring out the window as their professor does their best to run out the clock. 

You don’t want to be there, so why should they pretend like they want to be, right? 


I’m not supporting the mandatory installment of this class. However, if it must be held, at least make it worth everyone’s time. 

If you are new to UNC, the workload hits you like a ton of bricks. After your first few weeks here, your patience grows thinner and thinner when people, places and things take your time for granted.  If you ask me, having a mandatory time sucker built into your schedule doesn't result in collegiate thriving. 

I can’t tell you the amount of friends I've made because I asked for help or bounded over our mutual confusion or frustration in a course. The first semester of college is formative for the rest of the years you'll spend there.

Feeling lonely is normal — especially since the beginning of the pandemic. Transitioning to college is hard. Making friends is harder.

You might not have the answers yet, but that is to be expected! Fake it 'til you make it and learn as you go. 

When you learn from your experiences, you are learning how you thrive. Taking a course on collegiate thriving neglects your knowledge, experiences, capabilities and potential. It undermines you by providing a path to success that might not be meant for you.

Through the advertisement of this course, UNC is selling us the dream for a college student at a public university. They are telling you that this is what you want and this is how you get there.

But I believe everyone has their own path to success.

Thriving isn’t something that can be achieved through a set of steps and the completion of a few modules. You have to fail. Lots of times. And what might work for your roommate might not work for you. In fact, it most likely won’t.

But when you fail, you must pick yourself back up and carry that experience with you. This will allow you to thrive. It looks different for everyone.

Find your path, and never let anyone try to manipulate it with a syllabus.


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