When I got to UNC in August 2020, I had just spent five months isolated from the outside world. After March 2020, when Wake County Public Schools shut down, my world was never the same.
I was already an introvert and coming to a place with more than double the number of students than my entire hometown was intimidating. But then, it got even worse.
I was planning to live in Granville Towers my first year — yes, I know, bad choice — but my building was undergoing major renovations. So, they stuck us in hotels near campus. I was lucky enough to be put in the Carolina Inn.
Very quickly, though, I realized that living in the Carolina Inn with no roommate and the only people I knew on campus living more than a mile away was not ideal. Day after day, remote class after remote class, I sat out in the hallway of the Carolina Inn waiting for someone to stroll by and strike up a conversation with me.
Remember, I'm an introvert. I was desperate for actual human connection.
Nobody ever did walk by. Nobody ever struck up a conversation. In fact, two weeks after moving in, we were all sent back home because COVID-19 clusters began popping up everywhere.
Back at home, I had the people I knew and loved already. I wasn't pushed to make new friends. I had my gym buddy, Jackson. I had my girlfriend, Bella. It was all okay — given the circumstances.
Then, August 2021 rolled around, and I moved into an actual dorm. I was terrified. I had no clue who I was rooming with — I didn't meet a single new soul the first go around, let alone people to live with — and I had no clue what to do.
But then, I heard a couple of knocks on my door. "Who's that?" I thought. "Why would they want to talk to me?"