When I was a kid, I often fell asleep to my dad quietly singing the Carolina fight song as part of our bedtime routine.
As a Tar Heel born and bred, I learned embarrassingly late in life that "Sweet Caroline" and "Carolina in my Mind" weren’t written exclusively for UNC basketball games.
On the way home from those games, I would fight to stay awake during the 50-minute drive down N.C. Highway 54 as my dad listened to The Avett Brothers. There was something special about sharing those songs with him, and I wanted to be awake for every second.
Years later, in the summer between being accepted to UNC and moving into my first year dorm, I made the same pilgrimage to campus with my best friend and future roommate as often as possible, a carefully-curated joint playlist boasting songs by artists like Dayglow and The Main Ingredient.
We would wander through then-unfamiliar landmarks and talk about the classes we would take, the places we would study and the people we would meet. UNC was a tempting mystery, and we were eager to solve it.
I haven’t solved the mystery any more than those first visits. I still sometimes feel as if I am engulfed by such a large student body, still get completely lost in Carroll Hall and am frequently rendered speechless by visitors' navigation questions.
I moved into my first year dorm faster than my family and I were ready for, my belongings packed into few enough boxes that I was tearfully hugging my siblings and parents goodbye less than an hour after I got my keys.
Almost as soon as they left, my roommate and I began to decorate the blank walls of our new home, made up of an eclectic collection of photographs, postcards and pages I'd taken from random books.
We listened to a playlist we’d made for moving in about new beginnings, with Declan McKenna and Paul Simon paving the way.