With all the recent hoopla that has invaded UNC’s football program, and given our university some sort of bad rap – I thought it was important to outline some of my top reasons that I am oh, so, proud to be a student at UNC at Chapel Hill!
First of all, you must know that I have never been a big “school” person. I don’t have hidden Tarheel paraphernalia in my closet, nor did I dream of coming to this school when I was a kid.
When I was a kid I dreamed of sailing around the world – not being cooped up in a classroom listening to someone tell me what I needed to do.
I barely graduated from high school – in fact, I often wonder how I did at all. I was constantly in the principal’s office, and generally could be found in detention on…Wednesday afternoons (I think).
I despised school, and made a point of proving it by skipping as often as possible. The classes that I did enjoy, English and Journalism, were easy enough to attend – but others were not worthy of my presence or attention.
But most of my teachers liked me, and somehow could see through my seething anger and blatant rebellion. They tried to teach me, and some succeeded. Regardless, I stood with the rest of my class and graduated. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
So years and years later I decided it was time to return to college and fate decided that I would become a Tarheel.
Let me tell you – my family was not so excited. I mean, of course they knew UNC is a good school, but my brother went to ECU (rivals) and my father’s family are HARDCORE, die-hard Gamecock fans.
No one in my family has ever been a Tarheel fan. I had not even noticed all the pale blue stickers, clothes, jerseys, bracelets, cups, etc. that permeate NC before I was accepted – it’s EVERYWHERE!
Since my acceptance I have been baptized and awakened to a world that screams, “Go Heels!”
All of that was great, woo-ha, but I wasn’t getting involved, and truly couldn’t ever see myself becoming a school spirit kinda gal. I mean, I had been accepted into the #1 Journalism school in the entire US, but still, school spirit…err no!
Wrong. Oh. so. wrong.
The first time I went to the book store to buy a UNC shirt was right after Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu walked into my PR class. Dressed in a navy blue blazer (which he took off immediately), jeans and black Converse shoes, Sir Kilar entertained us with his own personal history of public relations. He hung out and talked to us about his failures, accomplishments and answered questions. HOW FREAKING COOL – right!
The next week, I attended a private news release for John Grisham. There were maybe, 15 of us in a room – all watching and laughing at down-to-earth John Grisham.
Maybe I do, and maybe I don’t have to tell you – both are graduates of UNC.
This was last fall – my first semester. The pride I have in UNC only continues to grow. I will now (finally, right:) ) go through a few reasons why:
1. My professors are incredible. I can’t begin to explain how much I have learned since I transferred. UNC has some of the most renowned, talented, and cool professors I have ever met. They let me follow them around, answer my questions, have lunch or coffee with me, and have been the molders of the journalist I am becoming.
They set very high standards and make me come out of myself to reach them – something that I didn’t know was possible. They have been teachers, educators, and parents. I have been given career, life and even boyfriend advice.
This is only the beginning of my third semester at UNC, and I know that my success will come from the men and women that showed me the way – my professors.
2. UNC students are HUGE dreamers. I heard many rumors about UNC students. I was told they were snobby, privileged, and that it would be tough to find someone to relate to. Wrong!
A month into my first semester at UNC I almost died. Dramatic, but true. A cyst attached itself to one of my ovaries, and erupted one September morning. By the time I got to the hospital, I had lost 4 liters of blood and was rushed into emergency surgery. I now have an incredible scar across my lower stomach. I wear it proudly.
I missed over three weeks of school, and should have missed more, but it would have meant losing the semester.
When I came back to school, I was overwhelmed by the students, who had not known me and did not know what had happened, who offered me notes and tutoring to get back on track.
I was given phone numbers, genuine concern and even hugs in some cases.
The students at UNC absolutely blow my mind. One of my best friends who wrote me a recommendation letter to get into UNC, told me that I would never again be surrounded by so many stimulating minds – and he was so right!
It is true that many of the students have never had a job, or are still being taken care of by their parents, but that does not stop them from dreaming and from already being involved in those dreams.
Most of the students I meet are either heavily involved in what they want to do or are busy planning it. Their presence inspires me on so many levels. They ask questions I wouldn’t even think of, and are curious and intelligent.
Some of them may not pay bills, but they juggle the most insane schedules full of homework, organizations, and volunteer work. I am always humbled by the students at UNC, and will continue to be.
Something inside of me wakes up when I walk onto the campus – it’s infecting.
3. We are given unlimited resources. From my first week at UNC I have been in awe of the advisors (J-school advisors are the BEST!!), career officers, and all the resources available to us.
I receive an email every Monday morning from the J-school that lists upcoming events, internship availabilities, scholarship options, etc. that are new to that week or from previous ones.
Just that one email is full of powerful information. But then we have a whole staff that is dedicated to helping us secure internships and jobs. There are databases of alumna who want to mentor students interested in their field, and emails and addresses to some of the most renowned names in their industries.
UNC offers Disability Services which gives me (since I am ADHD) the ability to take workshops on learning how to learn with my “disability.” There are note-takers for me if I need them, and options to take tests in quiet areas so I can stay focused. The disability staff is in place to help me through school, and help me to learn skills I can use throughout my life. It is priceless.
Of course, there are downsides to UNC. They have policies I don’t agree with and professors I have disliked – but overall, UNC is a great university.
Regardless of what someone or some group of people do to shame my school – I will continue to be proud to attend it and cheer our teams on!