Excited for time at Carolina, but can’t help but wonder about life after graduation? We had a few seniors answer the question: “What’s next?”
We spoke with Carter McCormick, a graduating senior.
What are your plans for next year?
Next year, I will be working as a Leadership Development Consultant for my Fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT). I will be traveling to our new groups and working to help them establish themselves on their campus and make sure they have all the resources that they need. I will then be starting my Master of Public Health Degree focusing on Global Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in Fall 2016.
What experiences (classes, internships, research, activities) were the major turning points on your UNC path/journey?
There are so many moments that have been impactful on my UNC journey. Having the opportunity to establish a new fraternity on campus was a unique experience that I was able to do thanks to the ease of creating student groups. My involvement with establishing my fraternity is what made me want to pursue the one year position with the National Headquarters, so I can help other undergraduate men accomplish the same goal.
The turning point in my academic career that has led me to pursue public health comes from my study abroad experience. While studying abroad at Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands, I had the opportunity to take a Global Public Health class, as public health has been something I was considering looking into for a career path. The class comprised of students from Ghana, Brazil, Niger, Botswana, Indonesia, in addition to the Dutch students and myself. That class opened my eyes to the health problems that many parts of the world face that I have had the privilege to not face here in the United States. Interacting with those other students made me want to commit myself to addressing these problems, so I came back from abroad, declared a Public Policy major in addition to my Exercise and Sport Science major and have been able to customize my classes to be geared towards public health.
Is there any single person (or group) who helped you along the way to reach this point?
Two of the people that have been the biggest help have actually been two of my professors, Professor Aimee McHale and Dr. Benjamin Meier. Professor McHale teaches the Public Policy class on US Health Policy and Dr. Meier teaches 3 Public Policy classes, Justice in Public Policy, Health and Human Rights, and Global Health Policy. Having taken both of their classes and spending countless hours in their offices, they were both able to help me figure out what I would need to get to the career I wanted, find programs/internships to apply to, and were incredibly helpful in the process of selecting a graduate program that would fit my needs.
Any stumbling blocks you encountered? How did you overcome them?
I cannot say that my path has been a smooth one. I ended my first semester with less than ideal grades and wondering if I was going to be able to stay at Carolina or if I would need to transfer. I came back in the spring of my first-year prepared to prove myself though, and made sure to do everything right. I spent more time in the library, went to my professors’ office hours, utilized peer tutoring, and made sure to get help when I needed it instead of just struggling with the material myself. I came out of that semester with much better grades than my first semester, and I have been doing so ever since. .
Best piece of advice for incoming first-years?
The best piece of advice I can tell you is that things will work out. Maybe you won’t get that Political Science class you wanted, but maybe you’ll learn you love Shakespeare in that English class you took instead. Maybe you won’t get the dorm you want, but maybe you’ll end up being best friends with the person that lives down the hall in the dorm you end up in. Maybe you want to go to med school, but take a chemistry class and realize you would rather major in Dramatic Arts. All of those things are okay. College is about figuring out who you are, and some of that comes from dealing with the unexpected.
We are proud to introduce the 2015-2016 Global Gap Year Fellows! Seven incoming first-year students will defer their enrollment for one year to volunteer, work and travel abroad. Congratulations to Leah Simon, Logan Pratico-Miller, Parker Vige, Phun H, Rebecca Cooper, Talpha Everette, and Quincy Godwin.
Interested in learning more about the Fellowship? Quick facts to know:
- The Fellowship is only available to students who are admitted Early Action, so submit your application by mid-October to be eligible.
- Fellows receive $7,500 in funding, which can be used for travel, living expenses, and other associated costs.
- This one-of-a-kind program gives Fellows the opportunity to design their own experience. Interested in water issues in Zimbabwe? How about clubfoot treatment in Ecuador? The Fellowship staff connects students to organizations in the geographic and topical area of interest, so you spend your Fellowship focusing on what you want!
If there’s one thing a new student at UNC-Chapel Hill is used to hearing from upperclassmen, it’s that time flies at Carolina. And for the Class of 2015, that sentiment rings true as they finish their last week of classes as undergraduates. But four years ago, as they received their Carolina acceptance letters and made the decision to enroll, the world looked just a little different. So let’s take a trip down memory lane to the world as it was when the class of 2015 were new students at Carolina:
Social media continues to dominate how we communicate, and at the admissions office, we mostly interacted with new students on Facebook. Now it’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (And you should follow us @UNCAdmissions!)
The Class of 2011 celebrated their graduation, and Carolina was proud to hand out 7,629 degrees total: 4,566 bachelors, 1,947 masters, 465 doctoral, and 651 professional. Kenan Stadium was packed. In just a couple weeks, we’ll get to honor the Class of 2015!
In the wedding watched around the world, Prince William and Catherine “Kate” Middleton became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in a royal affair.
It was the final battle of good versus evil, as the beloved series, Harry Potter, came to an end with the release of the final film, The Deathly Hallows part II. It would go on to receive more than $380 billion worldwide as well as invoke a whole lot of tears from the fans.
Before classes started, first-year and transfer students came together to discuss the 2011 summer reading book, Eating Animals. Each year, a committee of students, faculty, and staff select a book for the incoming class to read and discuss, fostering an academic experience before they step foot in a classroom.
Whether you felt the rumble on campus or not, Virginia was hit with a 5.8 earthquake that was felt from New England to the Carolinas. Fortunately there was no serious damage or injury, just a whole lot of surprise and confusion. And it did spawn some pretty funny memes.
Thanks to an anonymous commitment of $1.5 million, Carolina’s Campus Y launched the first Global Gap Year, allowing incoming students to volunteer internationally before stepping foot on campus. It is the only college-sponsored gap year program that allows students to design their own experience.
The innovator who reminded us to “Stay hungry, stay foolish,” Steve Jobs, passed away at the age of 56. He co-founded Apple Computers and Pixar Animation Studios.
The UNC Men’s Soccer team took home the NCAA national championship for the first time in 10 years, winning against UNC-Charlotte’s 49ers. Go Heels!
President Obama visited Chapel Hill to discuss college affordability at Carmichael Arena. Other sitting Presidents who have swung by in Carolina’s history include: James K. Polk (Class of 1818), James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and William “Bill” Clinton. In fall 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama would also pay Carolina a visit.
In a continuation of the day’s excitement, President Obama would then go on to meet popular talk show host Jimmy Fallon in Memorial Hall to tape a special show of NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with The Roots and musical guest Dave Matthews band. The President, Fallon, and the Roots slow jammed the news.
We couldn’t possibly fit everything that happened in 2011-12 in one list, but it’s exciting to see how the world has changed and how our Tar Heels change with it. Congratulations to the Class of 2015!
With 70+ majors, 600+ student organizations, 300 study abroad programs, and countless other opportunities, every student’s journey at Carolina is different and every student has a different reason to love Carolina. Whitney Barker , one of our Admissions Ambassadors, shares her #WhyCarolina in this video:
Senior year might seem forever away, but there are a lot of traditions to look forward to!
In honor of this year’s seniors, we’re recapping some of the traditions here. We’ll miss you Class of 2015!
- Senior Bell Tower Climb
- What’s really up there? Only one way to find out–climb the Bell Tower! Every senior can participate. So don’t miss out on the best view on campus. This event is popular and lines can be long. So save yourself some trouble–students who donate to the senior class and purchase a GAA membership qualify for a “fast pass,” to skip the line.
- Making a donation to the Senior Class
- Speaking of which, seniors are encouraged to donate to the Senior Class Campaign for Carolina. The cool part? When you donate you can designate it for a specific cause of your choice like an academic department of campus organization. And if your class reaches the record participation rate. a Tar Heel footprint will be added to your Bell Tower stone
- The Last Lecture
- Inspired by Dr. Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” a selected faculty member shares reflections from their life’s journey and to speak to students as if it was their last lecture ever. Below is a video of last year’s speaker, Dr. Lois Boynton.
- Senior Night at the Planetarium
- Seeing a show at the Morehead Planetarium is a Carolina Bucket list tradition. If you want to save a few bucks, why not go for free as a senior? Seniors are invited see “Carolina Skies” as a part of senior week.
- Senior Night at the Planetarium
- LDOC (Last Day of Classes)
- No matter how you celebrate LDOC, the important thing is that you celebrate it. Hanging out on the quad all day with your friends, going to the Clef Hangers’ Old Well Sing and more. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the fact that you’ve made it! (Well almost– You still have to pass those finals.)
- LDOC (Last Day of Classes)
My abroad experience thus far has been indescribable. Whether it be living in the heart of London, or being able to see Big Ben whenever I want, words cannot express how fortunate I have been. A few of my flat mates and I went to dinner on Monday night and we sat around talking about what our favorite memory has been thus far. We only have just over a week left here, but there is still so much potential.
I thought about all of the things that I have gotten the opportunity to do. Was my favorite memory going to Fashion Week and seeing members of the girl-band Little Mix and working up the courage to actually speak to them? Was it going to the Brit Awards and watching the likes of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Sam Smith perform? Was it attending a movie premiere red carpet? Was it traveling to Amsterdam on the weekend, because our London location makes that an actual possibility? As you can tell, it’s almost impossible for me to choose my favorite memory. Everything about this travel abroad experience has left me enlightened and ignited. My love of traveling is at an all time high, and as this program ends I look forward to almost three full weeks of travel around Europe. I have learned things about myself such as, I’m not the best with directions, but if I wander around enough I am able to find my way back home…most of the time.
As the program draws to a close I look to preparing for my summer, when I will return to the Southern Piece of Heaven that is Chapel Hill. So with my last blog post before we embark on summer I thought I would craft a sort of five-step plan for anybody who is looking to study abroad during their college career.
- Do your research
- When choosing a study abroad program do not be afraid to explore your options. When I entered college I thought I wanted to study abroad in Italy and then I ended up in England! There is nothing wrong with changing your mind, and looking at what different programs each region has to offer. This journalism program was the best choice I could have made. It offered me the opportunity to study at a London University and allowed me the free time to explore the city I have fallen so in love with.
- Have an open mind
- No matter where you study abroad things will be different. Even if you studied abroad in New York City, it would be a change from North Carolina. London might be as close to America as you can get while still across the ocean, but there are still things that differ. Grocery stores carry different products, for instance I can’t find Orbit gum anywhere! What you have to remember is that you wanted to study abroad to get a different cultural environment so embrace the weird brands of gum and cheap price of produce. So don’t spend time comparing what the differences are, embrace them and appreciate what you have and what you have left behind.
- Get Involved
- Especially if you do not do a UNC specific program, your best bet for meeting people is to get involved. One of the best decisions that I made while I was abroad was getting involved in Her Campus, an online magazine. It was a great way to meet students who were not studying abroad for only a semester. So my advice would be to find your passion and then find a way to share your passion with others though a club, you won’t regret it.
- Take advantage of your surroundings
- Did you know that the West End in London has more shows running than Broadway? I didn’t until I arrived here. My flat is located within walking distance with multiple theatres, and with the student concessions or cheap ticket sites I have been able to see at least 10 shows while I’ve been here. Find out about the performances, or cool restaurants, or markets around you and take advantage of them! They are something that we seriously lack in most parts of the U.S.
- Walk anywhere you can
- I honestly think my poor sense of direction comes from the fact that I typically take the bus or the tube when I travel around the city. These means of transportation are amazing, but being underground does not allow for me to see my surroundings or orient me as to which direction I just came from. I recommend walking. First of all, it allows you eat all of the junk food that you want while abroad if you walk off all of the calories each day, but it also gives you the chance to see parts of the city that you cannot see from the bus.
So that’s my advice Tar Heels. I’ve enjoyed sharing my abroad experience with you, and I hope that my tips can someday be put to good use!
Caroline Ellis is a junior Majoring in Journalism—Public Relations. She enjoys staying up to date on all things Hollywood, and is currently awaiting her big break into fame. She works as a nanny and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With 70+ majors, 600+ student organizations, 300 study abroad programs, and countless other opportunities, every student’s journey at Carolina is different and every student has a different reason to love Carolina. Catherina Leipold , one of our Admissions Ambassadors, shares her #WhyCarolina in this video:
This week UNC Athletics, in partnership with Nike, refreshed its marks and colors to create a consistent look for Carolina, which is one of the most recognized brands in college sports.
The whole campus is taking advantage of this opportunity to celebrate what makes us so special — our own unique shade of blue, what the world knows as “Carolina Blue.” On Friday (tomorrow), everyone on campus is encouraged to wear this shade of blue so if you’ll be visiting us, don’t be surprised to see us showing a little extra Tar Heel spirit! The weather forecast shows clear skies for tomorrow and you know what that means….a very Carolina blue sky. We’re so excited!
As a preview, below please see a picture of Brand Ambassador Ashley Spruill, ’15, who is modeling the new look for the Admissions Office! The shirt she’s wearing is now for sale in our Student Stores, and proceeds from sportswear such as this help fund scholarships and special opportunities like Excel@Carolina for new students.
According to Ashley: “The allure of the Carolina Blue is one thing, the meaning behind it is another. For me, coming into Carolina as a first-year student, I just thought it was a pretty color. But as I came to understand the community that I had become a part of, my views shifted. For a lot of people, being a Tar Heel is more than just being a fan of the sports teams. It seems dramatic, but it’s a way of life. It’s pushing yourself – and being pushed by your peers and mentors – to think critically about the academic material, to give back to the local and global community, and to take the Carolina experience and grow as a leader. And whenever I or my fellow Tar Heels look up into that Carolina Blue sky, we’re thinking of that community and that passion that binds us as a Tar Heel family. There is beauty in #ourblue not just because it’s a pretty color, but because the color itself has come to represent pride for the university that has made such a difference in our lives and allows us to go out and make a difference in the world.”
And there’s more! This week there have been stories on unc.edu and goheels.com celebrating the history of our colors and the use of our argyle, which was designed by our own Alexander Julian and began appearing on men’s basketball uniforms during the 1991-1992 season.
In celebration of this milestone in Carolina’s history, there is also a special campaign on Twitter, #OurBlue, where students such as Ashley, faculty, and staff, are tweeting pictures of themselves wearing Carolina blue and sharing what it means to them.
If Carolina blue is special to you, we hope you join in the fun and tweet your own pictures and stories!
One of my favorite things about Carolina is the immense number of clubs and organizations that are available for students to join. You can honestly find anything you’re interested in at UNC, whether it’s a pre-med organization or the Quidditch Club. The 700+ clubs and organizations showcase our student body’s passions and their capabilities. I’m involved in several organizations on campus that aren’t necessarily linked with one another, but I want to share a little about a specific one.
I’m on the Morale & Recruitment Committee of Carolina for the Kids. CFTK is an entirely student-led organization that raises money, year-round, to support the patients and families of UNC Children’s Hospital. From benefit nights at local restaurants to “trick-or-treating” for donations in neighborhoods around campus, our organization works tirelessly to raise money that directly supports those who visit UNC Children’s. The money we raise does various things from supplying gas cards for families who commute to and from the hospital, to providing a “Parent’s Night Out,” where parents can step away from the hospital and enjoy a free meal.
Our most notable event of the year is Dance Marathon. My committee helps sign up “dancers” (UNC students) for the marathon. In signing up to be a dancer, you pledge to raise $150 and stand for 24 straight hours in honor of the patients and families of UNC Children’s Hospital. You definitely didn’t read that wrong… we stand for 24 hours! We had over 2,000 dancers at the marathon this year! There’s a lot of dancing that goes on, but you’re not necessarily dancing for 24 hours straight. A lot of incredible talent at UNC comes and performs at the marathon, including a capella groups, dance teams, and step teams. Chancellor Carol Folt even made an appearance and took one of her famous selfies!
The best part of the marathon is when kids from UNC Children’s Hospital and their families come to visit. The kids compete in a talent show and both years that I’ve participated in Dance Marathon it’s been one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever been a part of. The kids’ parents also speak about how the money we raise directly benefits their families. Dance Marathon, during my first-year, was the first experience I had in my entire life that showed me that me, and others my age, can truly make a difference in the world. This year, we raised an astounding $570,561.48, and the experience couldn’t have been more incredible. I wholeheartedly believe that Dance Marathon is one thing you shouldn’t miss out on in your time at UNC! Not only will you feel so proud to be a part of the Carolina community, you’ll be amazed at the impact you can make in total strangers’ lives and the things you can learn from incredibly strong, courageous kids!
Visit http://www.carolinaftk.org/ for more information!
Nicholas Hastings is a sophomore from Shelby, NC, majoring in Sociology, with minors in Women’s Studies and Medical Anthropology. He is a member of Admissions Ambassadors, Carolina for the Kids, NAMI on Campus at UNC, and UNC Club Baseball. He can be reached at email@example.com.
With 70+ majors, 600+ student organizations, 300 study abroad programs, and countless other opportunities, every student’s journey at Carolina is different and every student has a different reason to love Carolina. Gabriella Pickett, one of our Admissions Ambassadors, shares her #WhyCarolina in this video: