The Tar Heel Blog

Current students write about life at Carolina

The Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Nov 24

College 101

As a sophomore, I would say I’m still actively trying to learn “how to do college.”  I don’t think you ever really figure it out, but in my short time here at UNC I’ve learned some very important things that I’d wish I had known as an incoming first-year.  That being said, let this speech of wisdom from a 19-year-old who still can’t do his own laundry ensue.

Number One:  be spontaneous.  I think it’s so easy to come to college and place yourself in this extremely structured schedule of places to be and times to be there.  I’m definitely not saying don’t emphasize time management and organizational skills, but do visit other places to study on campus instead of sitting in the same cubicle every day all semester.  One thing that I love to do is walk different ways to class every single day.  This allows me to not only see so much of the beauty that our campus offers, but it also let’s me see so many different people on a daily basis.  On the note of being spontaneous, have lunch with that random friend you saw while walking to class.  Sit on the quad and enjoy the hustle and bustle of campus for 15 minutes.  I say do these things to break the regularities that cause us to forget how blessed we truly are to be a Tar Heel.

More often that not, on a spring day in Chapel Hill, you can find me sitting on the quad throughout the day!

More often that not, on a spring day in Chapel Hill, you can find me sitting on the quad throughout the day!

Number Two:  don’t compare yourself to others – in any sense.  This is one that I’ve struggled with the most since being in college.  When I was in high school I was so concerned with being a certain number in my graduating class and I took that competitive nature into my first-year and it didn’t turn out well.  I was constantly thinking, “I’m pre-med, so I have to take all these classes now because he/she is doing it and that’s the way you’re supposed to.”  That’s not the case at all!  There are so many routes to graduate school, study abroad opportunities, research… you name it.  Just because someone you know moved to Africa when they were 8 years old and cured a disease in 6th grade doesn’t mean you have to.  All jokes aside, knowing that you can only be the best you is something I definitely wish I would have known earlier into college.

Number Three:  go outside of your comfort zone at least once a day.  I know this sounds super cheesy, but I fully believe it’s vital in getting the most of your college experience.  There are so many days where at the end of the night I have nothing to really remember the day by.  When you go through the motions you have no memories or relationships to share with people, which are things I really cherish.  Even on a minute level, like asking a question in your lecture or practicing your Spanish at Bandito’s on Franklin St.  These little things are the things you’ll remember, or more importantly, what makes you grow as a person.  When you’re in situations of ambiguity and you have no choice but to give something all you’ve got you’re bound to grow and develop.  That’s what college is all about, right?

My first-year I signed up for Dance Marathon, where you pledge to stand for 24 hours straight!  Dance Marathon has shaped my Carolina experience drastically, and sparked a new passion I never knew I had in pediatric medicine. [Photo Credit: Bernadine Dembosky/DTH]

My first-year I signed up for Dance Marathon, where you pledge to stand for 24 hours straight! Dance Marathon has shaped my Carolina experience drastically, and sparked a new passion I never knew I had in pediatric medicine. [Photo Credit: Bernadine Dembosky/DTH]

I guess that’s enough with the cliché advice from a person who is still very much so learning how to really do college.  Here’s to hoping that we both got something out of this and miraculously become experts at life!

Nicholas Hastings is a sophomore majoring in Psychology with a minor in Social and Economic Justice, also on the Pre-Med track. He is an Admissions Ambassador, Morale committee member for UNC Dance Marathon, and a Club Baseball player. He can be reached at nhasting@live.unc.edu.