Two Tar Heels and the Community That Unites Them
Dr. Joseph “Joey” Bell
UNC ’82, ’86
Joseph Bell currently works as Medical Director at Children’s Health of Pembroke. During his time at Carolina, he served as Vice President and President of the Carolina Indian Circle. He is a member of the Lumbee Tribe.
What made you want to come to Carolina?
My dad graduated from Carolina in ’91. From there, I came to UNC at least once a year, pretty much every year growing up. The other big reason was actually JV basketball. A big goal of mine was to play basketball in college and I knew about the JV team from coming here so much, so that was an opportunity for me to keep that goal alive. I came here in the fall and was able to make that team and that’s just been a huge blessing in my life.
When I was nine years old, I came here with my dad. My dad did these summer programs where he would take high school seniors and get jobs for them in Robeson County and the reward to the student was at the end of the summer, they’d do a field trip. When I was nine, the field trip was to Carolina. I actually got to meet Dean Smith and at that time, Charlie Scott, who was my favorite basketball player. So when we were boarding the bus I told my mom, “This is where I’m going to come to school.” That was it right there.
Joey Bell (no. 45) began his time at Carolina as a member of the Junior Varsity basketball team. Today, Marcus (shooting the ball) is also a member of the JV team.
What would you say to new Tar Heels who are getting ready to come to campus and are excited to find their place here?
I would say three things. First, be patient, it doesn’t happen overnight. A lot of my friend group is members of CIC but I didn’t really start hanging out with them probably until the second or third week. The second thing is to say yes to as many things as possible. I didn’t say yes to as many community events as I probably should have. But I went to some of the big ones like Fall Fest and was able to meet some cool people there. And the third thing is to know that you do belong. It can be kind of discouraging when you don’t see as many people that look like yourself, but ultimately you were picked for a reason to come to Carolina. I think you just have to kind of bet on yourself and believe that you belong here and you’ll do well.
Get involved as soon as you can. You’re right, you have to be patient, it takes time to really plug yourself in. But try to get into the Circle, get involved as soon as you can, and try to balance that study-life thing. Time management really makes a big difference.