The tips you learn at UNC freshman orientation will have you ready for move-in day once fall semester starts. But you never get taught the important lessons how how your first year at UNC will really go. Should your desk go by the window? Or the door?
Here are 10 UNC Life hacks freshman orientation won’t teach you
1. Beat the crowd to the Old Well
By now you know the legend that if you drink from the Old Well on the FDOC (that’s first day of class, for you newbies), you’ll be granted a 4.0. Though this may sound dubious, generations of Tar Heels indulge in this tradition, and you’re sure to see lines leading to the Old Well snaking through campus throughout the day. If you don’t want to spend an hour of your first day standing in line, match your schedule to this must-do tradition. If you’re an early riser, beat the crowd by swinging by on your 6 a.m. jog. If you’re a night owl, grab your suitemates and make the hike from South Campus to the Old Well at midnight (or hop on the P2P for a faster journey).
2. Do Not Get the Unlimited Meal Plan
Ignore everything you learn at freshman orientation. You do not need the unlimited meal plan. The famous legions of first-years offering people free meal swipes at the end of every single semester are proof. Though the taste of the dining hall you got during freshman orientation may have been enticing, by the end of your second month you’ll do anything for a non-dining-hall meal. Instead, opt for a small meal plan and save the rest of your funds for your expense account. Then check out the delicious restaurants at Bottom of Lenoir, gyros from Mediterranean Deli, chicken tikka masala at Sitar or a simple but delicious Chick-fil-A sandwich. Don’t forget how many bucks you’ll burn at that coffee shop on your way to that 8 a.m. chemistry lecture.
3. Sign up for Basketball Tickets
Freshman orientation teaches you new cheers for a reason. Prepare to scream alternating chants of “Tar” and “Heels” and feel the walls shake when it’s a close game with thirty-seconds to go. But basketball lovers and born-and-bred Tar Heels snag tickets early, so the rest of you out there need to sign up for basketball tickets before they become too hard to come by. Basically, you should sign up for tickets every time to give yourself a good chance of getting them. Still not convinced? One hype night in the Dean Dome watching our awesome team or a run from the stadium to Franklin for a wild celebration after beating Duke changes every first year’s mind.
4. Join Carolina Fever
Want to increase your chances of getting those coveted basketball tickets? Sign up for Carolina Fever right after freshman orientation. This club allows you to gain points in exchange for going to see Carolina sports teams. An evening filled with sports and friends is the only way to spend a Wednesday night at UNC Chapel Hill. The more games you go to, the higher priority you’ll have when it comes time to sign up for the basketball ticket lottery, too. Everybody wins!
5. Make Friends in Your Classes
While meeting up with the friends you met at freshman orientation may seem more natural and the easiest thing to do, give the people you see day after day in English 105 a chance. “Make a study group with the people in your class,” UNC sophomore Carol Tran said. “They’ll make life so much easier by sharing different perspectives. You might even make lifelong friends.” When you’re stuck on that practice exam, a friend you can text to discuss the problem saves you 40-plus minutes of Google research. Also, the people in your Drama 116 class are going to have to head to that required production of The Tempest next week, too. They’re the perfect people to save you a seat or share some popcorn with.
6. Go to Franklin Street for Lunch
Too broke to join your friends on Franklin Street for dinner? Take advantage of the restaurants’ lunch specials and get a group together for a midday meal instead. Head to Spicy 9 for their delicious pad thai or check out four corners rotating lunch specials while you catch up on the highlights from last night’s game. Feeling down after that Econ midterm and need some comfort food? Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe or Sutton’s, both of which are only open for breakfast and lunch, has got your back. Now, aren’t you glad you don’t have the unlimited meal plan they offered at freshman orientation holding you back?
7. Set Goals for Yourself
When you’re a junior or senior year still taking gen-ed requirements and half your major classes, you’ll wish you’d thought ahead when you first worked out your schedule at freshman orientation. Figure out what you’re interested in and save yourself work down the road. “Set specific goals (academic and social) for yourself: for the week, for the semester, and for the year,” junior Michelle Brown said. “Check in with yourself often to make sure the organizations you’re involved in are pushing you towards your goals.” Take advantage of all of the clubs and student organizations in areas that you might be interested in going into after you graduate.
8. The Library is not a library
When you see a Carolina Kickoff advertising for their benefit night/dance-party at The Library, don’t show up dressed to the nine’s at Davis or the UL. In the middle of Franklin Street sits a small bar called The Library, and trust me, we’ve all been confused by its name. Check out their 18 and up nights and enjoy the cool atmosphere of a bar lined with bookshelves.
9. Live on South Campus
The vast majority of first-years live on South Campus, meaning you’re likely to be living within a 10 minute walk of many of your friends and people there are always down to hang out. “I didn’t live on south campus and I missed out on meeting so many people because of it,” junior Megan Fleming said. “The one time I was on south campus leaving a friend’s dorm, I met some people waiting for the P2P and I still talk to those people to this day.” You’ll always be able to find a partner in the Ehaus game room to play ping-pong with, and I guarantee that at least a couple of your suitemates will always be down to head to Ram’s for a quick meal.
10. Stay Organized
After a couple weeks of trying to remember all of your readings, you’ll wish you’d gotten that Carolina blue planner at the student stores during freshman orientation. And once the buzz from those three cups of coffee you drank before your French midterm wears off, you’ll wish you hadn’t spent the whole night in Davis. Also, leave a note remindering yourself to clean your room at least once in a while. “Stay organized; it’ll save your life,” first-year Hannah Cross said. Your roommate may not say anything about the growing pile of laundry in the middle of the floor, but don’t let smelly socks come between you and that cutie coming over.