My First Weeks: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

August 17, 2015

Image by Bill via Flickr
First weeks of college are a completely new experience for most people. Moving into your new dorm, making friends, exploring campus, and finding classes can be a lot to handle in your first few days. Linda Zhang, UNC ‘16, tells us all about her experiences from the moment her parents dropped her off at the dorms. 

After my parents left me on move-in day, I had a mini-panic attack because I didn’t know what to do next. I sat on my bed and went through all my options: I could take a nap after that exhausting moving process, get a head start on my classes, call up my high school friends who were at the university, or put myself out there and make new friends. Since college is a fresh start and a good time to meet new faces, I chose the latter. I went around the suite and my nearby community to introduce myself. Unfortunately, a lot of people weren’t in their rooms, so I left sticky notes on their doors. I did find a few new people, and we decided to go get lunch, explore the campus, find our classes, and study together. Throughout the week, I kept in touch with these new friends I made during orientation and found organizations I was interested in joining. I remember attending an Asian Student Association meeting, trying out for a hip-hop dance crew, dancing in Zumba classes, and watching free films in the Union with my new friends.

Click here to see Linda Zhang's profile!
Click here to see Linda Zhang’s profile!

A huge fear I had was the dining hall. I was afraid it was going to be like high school where people judge you no matter what you do, whether it’s your food choices, the number of friends you’re eating with, or the type of friends you eat with. In actuality, it didn’t matter in college. The thing that’s important is whether you’re comfortable with your choices. Classes were so exciting, yet intimidating at the same time. Everyone was brilliant, and I was afraid if I said anything, I’d sound stupid. In retrospect, an important piece of advice I’d give myself is to pay attention and don’t be afraid of speaking up. Most of the time, your grade heavily relies on your participation. With so many bright minds in every class, everyone’s opinion is respected. I would also recommend sitting somewhere comfortable with no distractions, taking good notes, introducing yourself to your professors after class, and going to their office hours. The professors I introduced myself always remembered me, which is critical if you need recommendation letters in the future.   

For the first weekend, an upperclassman in my community took a few first years to a nearby club. I’m not the party type at all, but I always wanted to experience the college night life, and I had heard so many cool things about Franklin Street. The P2P, the bus that takes students to Franklin Street, was filled to the brim. I waited and saw the bus pick up students at my stop twice before I could even get on. The ride in itself was an adventure, but that’s a story for another time. When we finally got to the club, it was a huge disappointment. My friends and I didn’t feel comfortable and we weren’t having fun, so after ten minutes, we left. That was when I learned having fun didn’t mean the same thing for everyone. From then on, I spent my weekends with my good friends playing board games, watching movies, attending concerts, and eating nice warm cookies with a cold glass of milk.  

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