A Celebration of FDOC
By Sophia Raspanti
Before the first class of the semester began at 8am, students had already formed a long line outside the Old Well, patiently waiting to take part in one of Carolina’s most beloved traditions: taking a sip of water. Legend says that students that take a sip of the water from this alluring campus landmark before midnight on the first day of class will end the semester with a 4.0 GPA. While I must remain tight-lipped on my personal experiences to protect the mystique, an immediate thought came to my mind. Watching the tenacity and determination of students waiting in the scorching heat and humidity to reach the Old Well, I thought: this semester is looking very bright for the steadfast students of Carolina.
For many Carolina students, FDOC marked the first course of a college career. I remember my first lecture in detail: my nerves and anxieties, my excitement and enthusiasm, and my curiosity as I found my way to Hamilton Hall, where I’d be taking Introduction to Economics for the remainder of the semester. Yes, I had come to Carolina as an economics major, even though soon I would find a place in the biological sciences. Though my major did not last, one thing not only persisted through and after the semester, but past my graduation date last May: friendship. I met my first friend from Carolina in that lecture, sitting in the third row, exchanging phone numbers to create study groups as our teacher warned us her course would be incredibly challenging and difficult. While her words were correct, working together with friends only strengthened our bonds together, and when the course was over, we stayed in contact and always made time for late night study sessions in Davis Library, even if our respective course material had diverged.
On a day as exciting as FDOC, there is so much more to talk about besides my small, personal story, but I believe that it’s the combination of all the tiny, seemingly insignificant stories that make FDOC – and the entirety of the semester – such an exciting time. On FDOC, the campus is filled with endless amounts of tables, social events, networking opportunities, Carolina swag, and of course, a fan favorite, free food. With such a variety, it’s nearly impossible for one student to hit each event, but in that way, FDOC is a choose-your-own adventure story: one that’s unique and beautiful to each student.
As I walked around the campus yesterday, I was excited to speak to my fellow Tar Heels and hear about their favorite FDOC stories and traditions, as well as hear their aspirations for the semester and the distant future. Some students shared stories of chance friendships, while others looked forward to the future, such as a campus favorite: beating Duke and rushing Franklin Street. That moment will come soon enough, I promise! Finally, Tar Heels shared stories about organizations and communities they are a part of, and their visions for the future.
FDOC marks the first day of not only a new semester, but the beginning of adventures, personal growth opportunities, and friendships for many. The faculty, staff, and community welcome the students of Carolina with enthusiasm and anticipation for what the next few months will bring. As the semester progresses, I hope that all our fellow Tar Heels will feel a sense of community and belonging: after all, our individual experiences are what make this community so vibrant and lively. Challenge yourselves to pursue new opportunities, friendships, and undertakings. As with FDOC, the Carolina experience is a choose-your-own-adventure story, and hopefully will be uniquely beautiful, inspiring, and purposeful to you.
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