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A Toast to the Start of The Semester

August 18, 2023

By Sophia Raspanti

Happy move-in week Tar Heels! I’m Sophia, a recent graduate from Carolina and a new member of the Carolina Housing Marketing Team. Over the past few days, campus has become even more alive than ever as our fellow Tar Heels have arrived, bringing in new faces and joyous excitement for a new year. Welcome home! We are so glad you’re here.

With FDOC right around the corner, I’m sure you are all excited to begin new courses, meet new people, reunite with friends, and welcome a semester filled with wonderful adventures that Carolina has to offer. First-year students: congratulations on your acceptance to Carolina and welcome to the home of the Heels!

As the semester begins, I have a few words of advice and encouragement to offer:

  • Create a Schedule!

College can be demanding, and you may find yourself getting busy very quickly. Creating a schedule to help manage your time is a great way to ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed. As a student, I always started with blocking out my courses and then filling in spaces with extracurricular activities and campus events. Your schedule is your creation! You may enjoy creating a simple calendar in Excel or heading to the Morrison Art Center to create a colorful poster with your weekly events. If you’re living in a shared space with a roommate or suitemates, you may also enjoy creating schedules together and bonding over the exciting times to come! I found that taking the time to create a calendar of weekly (or monthly!) events was extremely helpful and stress-reducing as a student, and lead to a manageable and enjoyable semester.

(Sophia Raspanti/UNC-Chapel Hill)
  • Enjoy Week of Welcome!

The beginning of a new year on campus is an exciting time for not only first-year students but returning students as well. Many on-campus organizations host a variety of tabling events, ice-cream socials, and other fun ways to not only get involved with campus life, but to meet new faces and create lasting friendships. The beginning of a new semester was always my favorite time as a student, and I recommend taking some time to explore and immerse yourself in the host of events Carolina has to offer. Plus, there’s a lot of free food and giveaways, and it’s hard to say no to an awesome T-shirt to show off your pride of being a Tar Heel.

  • Check out Fall-Fest!

Speaking of the beginning of a new year: I highly recommend checking out Fall Fest! Fall fest is one of Carolina’s beloved traditions: on Sunday, August 20th of 2023, you’ll find the Carolina Union and surrounding spaces will be filled with campus organizations, free food and fun giveaways. Fall fest is a great opportunity to learn about what Carolina has to offer in terms of campus organizations, on-campus work opportunities, clubs, and club/intermural sports! This year marks the 28th annual Fall Fest and will run from 6:30pm-10:00pm. I recommend going to the event with your friends, roommates, or suitemates! Even though I have graduated from Carolina, I look forward to seeing all our Tar Heels come out to the Carolina Union and having an exciting, joyful evening. See you there!

(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
  • Get Involved with On-Campus Life!

With Week of Welcome and Fall Fest, you’re sure to find an on-campus organization or club that you’d like to become a part of. UNC Chapel Hill is home to over 800 on campus organizations. With that many organizations, you’re bound to find something that fits your niche, and I recommend getting involved. A word of caution: don’t bite off more than you can chew! If you have multiple clubs and organizations that you’d like to be a part of, I recommend attending meetings for new members (which often happen at the beginning of each semester) and narrowing your commitments to 2-3 organizations. Don’t worry: the beginning of the year is often not the only time you can become a member. Let the semester begin and gauge your energy levels before becoming overwhelmed. Additionally, one of best parts of being a student is Carolina is our caring campus community, so if you do find yourself getting overwhelmed, don’t fear: your fellow Heels will be by your side to support and encourage you.

  • Explore the Halls and Carolina’s Beautiful Campus!

I remember the first time I visited UNC Chapel Hill’s campus. When I stepped onto campus for the first time, I was overwhelmed by how beautiful everything is. As the years went by, I found that campus became more and more beautiful, and I took every opportunity to explore new halls, libraries, and outdoors spaces. Did you know that Carolina is home to over 10 libraries? Many students enjoy the bustling (and sometimes loud) first and second floors of Davis Library, while others enjoy the quiet and alluring halls of the Ferrington Reading Room in Wilson Library. If you’re looking for IT support or want to rent a DVD for a movie night, head over to the Undergraduate Library just across the Pit. There are also many unique spaces around campus, like the Art, Media, Science, and Law libraries found dispersed around campus. There are also many unique study spaces, and if you’re looking for inspiration on a new place to study: check out some of our previous blog articles on the Carolina Housing website, where we’ve detailed a host of productive spaces to do your work.

A Final Note

While there is so much more that I could say, I don’t want to leave you feeling overwhelmed as the semester begins. I am filled with excitement and joy for the Carolina community and can’t wait to see and hear about all the new adventures you find this year.

Congratulations and have a wonderful semester!

Carolina Housing updates policies and protocols regularly. Information found within this blog may not reflect our current standards and procedures. If you have any questions, please contact Carolina Housing at for the most up to date information.

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