UNC – Chapel Hill
BackgroundInterview Date:January 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Biracial – White and Black
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school in Kansas City, MO with a graduating class of about 60 students. There was a strong culture of going to college, especially going out of state for college. I went there from kindergarten through 12th grade so I knew the same people for a very long time.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Management and Society and Economics double major
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a varsity athlete, I play a lot of golf, and I’m part of Greek life. Because I’m [on a varsity sports team], I don’t have time for many other extracurriculars.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
Golf actually does because it’s important for business and a lot of my best friends are on the varsity golf team, so I’ve developed friendships through it.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for majors?
I have problem sets primarily for Economics. For Management and Society, I mostly have forum posts, readings, and class discussions. I’m in a few business classes now and in those there are a lot of case studies.
Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
I think both majors have professors that are very excited about the material they’re teaching. They’re extremely well versed in the subjects, which they need to be because they’re professors, but they’re also enthusiastic about teaching which makes it more fun to learn.
How accessible are your professors?
The Economics professors are particularly accessible and they offer a ridiculous amount of help for the classes. The classes are really tough, but there is consistent help and resources that you can access.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Management and Society is much more collaborative and inclusive. Everybody is trying to succeed together. Economics is more competitive.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m definitely happy with the choice. I’ve always liked economics and the markets are something that fascinates me. I was going to apply to the [undergraduate] business school, but I got an internship lined up that made it feel less necessary. I really like the Management and Society major because I like studying the way people think and why things are within society, especially with a business focus. I picked the Entrepreneurship minor because I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I’ve always tried to pursue my passions and bring ideas to action, so that’s been something I’ve enjoyed as well.
How is managing both your sport and your coursework?
My freshman year it was definitely difficult. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done before in my entire life. Even though my high school was rigorous, trying to balance it with such a demanding sport it was really difficult to just get through it. A lot of guys [on my team] aren’t trying to push themselves to take tougher classes or learn Excel like I am, so it definitely was a wakeup call and was really, really tough at first. Fortunately, we have a lot of structure, which is something that helps me stay afloat. By the time I got to sophomore year, I was able to take the rains with my own scheduling and take less general education classes it made things a lot easier. Now I’m a junior, my schedule is situated in a way that fits me, so I only take classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it’s been phenomenal. There are much longer days, but I prefer to have an entirely free day than have to grind out more days through the week. It definitely was really difficult at first, but the more you do it the easier it gets and the more normal it becomes. There are times when you’re exhausted and trying to squeeze in as many naps as you can. It’s definitely stressful and takes a toll on guys, but we fortunately have a sports psychologist around to keep everybody [in a good mental state].
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman & Sophomore: Ram Village with three other guys on my team. It was incredible, I was so glad I was living there and was able to get to know the guys on the same age as me on the team. We were all going through the same thing so it kept you from feeling lonely.
Junior: I moved to an off-campus house with five other people. Two of them are athletes and the others are in my fraternity. It’s been great, everybody is very driven and hardworking so it’s a great atmosphere to live in.
How was transitioning from your hometown to Chapel Hill, NC?
It was very different because I grew up extremely close to my family and then I went off to college very far away. I can’t go home much during breaks, so I go home maybe 10 to 14 days to of the year, which was really tough at first. Chapel Hill is really family friendly so that reminded me a lot of Kansas City and I immediately felt like it was a second home.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I think Chapel Hill is a pretty safe place. Around athletic facilities, there is constant security and we joke that it’s a bomb shelter. I always feel safe walking to class and things like that. There are some rough neighborhoods around here
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
My freshman and sophomore year I primarily went to fraternity parties. As I’ve gotten older, it’s strictly a bar scene now. On a rare occasion, I’ll go to the fraternity house. The main thing is I want to hang out with my friends, whether that be at my own house or at a bar, it doesn’t really matter. The primary thing that we’re all trying to do is hang out and have a good time together.
How happy have you been with the nightlife at UNC? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m happy with it. I wish the nights started a little earlier, I think going to the bar at 11 PM is a little late. There’s also a culture where Friday is more for Greek life activities, and if you don’t do that, it’s more for low-key evening activities, so I’d love to see Fridays become more of a thing.
How did you meet your closest friends?
At first, I met them through my sports team. As I got older, I branched out and started hanging out with other people because I see the people on my team every day. I now live with my closest friends, and I’ve met them through my team, other sports teams, or my fraternity.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
UNC is definitely diverse, and that diversity makes it so different communities form. For my teammates who are Black, there’s “Black UNC” where there are bars where primarily Black people go and there are bars where primarily White people go. My teammates will say, “Yeah, that’s not really my speed it’s too White,” and my [White friends will say the same for the places they hang out], and I don’t think you can blame them for feeling that way. I absolutely think we have a diverse campus, but it’s also quite separated. That’s a deeper issue. People like to associate with people that are like them, so it’s tough to break down those barriers and really mix. [The undergraduate population at UNC is 61% White, 14% Asian, 9% Hispanic, and 8% Black.]
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of UNC by senior year? Do you think people leave loving UNC?
Absolutely. I’m very, very happy and I rarely hear people complain.
How do you like the size of UNC in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has it influenced your social experience? [UNC has 19,117 undergraduate students.]
It was very different where I came from because I went to a small school and was with the same people for about 15 years and it was an absolutely different community here. My circle is extremely small in the sense of the people that I have truly tight-knit relationships with. I knew I wanted to go to a big public school after my experience in high school so I could have that side to it, and I definitely take advantage of that. Now I go around campus and know so many people here because I try to know so many people and help as many people out as I can. I enjoy going to a big school.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yes. They’ve been extremely helpful and have created opportunities for me that wouldn’t otherwise be there. It happens that the internship I had last summer and the internship I have this summer weren’t UNC related. I also think being part of my team’s program has opened doors. I wouldn’t be sought after if I didn’t play [my sport] at an elite level and the personal discipline that comes with being a Division I athlete in a high-level program is something that is hard to find.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
I have not used the career office, I’ve used resources in the business school and they have been extremely helpful. They helped me prep for interviews and have talked with them about possibilities and how to approach things. I haven’t used the actual career office.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about UNC before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew to work harder freshman year. If I could go back and tell myself to lock in, I definitely would do that. Other than that, I couldn’t be happier with the way I’ve gone through this experience and delved into each aspect of the college the best I could. I think I’ve enjoyed each aspect of the school, the social life, and the sports to the fullest extent.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
There are things that you will never utilize because you’ll be interested in other stuff, so you’ll completely forget they exist. Because of that, the school feels smaller than it is sold to you as.
Reasons to attend UNC:
1) The culture here is incredible. Everybody here is so nice. I love the community and culture here. It’s especially strong with sports. If somebody is an athlete here they have an absolute family.
2) Sports are a big part of the school, so if you are in any way athletically inclined it’s a great place to be because there are so many club sports and other opportunities that are awesome and well-funded. Also, cheering for teams here is massive, everybody’s all in for that.
3) The academics are highly revered here, especially for being a state school. It’s a great education that people will respect for a long time.
4) The school’s colors are great.
Reasons to not attend UNC:
1) School is tough. There are times when you’re struggling academically and are stressed, but that’s what you have to expect when you sign up for a rigorous school. It’s definitely hard, so don’t come here if you’re not ready for that.
2) I’m from the Midwest, but the school can be a lot more Southern than I’m used to. One of my friends is from Boston and anytime she would come down here she says it’s polar opposites. I think anybody from the North is taken back by that, I have a teammate from the North that feels the same way. It’s more Southern than I anticipate. [About 82% of students come from North Carolina. 40% of the in-state students in the Class of 2022 is from rural North Carolina counties.]