UNC – Chapel Hill
BackgroundInterview Date:February 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019. I transferred after my sophomore year at my first school and it will take me 5 years to graduate because of transferring.
High School Experience: Public school outside of Boston, MA with a graduating class of about 200 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies, which is a self-designed major. My major is focusing on business and economics.
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in Greek life and I play intramural soccer and basketball.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The community aspect of joining Greek life definitely made me a better person and allowed me to grow with others. It has made my whole college experience worthwhile.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
For my classes, I have readings, case studies, and problem sets depending on the class. It’s usually a bunch of readings and case studies.
Is there anything you feel either of your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
Interdisciplinary Studies allows students to make their own major with an advisor, but it’s very independently led by the student. There’s no department that I typically seek guidance from beside my advisor. It’s more of a solo adventure where I’m supported by the gentleman who runs the program and my advisor. In terms of more established majors, there is no higher up department, which I don’t think is either good or bad. I haven’t gone to my advisor much because I’ve been on top of my classes and have been doing well in these courses. The advisor has certainly been there when I need to change courses or anything along those lines.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I’d say that it’s fairly competitive. I transferred here after my sophomore year from a small private school and I noticed the whole atmosphere of coming to a top 50 school. I see that not only in the curriculum and in the attitude with the students and faculty.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m very happy with my choice. The driving force for pursuing my major is because I transferred and applying to the business school and even doing a non-business major, such as Economics, would prolong graduation longer than what I wanted because of prerequisites and other classes. Making my own major made the most sense for what I wanted to get out of my education in the timeframe that I wanted to do so.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation student? Were there any systems in place to help you adjust?
I’m lucky that the environment I grew up in the parents that I have allowed me to make that transition in the best way possible and have always been there for me. [I did not use any special resources at UNC.]
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Sophomore: Cobb Hall with one roommate
Junior: Alderman Hall with one roommate
Senior: Off-campus house.
How was transitioning from Boston, MA to Chapel Hill, NC?
It was a big change. The town that I come from doesn’t compare to the college town that UNC has by any means, so it’s definitely a night and day situation.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel pretty safe. From my interactions with others, no matter it being on campus and off campus, have felt pretty safe.
Pros and cons of being located in Chapel Hill, NC:
Pros: 1) There are more than enough resources for whatever a student would need.
2) There are enough people in the town that anyone can find their group of like-minded students.
Cons: I can’t think of any.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I like to go to bars, parties, and hang out with my friends.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It certainly helps it. It’s nice to be around other guys who want to have a good time. It also builds a community around nightlife.
How happy have you been with the nightlife at UNC? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I like it. I’m pretty content with it being somebody who’s over 21. I usually always have a good time.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through Greek life.
How was transitioning as a transfer student?
My first semester I was put in a hall with other transfer students so it allowed me to make a community with those that are in the same situation as I am. Those are another niche group of friends that I have now and being able to live with them and going through the struggles of getting acclimated to campus and classes here allowed me to get through that with them. I’m happy that I got to meet them through that experience.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
I think for the most part people are friendly with each other.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think UNC is pretty diverse. If you go to a popular bar on a Friday or Saturday night there is a wide array of demographics that are representative of Chapel Hill.
How would you describe the student body?
I think the students that I’ve met are, for the most part, pretty friendly. Especially during finals season when we’re preparing for exams, I haven’t run across somebody who doesn’t want to collaborate on notes or run through topics. They’re at the very least willing to carve out time to meet or share notes in whatever medium.
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of UNC by senior year? Do you think people leave loving UNC?
I think so. From the friends that I have we like the school and everything about it. It has anything a college student might need or want. I haven’t run across a student that dislikes the school and is openly sharing that.
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.]
I think the size of the school has helped my social life. Coming from a small school where I hanging around the close 10-20 friends that I had. Now, I live with all of my close friends and still have the same number of close friends, but I also have many more friends that I’ve made through classes or being a transfer student. It’s expanded the normal friends I might have, but I’ve also been able to keep the close ones I like.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
For me, personally, I haven’t sought that out. My friends that have tapped into that have seen the benefits of it by either landing an internship or learning more about a role that they aspire to have.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
I’ve been there a couple times, once when I first transferred and once last semester to share my plans after graduation. They were helpful. I don’t have much to base them off, but they were helpful.
Have you learned any computer programs or languages that will be helpful professionally?
I haven’t taken a class that focuses on programming or Excel.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about UNC before entering as a transfer?
One thing I wish I had learned is I did not know about the Interdisciplinary Studies major before coming to UNC, and I think that’s the case for most students. I assumed I had to pursue a major that was in the catalog. But, after learning that that’s not necessarily the case and I can pursue a major that is of my own interests, I chose it. I wish I knew about that earlier because it would have saved a lot of headache and unnecessary frustration.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I don’t really know. I just thing that once someone is enrolled here and as time passes I hope they can be more comfortable in their skin as a student and take advantage of the necessary resources that the school has to offer. I suggest checking out resources that might apply to what you want to learn about.
Reasons to attend UNC:
1) If someone is social, I think it’s a great fit. It’s certainly not an [over the top party school], but it’s fun.
2) The education is great. People in the real world not only know about UNC but know that students come from a solid background. It’s an institution that is known globally.
3) Athletics. If someone is interested in athletics or even entertains watching athletics, it’s a great place to be.
Reasons to not attend UNC:
1) I think if someone has a strong view that is against the consensus at UNC, that could be a hindrance on their experience because different views collide and there have been protests around Silent Sam.
2) It can be a tough place to go if you don’t want to put a lot of work into their classes. I don’t it’s possible here to go four years and not be on top of your schoolwork.