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Tar Heel reflections

The Tar Heels in the undergraduate Class of 2022 are about to wrap up one of the biggest chapters of their lives this weekend as they turn their tassels from right to left and officially become Carolina alumni.

As their big day on Sunday approaches, we asked our graduating seniors to reflect on their time in Chapel Hill and what this milestone means to them.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot is the Coker Arboretum. I’ve taken a lot of good study breaks there, taking a breath and kind of forgetting about everything that’s around me. It’s just really peaceful.

Hannah Nettles, psychology

Yellow flowers on a structure in the arborteum.

The quad because when the sunlight is hitting perfectly and the weather is good, it’s a nice spot to just see people studying. I really like it there. It’s nice to walk through, too.

Marquis Alexis, economics and political science

Students gather on Polk Place.

My favorite spot on campus is Wilson Library because it’s historical, and when I sit in there, I feel like the work I’m doing is contributing to the University as a whole.

Lindsey Oldt, English and political science

A student walking in Fearrington Reading Room in Wilson Library.

The Pit because I’m guaranteed to see someone I know in the Pit. It’s just good vibes. You get to see people’s outfits. You get to see people’s style.

Gabby Kromah, advertising and public relations

Students gather in The Pit.

The Old Well. I run up past that area a lot. It’s always a route I take.

Caleb Green, biology

The Old Well with purple flowers in front of it.

What do you wish you could tell your first-year self?

“Take advantage of every moment. Don’t focus on the future so much. These four years will fly by. Just be in the moment and take every opportunity to enjoy yourself because you’re here for school, but you’re also here to grow.” Nahdi Bropleh, business administration and African, African American and diaspora studies

“Try to enjoy every moment. Try to go to every event that you can because, at some point, it’s going to be over.” Brian Restrepo, computer science

Students hold a Class of 2022 flag.“I would tell my first-year self to get out there more. Carolina is not as daunting of a place as it seems, and I can go, be happy and be comfortable anywhere on campus.” Rivers Andrews, exercise and sport science

“I would tell my first-year self that your time at Carolina goes by insanely fast. There are so many activities and opportunities I never got to explore, and that’s OK, but you’ll look back on your four years and wish you could’ve done more. The best way to enjoy your time at Carolina is to try many different things until you find what you’re passionate about. It’s a special moment once you’ve found that passion, and it can unlock a drive and motivation within you to lift your Carolina experience to new heights.” Ben Brown, environmental studies and public policy

“Be prepared to make grades that you’re not going to be happy with, and it’s all right. There’s no shame in retaking the class because you can still get to where you want to be.” Jenna Smith

“You’re going to make it, so just have fun. Take it slow. Don’t stress too much.” Nautica Harveri, computer science

What will you miss most about Carolina?

The little things like grabbing my morning coffee at Meantime and golden-hour walks through the quad. I’ll also miss the feeling of community, like passing by a friend on my way to class and going to WXYC dances. Graduating is so bittersweet because these last four years have been so formative for me, with my highest highs and my lowest lows. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Jacob Koller, information science

People walk at sunset.

The sense of unity that I feel like all students have, whether it’s through sports or academics. I feel it shows especially during sports. You can meet with a Carolina fan anywhere in the world and you just have that bond.

Pujita Chodisetty, public policy and music

Students cheer at a basketball game.

I’ll definitely miss all the friends that I’m leaving behind, but I’ll definitely be able to come back and see them. My friends that graduated last year always come back around, so that makes it worth it.

Andrew Hall, chemistry

People having a picnic on Polk Place

Something I love and think I’ll miss is how every day is different and exciting. You never know who you’ll meet or what events will pop up on campus. You have the opportunity to learn about or get involved with just about anything you find interesting.

Jessica Reid, environmental studies

A person dressed up like a fox using a typewriter.

What I’ll miss most about Carolina is being able to see my friends and the Carolina community every day and celebrating all the wins — big, small and especially against Duke.

Annabell Archer, business administration

Students gather on Franklin Street.

What does graduating from Carolina mean to you?

“It’s definitely bittersweet. I’m happy with the memories I’ve made along the way here, so it’s not going to be easy to leave this place.” Dylan Morgan, environmental science

“As a first-generation [college student], it means making my family proud and being the first in my family to graduate from college.” Jennifer Te Vasquez, interdisciplinary studies

Graduates pose for a photo by the Old Well.“Honestly, it really hasn’t hit me. I feel like the only time the weight of graduating from Carolina will really hit me is when I don’t have a class to take next fall. It is a sad feeling, but I loved my time here and wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Caleb Dixon, chemistry

“It means everything because there were definitely some points I didn’t think I would make it here. So it means literally everything. It’s the biggest accomplishment of my life thus far, and it means a lot to everyone around me, I can tell.” Miyah Lockhart, psychology and exercise and sport science

“Being able to graduate is a huge accomplishment for me, but it’s an even bigger accomplishment that it’s from a top university like UNC. Whenever I applied here, I thought I had no chance of getting in, which was frustrating because this was my dream school. But when I was accepted, I proved to myself that I’m worthy and intelligent enough to go to a prestigious school. It’s truly an honor to be graduating from this place that I love.” Jordan Holloway, American studies

A person adjusts a graduate's stoll.“It’s a huge chapter of my life. It’s really crazy that you’re officially going to be an adult now like working 9 to 5. Obviously, I’m super proud of myself and everyone graduating because it’s such a huge feat, being a college graduate. It means a lot.” Juliana Korike, economics

“It means that I have spent four years growing into a different person with a more mature understanding of life and the people I will come into contact with. I am proud of my time here because it definitely did challenge me in the classroom and socially, and I am excited to celebrate this milestone.” Daniel Wood, exercise and sport science