SPECIAL TO THE CALDWELL JOURNAL (by Abigail Parlier)…I’m supposed to be doing homework right now but instead, in a fit of loneliness and nostalgia, I flipped through my 2017 Yackety Yack for the first time. And cried. I’m not one for mourning the things that used to be because it takes away from where you are now; thankfully, I learned that lesson a long time ago. But that certainly doesn’t mean that bouts of pining-for-what-was don’t come up now and again.
It’s been four months since graduation and a month or so since moving to a university that doesn’t wear blue. Or win championships. Or win anything, really. (No offense, Rutgers. #GoKnights)
Culture shock is real, even if it only comes in the form of having to take the bus everywhere and not having a lot of grass and learning that New Jersey lanes merge weird. So, here’s a Carolina c/o 2017 appreciation post, a post about 17 things I learned, and a post full of feelings and mush, because that’s where I am in my life at this moment.
And because I am a Tar Heel. Always.
1. 4 years go by really quickly. One second you’re 18 and moving into Hojo. The next, you’re almost 23, have walked across the stage, and have started working toward a second degree. When did that happen and who said it was okay?
2. People are complicated. This one was a hard one to learn, but I’m not obligated to ever keep someone in my life just because they were once important to me in some capacity. The priorities of others might not always include me, so it’s okay to let people go, even if there was never a formal goodbye. In essence, can you ever really learn who your friends are, if those friends are always changing? Though this is not to say I’m not grateful for the ones who’ve stuck around. Carolina wouldn’t have been the same without y’all.
3. History is even more complicated. You can say what you want about my university, about how students are snowflakes for protesting, and how they should go to class instead. Carolina has a dark past, as do most things, making it a problematic fave. But I believe in my school and the ability of its students to move forward, to create a history worth being proud of, one that is inclusive and accepting, in both words, actions, and the removal of statues.
4. Coffee is for coziness, rather than energy. Don’t @ me. The Daily Grind (RIP) and Alpine make up a hearty percentage of my bloodstream, and that’s okay. I think of those places often and thank them for the habit, albeit an unhealthy one, they made me pick up.
5. Study what you love because sometimes your professor will bring a musket and longbow to class and it’s super awesome. Even if people ask if you actually went to class because your department was investigated or what you could possibly do with either of your majors. And the answer to both of those is yes. I went to class and will get a job.
6. Linda’s is my favorite place in the entire world. Where else can you get whisky, pickle juice, cheese fries, and bartenders that know your name? Probably other places too, but that’s not the point. Team Linda’s 5ever.
7. Sunsets from the 10th floor balcony of Morrison are hard to beat. The last place I wanted to live turned into one of my favorite spots. MoTown, you’re a gem.
8. Seeing a stranger in Carolina gear is oddly comforting. There’s a sense of pride and community that comes with it, or maybe it’s just me.
9. 9PM dance rehearsals are considered early. Hours of midnight practices and cold walks back to the room, all for just a couple minutes on stage. But learning to love dance again, regardless of who is watching, was worth every second.
10. Rushing Franklin never gets old. During my stint at UNC, I got to rush more times than people probably dream of. It’s insane, it’s loud, someone will set a couch on fire, another will climb a light pole, and it will change your life.
11. Even when you break your foot in the process.
12. The man that whistles is the actual worst. Sorry not sorry.
13. Losing is humbling. I made a D+ in statistics. I failed a geology final. I interviewed for positions and didn’t get them. The list goes on. Sometimes you don’t get what you want because it’s not actually what you need. Whether this applies to grades is another question, but when things don’t go your way, it kicks into gear a different part of your emotionality that teaches you things a professor never could. Losing is good, even when it sucks. (This is hardly in reference to the 2016 basketball season. Get your head out of the gutter.)
14. Just because you weren’t born with sisters, doesn’t mean you won’t get them later. Here’s looking at you, Alpha chapter. FAML.
15. The reaction to respond HEEL when someone says TAR doesn’t go away when you graduate. This makes for potentially awkward situations when you think you hear someone yell it in public and you have to restrain yourself because you know that’s probably not what they actually said or meant in the first place. Not speaking from experience, of course.
16. My degree looks damn good in its frame. Thanks Mom, for giving me the love of Carolina. And for buying the frame.
17. The sky is bluer in Chapel Hill. Miss you always, CH. I hope to see you soon.
Abigail (Abby) Parlier is the daughter of Vicki Spencer and Wesley Parlier. Abby graduated from South Caldwell High School in 2013 and UNC in 2017. She is now attending graduate school at Rutgers University in New Jersey.