Whether you’re attending UNC for a semester, or the whole year, you will come across the phrase ‘the Carolina way’. The more time you spend at UNC the more sense it will make to you. The Carolina way is basically work hard, play hard with a large dose of Tar Heel spirit.
The Carolina Way is when you’re up studying in the UL at 4am and get up for 10am so you can queue outside Carolina Ale House to get a table to watch the basketball game (this is a thing that happens). We may have actually done this…
The Carolina Way is not being a half-hearted fan, the Carolina Way is knowing the basketball team by sight if not by name, and fangirling over Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson when you spot them in the dining hall.
The Carolina Way is when you know that it’s always a GDTBATH (Good Day to be a Tar Heel), and you can’t go two days without wearing some form of Carolina merch. The obsession with repping Carolina 24/7 even when surrounded by other Tar Heels kind of threw me off at first. My friends who study in London cringed quite a bit since they wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a King’s hoodie back in London, but we all got over our initial apprehension and started making it rain in the student stores. Buying Carolina stuff became kind of an addiction, for real, it’s dangerous. I now own two Carolina jumpers, three tops, and a beanie because, why not.
It’s not just clothes though, you’ll find that you can get Carolina just about anything. For example:
I know…it’s a tad extra. As well as making your dog a tar heel, there are Carolina baby clothes so you can indoctrinate your child from a young age, because apparently it’s also NTSTBATH (never too soon to be a Tar Heel).
All of this may seem extreme, and I definitely suffered from some culture shock at first, but trust me when I say: you’ll soon be declaring yourself a Tar Heel 4 lyf, and the Carolina Way will seem like the only way.
The Carolina way is also taking every opportunity to slag off our arch-nemesis Duke. Literally, one of the Carolina fight songs ends with “go to hell Duke” and we’ll sing it even when we’re not playing against Duke (I feel like I’d be offended if I was playing against UNC only to one-upped by an absent Duke). You can buy a game day t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Beat Dook”, or my personal favourite “Duck Fook” (trolololol). And of course, the local businesses like to get in on the action:
Basically, pro-tip: don’t talk about Dook except to vehemently express your hatred for those elitist pigs.
Being a Tar Heel comes with other unique experiences. A personal favourite of mine is Alert Carolina, or rather making fun of Alert Carolina for its ineptitude. Alert Carolina has been known to send out alerts two days late, or bombard you with 10 alerts in a day.
I suppose we were lucky the tornado warnings came in a timely fashion.
Then there was this memorable gem:
I suppose we’ll never know what it was that Campus Police were investigating, but it was totally worth it for how lit Yik Yak was following this email.
Nothing could ever top Alert Carolina’s helpful advice about thunderstorms though: “Turn around, don’t drown”.
Though we exchange students may have complained endlessly about American college eccentricities (no doubt you will too), we came to view them with exasperated fondness, and soon graduated to unabashed love. No matter how resistant to it you may be, there’s no avoiding the fact that: once a Tar Heel, always a Tar Heel.