Senior Year Feels

 

Sunday, March 6th

 

As I sit on the iconic benches directly in front of UNC Chapel Hill’s South Building, soaking in a beautiful day and the beams of sunshine bursting through the limbs of the trees that line the quad, I can’t help but think how truly blessed I am. But let’s get one thing straight. I don’t mean blessed in the #blessed way or the #tooblessedtobestressed notion that is popular on social media and uses irony to create humor in the eyes of the millennials that have coined this hashtag. I mean that I am truly fortunate to be where I am in this moment, and that I am unfathomably lucky to have had the best 4 years of my life at this university that I’m lucky enough to call home.

 

Now, you may be wondering to yourself, “Joseph, what’s with the sentimentality? We know you and yes you’re a vivacious and enthusiastic person, but you are NEVER touchy feely like this,” (Or at least in my mind they would say something along these lines). And my response would be this: you’re right. I don’t usually care much for emotion and I very much give off the impression that everything is always under control and my feelings are in check. However, after one of the most memorable weekends that I’ve had on campus I can’t help but think how much my time here has left an indelible mark upon my character and molded me into the person I am today.

 

 

   So quick run down of this “Weekend for the Books,” so I can give a better sense of why I’m feeling this way. I went to an amazing event at the Ackland Musuem on Friday night with some amazing friends and got the perfect mixture of culture and entertainment (and maybe a few too many cocktails but that isn’t the point). After the event at the Ackland Museum I did my Carolina duty and hit up numerous spots on Franklin Street, as well as a friend’s birthday party, and naturally ended the night at TOPO.

 

 

Flash forward to the next day where I am moderately hungover and my Snapchat story is a mess. However, these things mean little to nothing because today is the day of the last D00k game of my undergraduate career! Obviously, I’m hyped. But throw a proverbial wrench in my plans because it is also my parent’s 33rd wedding anniversary and they have made dinner reservations for the fam-jam at 6:30 in Chapel Hill, literally the exact time frame of the game. Of course family is #1 and takes priority to a basketball game. So I am ecstatic to celebrate this amazing milestone for my parents, and I wouldn’t trade anything to spend this night with them. We have a marvelous dinner and make our way to the “secret” bar Pecadillo for a drink before heading back to my house for some much deserved anniversary cake. Now for anyone who has been to Pecadillo, you know the vibe. Very dark. Very quiet. And definitely not a place that has a TV playing the game. My sister, a Carolina alum, and I are at the bar, cringing in anticipation and constantly refreshing our ESPN app to ensure that another heartbreaking loss does not take place. But not to worry, justice has been served and it is a Tar Heel victory, 76-72!

 

 

Craziness then ensues! We finish our drinks and can see people beginning to rush Franklin Street. At this point, I tell my parents I must go, mainly because the only other Carolina victory against D00k that has occurred during my time at UNC was my sophomore year when I was away at a volleyball tournament. So this was literally my last chance to rush Franklin and this dream was graciously granted by the powers of Roy Williams and Brice Johnson. I took this opportunity by the horns (see what I did there) and started to rush with my sister to Franklin. I’ll give you the abbreviated version but run-run-run, get to Franklin Street, shove our way to the bonfire, jump over it approximately 10 times, and leave Franklin to have cake with the rents. A pretty solid start to the evening.

 

 

When the cake has been adequately devoured and my family heads home I head out to meet my friends at He’s Not Here, classic Carolina establishment, and our night begins with the hype of the game overflowing. We hop around bars for the night and ultimately I end at TOPO (Top of the Hill for my non-UNC readers) again… Not a shocker if we are being truthful. Now that I’m looking back, this was a magical night at UNC. Not because of the craziness of another Saturday night or because I got to drink with some of my best friends, but because of the undeniable camaraderie I felt on Franklin Street. There’s just a magic in being surrounded by people who I know hold UNC in a special place in their hearts just as much as I do.

 

 

Now we reach Sunday and are also nearing the end of this sappy, albeit necessary blog post. Sunday is the day of the Senior Donor Luncheon, where basically if you donated a certain amount to the Senior Campaign you are invited to a lunch in the Blue Zone, which is an area of the football stadium with the best view. Naturally I attend, because 1) free food and 2) seeing all the people I’ve met since freshmen year. And this is where the “feels” really start to hit me. I swear everyone at the event, from the speakers to my friends, kept saying things like, “Soon you’ll be an alum,” or, “I can’t believe graduation is only two months away.” While these things may be true they are certainly not facts I want to hear because in my heart I don’t want to leave. I’m not ready to leave. And this brings me back to where I am at the beginning of this post, overlooking the quad and pondering my time here.

 

 

I’ve always loved this place, and I’ve always known that I would miss it when I ultimately had to graduate. However, never have I more identified with the following quote than on this day, “Without even noticing, UNC seeps into your pores. By junior year, she’s in your blood. You can’t remember a time when you didn’t have moments on campus where you lose your breath for a second and all you can think is, ‘Wow, I love this place.’ …And then UNC tells you to leave. And it hurts,” (Elyse Ashburn). And I felt the pain. I felt UNC today telling me, “Your days are numbered. You’ll only be able to see my beauty everyday for a little while longer.” And that hurt. But it will only make it all that much sweeter when I return to this Southern piece of heaven to reminisce on the life-changing moments I’ve had on this campus.

 

 

So yes, I am blessed. I am blessed to bleed Carolina Blue. I am blessed to have learned life lessons not only from my professors and mentors but from the students I am lucky enough to call my friends. I am blessed to have travelled the world through a program only offered at this University. But most important of all I am blessed to be a Tarheel born, a Tarheel bred, and when I die a Tarheel dead!

JRL

 

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