There’s No Place like Home

We all know the old adage, “There’s no place like home” made famous for me in the classic film the Wizard of Oz with the iconic Judy Garland. And to be honest, Dorothy was so right! There truly is no place like home and nothing can really beat the feeling of coming home and returning everything that you’re so familiar with. And that’s exactly what I had the chance to do this past weekend! I’m lucky in the sense that my home of Raleigh, North Carolina, where I grew up for exactly 10 years of my life, is also where my family still calls home! And as an added bonus, my second home Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a simple 30 minute drive from Raleigh!

 

 

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned many times in my blog, and honestly if you know me at all, I am obviously a Tar Heel born, bred, and dead! I call Chapel Hill and UNC my second home because honestly, it has been one of the most impactful places in my entire life and I don’t know where I would be had I not had the experiences I did at Carolina. UNC provided me with a world class education, numerous chances to see and explore the world, and, perhaps most importantly, my best friends in the entire world, besides my family of course! They don’t call this place “The Southern Part of Heaven” for nothing, and I would challenge you to find a Tar Heel that wouldn’t be emotional to come back to their old stomping grounds.

 

 

I returned to UNC for Homecoming Weekend. However, it wasn’t just the normal Homecoming. It was the first Homecoming I would attend as an alumnus of this institution! Kind of a big deal. And since those graduating in my class left here so recently and can still hear the school calling our names as we pursue our careers so many of my friends made it a top priority to return to this place that we all can call home in some way!

 

 

Being back on campus was actually magical! You really don’t realize how much you love and miss this place until you aren’t interacting with the people you’ve met here everyday and you aren’t making that daily walk down to the Pit or grabbing a meal on Franklin Street. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job and am so excited to get my career off to a prime start. But there’s something about coming back to this place that makes you want to stay and makes you yearn for the wonderful days you had at this school! Plus, there is nothing like a reunion of the best squad ever to bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart!

 

 

Being a recent grad it puts you in a really interesting place. You’re still so fresh out of school that you remember the routines you had, still see people you know who were younger than you, and honestly look like you are another student grinding out the semester and trying to get good grades in all your classes. But that isn’t your life anymore. Your priorities are different. And while classes were important you understand so much more now that the grade you got in that Art History class don’t play as large a role in your life as you once thought it would.  You’re torn in a state, or at least I was, that you would love to go back and be a student, but you also love the work you’re doing and being on track to accomplishing your 5 year plan exhilarates you!

 

 

 However, one thing I can say without a doubt is that the people at UNC haven’t changed and they never cease to amaze me. Everyone knows UNC is a great school in terms of academics and sports. Anyone who has eyes can see that the campus is gorgeous and there is beauty almost anywhere you look. But what can never be underplayed is the quality of the people that attend this magical university! Here you will find the most diverse, driven, caring, enthusiastic, selfless, and groundbreaking students and this is still the type of person you’ll meet on campus.

 

And now, as I am low-key tearing up after writing this post I leave you with a quotation because it’s honestly so difficult to find the adequate words to describe what this place has meant and will always mean to me: “Most residents stay only four years. Some hang around for a few more. But time doesn’t matter. Those who give themselves to Chapel Hill at all walk away with the right to say they’re Tar Heels — born, bred, and dead — and that’s a gift that lasts a lifetime.”

 

Tar Heel born, bred, and dead.

 

JRL

 

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