Coming to Carolina, I had no clue as to what my major would be much less what career I wanted to pursue. I came from a very small town and an even smaller high school and wanted to use my freshman year as an exploratory venture. Orientation was a blur of learning what Connect Carolina is and how to choose which five classes to register for out of a seemingly endless supply provided in the Bulletin. I ended up with a music credit, history credit, English 105, Bio 101 and Bio 101 Lab. I thought this was a solid schedule as it fulfilled many prerequisites required to graduate, but little did I know college was very different from high school. I quickly realized that Biology was no longer your average science class, but instead one of the hardest courses at UNC. And that “music” is not just listening to the radio. My naïve impression of studying soon proved to be less than lackluster and homework was more than ten math problems. What I had discovered was that I did not know as much as I thought…go figure.
My largest pitfall during my first couple years at UNC is not seeking help whenever I needed it. For example, because my major was undecided, I took a handful of very difficult classes that ended up counting as general electives instead of major requirements. I signed up for Econ 101 during my second semester simply because I thought it was required for most majors, and guess what…it is not necessary for either of my two majors. So I put myself through hundreds of hours of studying for a subject because I was unaware of what an academic advisor could have told me in just one appointment.
Therefore, if I could go back and do it again, I would take advantage of every resource that I did not seek out until much later. I would have listened to my mom when she told me to go talk to my professor, or schedule an appointment with Career Services to help construct more of a plan for my future. Although I eventually got everything together, my life would have been so much easier if I had taken the correct steps from the beginning. My advice for anyone in this position is to know that it is never too late to ask for help because this wonderful university is full of people who are more than willing to do just that!
By: Laura Burgess
UCS Career Peer