People always say time flies when you’re having fun. It’s a bit cliche, but I’ve realized it’s definitely true. I was sitting in my apartment today renewing my apartment lease for next year when I realized that this time next year…I wouldn’t be a senior in college anymore. Now, I’m not entirely sure about what I’ll be doing, but I know that I’ll be right here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, because it’s not just where I’ve been going to school for four years. To me, Chapel Hill is home. I’m not entirely sure when I felt the change because if I had been asked last year where I was from, I would say: the western half of NC, as in where I grew up with my parents. Now, when people ask me where I’m from, I tell them Chapel Hill.
Even though this is one of my favorite pictures, this really isn’t what I think of as my home in Chapel Hill. Don’t get me wrong. I have spent most of my time in Chapel Hill on this very campus. Most of that time has been rather phenomenal, but unlike some of my classmates, I’ve put down some roots in the area apart from my GPA. It’s probably helped that I lived off campus after my freshman year, but I have to say that I’ve been through a lot in this town and I’m definitely not on a mission to leave it any time soon. I’ve heard a lot of grads-to-be say that they can’t wait to explore the world or just get out of North Carolina. Now, I do want to explore the world, but I’ve reached the point where my desire isn’t to get OUT of Chapel Hill; it’s to find a way to stay here permanently.
First off, I got my first real job in Chapel Hill. After taking a class on the Southern Historical Collection, I made sure to apply for a job there the next summer. And what do you know, I’ve been there ever since. It’s a job I really do love. I’ve enjoyed the people I work with, the people I meet, the things I do, and the things I’ve learned. Now it’s definitely a job, I don’t want to romanticize it into impossibility, but it’s been a pretty darn fantastic run, and I can’t regret spending three years on the fourth floor of Wilson Library for anything.
Living in Chapel Hill has opened my social sphere and I have so many friends here that have helped me grow into a better person. Now, again, I don’t want to over-romanticize everything in this post. I’m going to be truthful, and when I get sappy, you’ll just have to bear with me and trust that what I’m telling you is just the way it is! First I’ll give a shout-out to Rachel (since you are reading this post if I know you): a person at work to let me know when I’m being stupid or careless while being nice about it. Also the person to help make me feel at home in my new job. Not to mention, your endless supply of trailmix has done wonders for my blood sugar.
Then there was my first ever roommate: Mary. Mary and I had (read: have) very different personalities, and I don’t mean the kind that mesh well together on a daily basis. So, needless to say, living together in a tiny room with a bright overhead light did absolutely horrible things to our friendship. It’s funny how things like study habits and boy drama can get in between people. So, Mary and I snarked it out. Now, we’re pretty good friends because of our little trial by fire. It certainly took us a while to get back to this point, but once we did, we were pretty tight. Not like we’ll tell each other every little thing but we’re friends because we can look each other in the eye and say: living with you sucked.
While we’re on the subject of roommates, another great result of living in Chapel Hill was the best roommate ever: Anya. I’ve come to the conclusion that’s it’s actually pretty hard to be friends and roommates with someone at the same time, but somehow Anya and I managed it. Anya was one of those people who didn’t really hesitate to tell me when I was being stupid, excessive, or even over-talkative (which obviously happens a lot). We became friends because she helped me get over myself and because we both liked the same quirky things: ie, British tv shows. In short, we bonded over the simplest of experiences: being college roommates.
So all of these friends have helped me make great memories in Chapel Hill, but none of them necessarily tie me to this town. What really means a lot to me are the friends I have here that are more like my family. Those are part of the reason that I feel like Chapel Hill is really my home now. Perhaps the most significant are Howard and Donya and their two kids, Katie and Max. They’ve been a help in a lot of ways. Donya especially has been super supportive.
All of this said, Chapel Hill/Carrboro is now my home. Now I’m just on the search for a job….oh joy!