Kalina’s College Survival Guide

Let’s face it: college is hard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hands down the best four years of your life, but sometimes, surviving a single day feels like an impossible challenge. Luckily, there are those moments that make everything worth it. Whether it’s celebrating a national championship in the dead center of Franklin Street or the midnight runs to Cookout with your roommates when you’re laughing so hard you can’t get a word out – college is full of magical moments that make all of the long hours worth it. 

I’m a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the last thing I want to think about is my impending graduation. When I tell people I’m about to graduate they say things like “congratulations” and “you must be so excited”, but they really don’t get it. The dreaded day in May when I’m forced to leave this beautiful place sounds like my worst nightmare.

So when I thought about writing a blog, there are few things I’d rather talk about than my college experience. I wanted to create a college survival guide because honestly, it sounded like the perfect opportunity to relive and document some unforgettable memories from my past few years. But before I get into it, you should get to know me. 

My name is Kalina, I’m 5’9” and an American and Canadian dual citizen. I wasn’t a Tar Heel born but I am definitely a Tar Heel dead – Carolina basketball absolutely sucked me in my freshman year with the 2017 national championship that I previously alluded to… so much so that I made it a personal goal to be in the front row of the risers for every basketball game my senior season (so far I’ve only missed one game!). 

I grew up a dancer and it’s still a huge part of my life today. I’m in two dance companies at UNC – Blank Canvas and Carolina Tap Ensemble (which I’m president of). Both of which have been amazing outlets for me to express myself and let out my frustration when school gets tough.

I am really, unimaginably talented at overcommitting myself. I love getting involved in my campus and community, whether that’s my dance organizations or my involvement with Carolina For the Kids, but it’s all a little tough to juggle on top of my courses and internships. I got really good at time management, but learned the hard way. 

College survival tip #1: know who you are and own up to it, even if it’s only to yourself. 

Back to you. The thing about college is, the life lessons you learn in these four years are things you’ll carry with you for the rest of your being. Whether you’re about to be a freshman in college or have been out of university for decades, we all struggle with who we are from time to time. 

College is the perfect time to iron out your identity. You can try out one (or ten) new hobbies from the never-ending list of clubs you didn’t know existed and you can do literally whatever you want, whenever you want without your parents breathing down your back to be home by curfew

While I unsurprisingly found a home in dance groups on campus, I also found some new passions over the past few years. My Dad always jokes that I didn’t know the shape of a basketball before UNC, and while that may be a slight exaggeration, I definitely never thought I’d become such the diehard sports lover that I grew into. 

College truly puts you to the test. You’ll uncover new flaws about yourself while trying to study in an overcrowded library at 3am, and you’ll find your strengths when your ace the course you once thought you were incapable of passing. 

I hope that this blog will be something everyone can get something out of. Whether it helps you ease your mind as an incoming college student or allows you to relive your memories of one of the happiest times of your life, this is my ultimate college survival guide. Go heels!!

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