First Day of Class
The first day of class is a big deal at UNC. The night before, the Order of the Bell Tower, the student ambassadors and UNC tradition keepers, organize the relighting of the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower, where this iconic monument is illuminated in blue and white. It signifies the countdown to the start of the new academic year and I’ve heard from the UNC GLOBErs that it’s a beautiful sight that really brings together the community. Unfortunately, due to the thunderstorms this year, the relighting was cancelled, but the Sunset Serenade was still scheduled. Here, UNC a capella groups showcase their singing routines to all incoming students at Memorial Hall, and this is certainly an event that is truly unique from the perspective of a Danish student.
The following day, the 21st of August, our classes began. Most classes for GLOBErs are at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC, which is located at South Campus. So, for my roommate and I living at Spencer Residence Hall on Franklin Street, it was a long walk and the August heat of North Carolina is harsh. Still, you should not be taking the Campus shuttle buses in this first week, otherwise you’ll be missing out on the buzzing campus life. There’s Freshmen students desperately trying to find their classrooms, sorority sisters promoting their chapter, volunteers handing out free food (LOTS of free food) and I was even invited to paint the UNC logo on a canvas that now proudly sits on my dorm room desk. As a CBS student, it was a completely different experience and I loved every bit of it.
Don’t forget to drink from the Old Well fountain before your first class! This annual tradition at Chapel Hill promises a 4.0 GPA for the semester, so be sure to give yourself enough time in the morning to take part (or, if you’re up for it, be there at midnight- it’s an experience in itself).
When I finally got to my first class, BUSI 410: Business Analytics, I got a real taste of the American education system. At the Business School in UNC, classes are maximum 75 minutes with mostly 40 students, so the professors would generally know you on a first-name basis. On top of that, grades are based on a combination of class attendance, participation, homework, mid-term exams, group projects and a final exam, which was a very foreign idea to me. At CBS, our grades were based solely on a final exam and I was used to the 2 hour and 45-minute International Business lectures, where I blended in with the 150 other students in the auditorium. To me, this was a more significant change to my learning than I had originally anticipated, simply because the structure was so different. I’ve come to understand how I should adjust my studies accordingly, but it was definitely an interesting challenge. Now, I wouldn’t be able to determine which I prefer: there’s some advantage in having intensive classes, but I also really enjoy the discussion-based learning and more personal engagement in my UNC classes.
Overall, it was a lovely way to start off the academic school year and an interesting insight into the college experience of an American student. It definitely set a standard for the coming semester and made me all the more excited for what’s in store.