Why I haven’t given up on the Carolina Way

Maybe it’s too soon to write a reflection like this. After all, I still have a year left before I graduate.

But after last night’s win against Duke and reading the end of this article by Adam Lucas, I had to write something.

Anyone who has gone to Carolina or lives in this state has probably heard people refer to the Carolina family. It’s not a well-defined group and certainly isn’t limited to students. Some outsiders might argue that it’s the very reason that our university has as many problems that it does. That because we love this place so much, and carelessly throw around terms like “the Carolina Way” and “Southern Part of Heaven,”  we’re not willing to address its faults. We turn a blind eye because we’d rather believe in unattainable ideals.

But in a way, that is family. You love your family. You are loyal to them. And, yes, sometimes you turn a blind eye for too long even when they do stupid or awful things that make you question why you love them. But you don’t give up on them. You stick with them through the bad times and give them a second chance whether or not they deserve it.

Right now, I think we’re giving Carolina that second chance.

Is this university going to fix all of its problems? Maybe not.

Will new problems arise in the future? Almost certainly.

UNC-Chapel Hill is not a perfect university. Chapel Hill is not a perfect town. We are not a perfect family.

But the point is that as long as we still see good in the place, we aren’t going to give up on it. And there is still a lot of good left in this family.

Look at the One Carolina campaign, which was started by students and involved the basketball team in a way that isn’t a calculated PR move but a genuine attempt to make a dream come true for a child.

Walk through the quad on a warm Wednesday evening and listen the dozens of students who have come together to form the first collegiate ukulele ensemble to make music accessible to many.

Go to a meeting of the countless student groups who are addressing issues ranging from global poverty to the needs of families and patients at our own local children’s hospital.

Think back to last week when there were students pushing cars up hills during the snow storm and going car to car to check on people stuck in traffic.

These are just examples I can come up with from my past two weeks here at UNC. To list all of the things I’ve seen during my past three years would take more than a blog post.

Yesterday a very wise professor told me that what sets people apart isn’t their intellect, it’s their character. Maybe the rest of the world doesn’t see that in Carolina anymore, not with the headlines shining a bright light on everything and anything wrong with this place.

But I still see it every day and so do many of my peers.

And that is why I won’t give up on the Carolina Way.



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