This fall marks twenty-one years since I packed my few worldly possessions into a 1990 Toyota Camry and, after lying that I would abstain from any illicit substances, left my parents' abode for the first time. I was off to explore the world on my own. (Sort of: It's not like I was paying my own bills.) My adulthood is now old enough to legally drink.
The world has changed since then. The year I graduated—when this year's crop of freshmen were toddlers; God, I'm old—terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers, and the U.S. has been at war in the Middle East ever since. The housing market ballooned, then crashed, then ballooned again. We've elected a smart black president and then a dumb orange one. My cohorts and I are drowning under a tsunami of student debt that is, in turn, stifling middle-class prosperity, such that politicians are now tossing around ideas like student-loan forgiveness and free college that two decades ago would have been unthinkable. And perhaps most important, the internet, which was then frustratingly slow and complicated, has revolutionized how we learn and work and communicate with each other.
College, too, has changed, in ways both obvious and subtle. Life moves faster; connection is omnipresent; access to knowledge is immediate. Students are more socially engaged and, dare I say, responsible. But some things remain the same: College is and will always be a time for self-exploration and self-definition, to discover who you are and who you want to be.
The INDY's Campus Guide is designed to assist the mass of students (and their parents) who will descend on the Triangle over the next few days for move-in weekend navigate their brave new world. And because it's been some time since our staffers could relate to the target demo, we've largely delegated this package to an ambitious team of summer interns—Elizabeth Chen, who served as project manager; Macon Atkinson; Absaroka Mann-Wood; and Cole Villena—who, drawing on their own experiences, dish out advice on living cheaply, pulling all-nighters, getting around without a car, finding events you shouldn't miss, and all sorts of other things newcomers need to know.
We hope you enjoy it. More important, we hope it's of use. Those first weeks of college may feel overwhelming and intimidating—at least, they did for me—but you'll get through it. We're here to help.
Got Questions About College? Seven Current and Recent N.C. Students Have Answers.
Ten Unexpected Things You Need in Your Dorm Room
Five Quick Tips for Pulling All-Nighters
How to Do College Life on the Cheap
Broke? Hungry? No Problem! Here Are the Best Cheap Eats in the Triangle.
What Apps Do You Need to Navigate College Life?
How to Get Around Campus (and Beyond) Without a Car
Eleven Annual Local Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss
Be Careful Out There: How to Look Out for Yourself (and Others) on Campus
Campus Life Is Too Short for Bad Sex