Dear UNC,

Dear UNC, 

It’s my first year… 

Remember my first move-in day? About 15 members of my family showed up. Two cars packed to brim. Crossing Paul Hardin dr. with a mini-fridge and stacks of boxes filled with clothes. It was raining. The room was more spacious than I thought it would be. My roommate, Kristen, showed about two hours into the move, with her mom, dad, and sister. We met on Facebook, but this was our first in-person interaction it went very well. Hardin Dorm, my first home away from home. 

Remember that day on the first floor of the Student Union? I was sitting with my friend Phipps from high school. She introduced me to Anna. She said, “both of you listen to Justin Bieber, you should be friends.” And we still are to this day. 

Remember my countless trips to advising, trying to figure out what I wanted to major in?  

Remember when I stood in line for hours with my new friend Ezra to see former President Obama speak in Hooker Fields. How once we got inside we got stuck in a mass of people under the scorching hot sun? How they began passing around little cups of water for us to take a sip to keep us from passing out? 

Remember the 2017 National Championship and the rush to Franklin. How Anna and I got lost in riot Tar Heels?

Remember all the amazing people I met the first year? 

Dear UNC, 

It’s my second year…

Remember meeting the late Dr. Rial, former geophysics and climatology professor. I wanted to combine my interests in geology and communications so I joined his project NARNEA. A model for a renewable energy system. I started out looking for journals to publish the transcript in and then began conducting my own research on the project with my research partner Ava. 

Remember how that moment with Dr. Rial, led me to present our research to science professionals at national conferences in Florida and Washington DC? Even giving Ava and me the opportunity to host our own seminar at a conference. 

Remember those nights I’d sit in our apartment living room and talk to Jaylyn and Idalis for hours. They are two of the brightest and most thoughtful people I know. I’m so glad to have them in my life. 

Remember when I was sitting in MEJO 153, writing and reporting.  I didn’t know it yet, but I was sitting next to someone who was going to become one of my closest friends. Her name is Nora, our first assignment was to write a feature story to present to the class.  At the end of the class she turned to me and said “so should we be friends now?” I said, “Yea, I think so!” 

Remember the snowpocalypse that had us out of class for a week? How my friends and I spent days playing in the snow without any cares? Until the third day when we started to get restless. Who would’ve thought that an unexpected week off of school would cause us to start working weeks ahead on class readings? 

Remember all the amazing people I met in my sophomore year? 

Dear UNC, 

It’s my junior year…

Wow, I’m almost done. Four years are going by quickly. 

Remember when a basketball watch party I was supposed to go to got canceled? Shortly after a couple of my friends called inviting me to a different one at their friend’s house. It was so much fun. There were about five of us. I actually met my bestest friend of all that night.

Remember formal? It wasn’t just any formal, it was geology club formal, also known as Synformal. Location: the rock garden outside of Mitchel hall.  

Remember when I talked to Professor Lou Killeffer about how I was interested in finding an internship in strategy and he said I should talk to my professor Josh Carlton. How those conversations led me to Steven King and my year-long internship at Reese Innovation Lab? I can’t thank them enough for all that these three have taught me.  

Remember all the amazing people I met in my junior year?

Dear UNC, 

It’s my senior year…

I’ve had so many great memories thus far. 

I went to New York this year with a group of people who love advertising just as much as I do. We visited a ton of agencies like Wieden + Kennedy, BBDO and Ogilvy. I was re-inspired by the lights of Time’s Square and the long line for a Popeye’s chicken sandwich. We said we’d start our own agency one day.

PC: Miranda Veal

Remember finally getting into not one but two classes taught by Gary Kayye?! Our first semester I worked as a strategist on our Envision Carolina Campaign. Our second semester on our personal branding.  

Remember the D00k game? I got to go this year! I won’t mention the ending, but my friends and I went to eat Bojangles afterward and that was a good time.

It’s LDOC today. My last one. No, I won’t get a “normal” graduation, and yea I haven’t been able to see my friends in a while. But I’ve been able to think a lot about all of my experiences and I’ve had so many positive compared to the negative. I’ve learned so much in my time at UNC and have met so many inspiring people. 

It really is the people that make UNC what it is. So thank you to everyone who got me through 4 years of UNC and Zoom University.  

Thank you to my parents, my extended family, my friends, my advisor and my professors. I couldn’t have done it without you all.

Communication and Family

I remember asking my mom before bed if I could go to sleep in Nonna Grazia and Nonno Nino’s house. After a few minutes of begging she’d finally cave and say “okay let’s go.” I’d run out of the car to their house and knock on the door, “Areistu ca stasira!” I’d say.

Me and Nonna Grazia. Me and Nonno Nino.

In the morning we’d go into the kitchen and I’d have a breakfast of milk and cookies. I remember looking forward to it because Nonno would add a little bit of espresso to the milk and I felt like a grown-up.

I remember watching Nonno pick figs from the fig tree in the backyard and eating them together. Or going with him and my dad to our pizzeria in Queens. I’d sit in a booth with Nonno and help him fold stacks of pizza boxes. As my dad walked by the table I’d say  “Lo posso fare veloce! And he’d stop to watch me fold the boxes as fast as I could.

My cousin and I sitting in a booth at our family’s pizzeria.

When we moved to North Carolina, my Nonni and my cousins followed. To this day, I still walk across the street to my nonna’s house and have sleepovers or just hang out with them and eat (well COVID-19 has…you know, changed some of my habits). 

While I can’t be with my dad’s side as often as we’d like we still have weekly Facebook messenger video calls. And we try to visit them whenever possible. My Nonno Filippo used to have a pony and carriage. I remember visiting when I was a kid and riding around town. 

Nonno Filippo, my cousins and myself in Carini.

I’m grateful for having grown up in such a big, yet close-knit family. Something that I think about a lot is how grateful I am for the ability to communicate with all of them. Other than a few of my cousins in America, everyone in my family either learned English as a second language or never learned it all. The majority of my family speaks Italian, more specifically the dialect of Sicilian, even more specifically, the dialect of Sicilian that is spoken in Carini. Every city in Italy has its own version of the Italian language that they know. 

It was important to my parents that, even though I was being raised in the United States, I knew how to speak our language. So for as long as I can remember I’ve been able to speak Sicilian very well. 

A few years ago, my parents, my brother and I took a trip to Carini to visit my dad’s side of the family. I was able to meet some of my little cousins for the first time in person. The first thing I noticed was that they spoke to me in proper Italian, while my aunts’ uncles and Nonni still spoke Sicilian. My Nonna Maria said that it’s because that is what they are learning in school. She said it’s good to know Sicilian because its the language of our people, but it is also important to learn proper Italian. It allows you to communicate with others across the country. 

My brother, Nonna Maria, Nonno Filippo and myself.

Sicilian is a spoken language and while it can be written down it’s not common, as is the same for other dialects. One can’t google translate the English word for “chair” into Sicilian, or Barese or Fiorentino. Dialects are something you learn through listening.  

What Nonna Maria said was true, it would be helpful for me to learn Italian. I could understand it and I could read it okay, but speaking it was a bit difficult for me. I wanted to learn the grammar, learn how to write and I wanted to build upon my Italian vocabulary. 

So after years of taking Spanish in school, I decided my senior year of college, that I would take Italian 101. I’m now in my last week of class and it’s safe to say that I have learned A LOT.  While I still have a little bit to go before I’ll consider myself fluent in proper Italian, I am 1000 times more confident in my reading, writing, and speaking abilities. 

Communication in all forms is valuable and builds relationships. Learning a language is a step towards communicating more effectively or in my case, more properly. I still speak Sicilian at home, however, I am now one step closer to speaking fluent Italian. I am thankful to have grown up with the ability to communicate with my family. It has allowed me to be close with them, even if some are an ocean away.

If a picture is worth 1000 words… how about XR?

I was first exposed to XR-  Virtual reality, Augmented reality, etc- when I started working at the Reese Innovation Lab last summer. After a staff meeting one afternoon, my manager Alexis handed me a VR headset and let me play a National Geographic Oculus Quest  that transported me to Antarctica. The first thing you do, after you get transported, is hop into a boat. I felt like I was going to fall into the water. Then you start paddling. As you paddle you see all sorts of animals around you. Eventually, I reached the whales and I felt so afraid. The ability that forms of XR give you to feel emotions fascinates me. That ability is why I believe they are one of the most engaging forms of technology.

We have found a way to experience things we might not ever experience in real life, like standing next to a tiger in our kitchen. 

Google recently released a new augmented reality feature to its search function. To use it, all you have to do is grab a smartphone, type an animal in the search bar, click on “view in 3D”, aim your camera towards an open space in your house and wait for the animal to appear. Once it does you’ll be able to walk around the animal and view it, life-size, as if it were actually there in your house. Pretty cool right? The animal Google chose to promote this feature was the tiger, so that’s the one I tried first. It was awesome. 

Tigers are my favorite land animal (manatees are my favorite marine animal, but unfortunately Google didn’t give them an AR button) and being able to see one incredibly up close and in relation to the furniture in my house was awesome. I even made my dog stand next to it so I could take pictures of them together. 

The next animal I chose to see was a bear. The bear was huge. And… It moved and stood up on its two hind legs. Now, I know that the bear isn’t actually standing in front of me. And I know that it’s just a model of a bear. But I’m not going to lie, my stomach had some butterflies.  

Playing around with Google’s new feature reminded me of a project that the Lab worked on a few months ago called “TIME Immersive.”

This is an AR app that allows the user to see what the Amazon looks like after it’s been affected by climate change and deforestation. Similar to Google’s AR, to emerge yourself into the Amazon rainforest you open the app, select a scene, point your camera towards a clear flat surface and wait for the Amazon to appear. 

The app is fun to use because not only are you seeing the forest, but you also get to learn about it and interact with it. There are hotspots laid across each scene. When clicked on, an image or video hovers over the forest and Jane Goodall tells you about what you’re seeing. One of the last scenes in the Amazon experience tells the story of how the Karipuna tribe lost their land. For me, since more of my senses are evoked in a virtual experience, hearing the story in the app, while rather than reading it, allowed me to feel a stronger sense of empathy. 

As I mentioned earlier, there is emotion attached to each of these virtual experiences. So my question is, if a picture is worth 1000 words, how many words is virtual reality worth?

Ad Talk: Instagram Ads

Is it just me or does it feel like the majority of Instagram posts in your feed are some form of an ad and not of your elementary school friend’s ex-best friend who reunited with this other person in highschool who had a class with me and sent me a request? 

Don’t get me wrong I do love talking about ads, but just like cookies, even ads are best in moderation.  Realizing there wasn’t much I could about this content I decided to start paying a little bit extra attention to them, plus I think it’s important for anyone who wants to go into the industry to be aware of what’s happening in it. 

So, there’s a feature on Instagram that allows you to save posts and organize them into different categories. I’m sure you know what I’m going to say next. Yep!

I made a category called cool ads.

I mean why not? Might as well store some inspiration am I right ladies? 

One of the ads that caught my attention was for Billie Razors. Billie is a fairly new and trendy beauty brand. Similar to other new beauty brands it offers products with a sleek, aesthetic design and promotes the company’s simplicity. 

I thought this ad was interesting because of the visuals it presents. It was the first time I had ever seen a razor commercial that showed the razor going over actual hair and not just gliding over smooth bare skin. Another reason I like it is that it doesn’t focus on just the shaving of legs. They made the ad relatable. Showing girls shaving their underarms, toes, and even having the parts of the legs that are exposed through the rips in jeans. I found that part to be humorous and unexpected.

Another ad in my cool ads category is one for Hulu. A tv show and movie streaming service. This ad features football running back, Saquon Barkey, wearing a motion-capture suit.

 What captured my attention here was the script and the campaign itself, #hulusellouts. Essentially, the famous personalities who are in the ads of this campaign say that they are in the campaign for the money that Hulu is paying them. Weird? I thought so. In a way, I do like the campaign because all too often do consumers question the sincerity of celebrities promoting products or services and this campaign attacks that thought head-on. However, it doesn’t necessarily make me feel like those in these Hulu ads are sincere themselves. But, hey, it did make me stop, look, and talk about Hulu. 

A third Instagram ad that stood out to me was an ad for Keurig. A company that makes coffee machines.  

The ad was aesthetically pleasing. It was in a carousel format on Instagram. The ad showed the Keurig machine in a dorm room, an apartment, and at “your first real job.” As far as targeted advertising goes this one hit it spot on. As a coffee drinking college student about to graduate they showed me how that machine could fit into my life now and in the future. All while also showing the longevity and quality of the product. 

Overall, those were my top three Instagram cool ads so far. Keeping to my normal trend, they caught my attention because of the narrative they each demonstrated. We all know how highly I value the concept of storytelling ads.

Ad Talk: Poo~Pourri

A few weeks ago I wrote about my favorite ad campaign and then I assessed its creativity using a creativity assessment tool I learned about in class. That sounds really official, but it was just something I did for fun. I’m not an art director, I actually want to be a strategist, but I did enjoy sharing my opinions on Give Extra Get Extra by BBDO. Since writing that post I’ve thought to myself and said: “Hey why don’t you do more of that?”  

I mean, is there anything more fun than talking about advertising? I know my friends, Rob, Claire and Jacob, would say no. Whenever we’re together that takes up the majority of our conversations.  

With that being said, I wanted to start a new segment of my blog and it shall be called ad talk … at least for now. 

Just a quick disclaimer, I am not here to critique advertisements, I just want to share my opinions on what I like about them and why I like them. The ads  I plan on sharing will be the kinds of ads that inspire me to work in the industry. The ones that have meaning, the ones that appear authentic in my eyes, and the ones that are interesting or just plain funny. 

Like the ads from Poo~Pourri’s #GirlsDoPoop campaign. 

I first saw this ad in NMTIFAMP, a class taught by Gary Kayye. Initially, the brand had a campaign called Girls Don’t Poop. It makes sense, the company is selling a spray that masks, you know, the smell of poop. What better way to do it than sell the product to girls by promoting the products number one feature. (Wow Never thought I’d be writing that word so many times as a college senior)

Girls Don’t Poop was really funny.  However, it did perpetuate a stigma.

After that campaign, Poo~Pourri made a 180-degree turn and created Girls Do Poop. A series of three ads that attempted to break the stigma. And one of them, in particular, had me ROFL-ing. It’s called The Meet The Family Sh*t. Basically, it’s a woman sitting on a toilet telling the story about the time she… ruined her boyfriend’s mother’s sheets.

So why do I like this ad? 

First, I like it because it’s truly hilarious and captivating, both of which are common characteristics of memorable advertisements. Second, it’s shocking, especially after their initial campaign.

Girls Don’t Poop was logical and while it was still funny, the concept was almost predictable. As I mentioned earlier, it makes sense to talk about masking the smell of something that some girls find embarrassing. It’s a whole other playing field to flip the switch and normalize the embarrassing thing, all while trying to promote the product that masks it.

Third, I love storytelling ads. In my opinion, they are the most effective. They allow the brand to explain themselves and build a relationship with their audience.  

The Meet The Family Sh*t is one big, authentic, story. The product aligns perfectly with the message. 

Chick-Fil-A, probably can’t make an advertisement attempting to change the stigma around girls using the bathroom.

Poo~Pourrii on the other hand, can. If I had to choose a dimension that is used in the creative advertising assessment to assess this ad I would choose Originality.  It’s unique, it strays from stereotypes, and it is original.

Self-Quarantine: Week 1

A few days ago I, along with the rest of us students at UNC, received an email telling us that residence halls are officially closing and students should plan to move out ASAP. Coming to terms with the fact that my senior year will no longer be spent going to class on campus or participating in all the Carolina senior traditions has been tough. Some days are better than others but I’m not going to lie, occasionally I’ll think about it and get a bit teary-eyed. Similar to many Tar Heels, Carolina really had become my home away from home, I didn’t think they were serious when they said it during orientation 3 years ago. Sure it can get stressful and the classes are far from a “piece of cake” but I’ve learned so much, both about myself and academically. And I’ve had fun in the process. 

Now, I am officially moved out of UNC and preparing to start classes online. I am worried that I won’t be able to get the same experience since my classes are fairly hands-on, but I’m going to stay positive.

As some of you know, I work at the UNC Reese Innovation and Lab, and we have already begun working from home. My team has had two Zoom meetings so far and aside from barking dogs, meowing cats and little brothers watching tv in the next room, it’s been alright. 

I think the hardest part for all of us students will be making sure we stay focused and motivated. Based on my experience I am most productive working on campus or coffee shops around campus. I think that’s because I don’t usually go home unless the school is on a break of some sort. Let’s be honest, home is pretty distracting, especially under a self-quarantine when we can’t even escape to the local Starbucks or public library.

In order to combat this and prepare for a busier work week with classes and new projects at RIL, I’ve spent some of my free time planning and organizing next steps. I’d like to share a few things that I have done to make sure I stay on top of things during the rest of this unexpected, bitter-sweet, low-key scary, quarantined senior year.

  1. Clear up an area at home that can be used as a new workspace. I’m using the desk in my room. 
  2. Use a planner, or start a bullet journal (it’s also a fun quarantine pass-time). 
  3. WRITE THINGS DOWN!
  4. Get in touch with classmates that you have projects with and set up a game plan. 
  5. Get in touch with co-workers and plan how work will get done what home and what projects need priority. 
  6. Be mindful, yes you are at home and campus is #canceled, but school isn’t. 
  7. Take care of yourself, be respectful and empathetic.

Creativity Assessment- Extra Gum

One of my favorite ad campaigns is the “Give Extra, Get Extra” Extra Gum campaign by BBDO. If you are an agency that asks “what is your favorite ad campaign and why?” in your summer 2020 internship applications, I’ve likely written to you about Extra Gum already. I like this campaign because each ad tells an emotional story using a piece of the product, the wrapper,  in a unique way. My two favorite ads out of the series are “the story of Sara and Juan” and “Origami.” 

I’m currently in an ad campaign class. We learn how to create a full campaign from top to bottom. In the process, our professor gives us in-class creativity assignments. One of the assignments we do frequently is predicting the effectiveness of an advertisement using a creative assessment scoring sheet. We rate the ad from 1-7 in regards to originality, flexibility, elaboration, synthesis and artistic value. This assessment was created by Robert Smith, a communications researcher from Indiana University. We then decide what advertising approach we think was being used. While this is a very subjective method to assess anything, it is an interesting process that allows you to think deeply about the ad.

For today’s blog, I thought it would be interesting to assess one of the Give Extra Get Extra ads to see if it rates high under all the dimensions. The one I will assess is “Origami.” This ad shows the journey of a dad and his young daughter growing up. The two go through different milestones. At each milestone, the dad gives his daughter an origami crane made out of the silver Extra Gum wrapper. In the last scene, the dad is packing a car indicating that his daughter is moving away. During this process, he drops a shoebox, hundreds of paper cranes fall out, and he flashes back in a montage of memories with his daughter and the paper cranes. 

Now, I did give this ad pretty high scores, and hey maybe I’m biased or maybe the ad deserved it. I’m going to say it deserved the scores for the reasons I will explain below. 

First, originality. I find this ad to be original because every gum ad I have seen focuses on the physical product benefits: taste, longevity, providing you with a fresh breathe. This Extra Gum ad, doesn’t focus on the physical gum at all, but rather the emotion and meaning behind the gum. It uses Extra Gum’s slogan, “Give Extra Get Extra,” and personifies it through its emotional storytelling. 

Second, Flexibility. The way stories are told is by stringing events and characters together to tell an overarching message. In this case, the story of the father and daughter is seamlessly being told, therefore, of course, it moves from one subject to another. The overarching message, in my opinion, is that Extra Gum helps you make memories. 

Third, elaboration. Each interaction between the father and daughter is essentially documented. The simplicity of folding the wrapper into little cranes and then having them all come together, in the end, shows a plethora of detail. I think that the ad is able to include more detail than expected because of the unique storyline that is not common among brands of gum. 

I ranked the aspects of the fourth dimension, synthesis, fairly low compared to the other dimensions for this ad. I did so because while I do believe the add is unique and creative, the connections are not unusual. 

In class, we watched an Evian ad, that included dancing and singing babies. You could make the connection to youthfulness, but I personally did find the dancing and singing babies to be an “unusual” connection in regards to water. When I assessed that add I gave it high synthesis scores. “Origami”, to me, was not “unusual.” 

Lastly, artistic value. I found the ad to be visually appealing and captivating. My professor mentions that an ad is good if you can eliminate either the audio or the visual and still receive the message. There is no dialogue in this ad, however, the music and the visuals tell the story well. 

Score1234567
Originality
•   Is the ad “out of the ordinary”? 
      
•   Does it depart from stereotypical thinking?       
•   Is it unique?       
Flexibility
•   Does the ad contain ideas that move from one subject to another?
      
•   Does it shift from one idea to another?      
•   Does it contain different ideas?      
Elaboration
•   Does the ad contain numerous details? 
      
•   Does it extend basic ideas and make them more intricate?       
•   Does it contain more details than expected?        
Synthesis
•   Does the ad connect objects that are usually unrelated? 
      
•   Does it contain unusual connections?       
•   Does it bring unusual items together?       
Artistic Value
•   Is the ad visually or verbally distinctive?
      
 •   Does it make ideas come to life graphically or verbally?      
•   Is it artistic in its production?       

*this chart was taken from MEJO 673 class assignment*

My Dog, Buddy

My best friend was abandoned at 11 weeks old and was found walking along a railroad track in the middle of nowhere, North Carolina. He has golden brown, short fur, droopy cheeks, and chunky paws. It was love at first Facebook picture. His name is Buddy and he’s a rescue dog.  

I’m sure there are tons of people who are obsessed with their pets, but today I want to share why I am and why Buddy is so special to me.

One year before adopting Buddy, my Great Dane named Nikko, passed away. He was the perfect dog. Well behaved, cute, silly, protective, smart. I could see it in his eyes that he loved us. I loved Nikko very much, but we adopted him when I was very young. I was excited but I don’t think I was mature enough yet to appreciate a dog as a pet. I took him for granted because he was always there. Until he wasn’t. 

Nikko

 When Nikko became really sick he was talking about ten pills a day, I still have the alarms for each prednisone in my phone. His mind was healthy and alert. But unfortunately, his body was not. One day, he collapsed on the floor and couldn’t get back up. That’s when my parents decided it was time. After his death, I told myself and my parents that I never wanted another dog again because the loss hurt so much. Nikko’s death was the first death I ever experienced so close to me. 

My family and I constantly thought about Nikko.“Nikko would’ve loved being at the park with us right now.” “Remember when Nikko would stand on our feet.” “Remember when Nikko would try to sit on us like a lap dog.”

I still miss him and wish I could play with him one more time.

One year after Nikko passed away, my dad and brother slowly started to mention adopting another dog. My mom and I were skeptical. I was really sad after losing Nikko because I felt like he deserved more even though in my heart I know we took the best care of him. After a bit, my mom and I started to warm up to the idea of adopting again. She began looking for puppies online and she found this little brown dog with big paws, droopy lips and floppy ears. He was adorable.

My dad, brother, my three cousins and I took a trip to the rescue shelter he was in. I noticed him outside behind a gate as soon as we pulled into the driveway. “That’s him!” I said to my dad. We got out of the car and my cousins and brother ran off to the new litter of puppies that were in an area off to the side. I went straight toward the little 14-week old puppy.

He came up to me and my dad and was super excited with his tail wagging so hard his body was shaking. He had a cut where his head met his neck. The woman who ran the rescue shelter said he got that from trying to escape from his cage a couple of days before. My cousins and brother then ran over to see who I was playing with and the little dog was even more excited. Then the dog got bored and probably hot and walked back into his dog house. I Could not leave without him….. but dad said we had to. So we went home and I told my mom “Look I know we said we didn’t want to get another Dog after Nikko, but this one is soooooooo cute you have no idea.”

She was still skeptical, even though she technically picked him out herself online. Finally, after a ton of begging, she caved. On July fourth we went back to the rescue shelter picked him up and named him Buddy. I told my self that I would give this puppy all the love and attention I could and I’d do it for both him and Nikko. 

Buddy is a handful who has brought happiness into our lives, as most dogs do. I’m glad that we made the decision to get another dog because even though loss hurts, I’m grateful for the time we do get to spend with our pets.

Do You See an Outlet?

Carolina has taught me that there is yet another stress-inducing activity that a student has the opportunity to experience. Can you guess what it is? It is indirectly related to exams, essays, grades, deadlines, etc. If you’ve guessed “finding a place to sit on campus” you are correct! 

You know the drill, you have to get in the right headspace to start an assignment. Maybe you need a change of scenery, dead silence or some background noise? So you get out of your room to go on the hunt for a place to sit. More often than not you find yourself racing a stranger to an empty table near a coveted outlet, only to lose, sigh, turn around with what dignity you have left and search for another stranger to race.

After going through this process… way too many times… I like to think that I have figured out the key to success. Rather, I have figured out a few places to go and the best times to go to them. So today, I’m going to share my favorite indoor on-campus and off-campus places to go with you. 

On-Campus 

  • Davis Library
    • If you are looking for a first-floor experience that is quiet with some small chatter, I suggest heading to Davis Library on a Friday or a Saturday morning. I always find it to be fairly empty on those days with high chances of finding a seat near an outlet. I would not recommend Davis Library during midterm/finals season or during a weekday. It is usually full to the brim and exudes anxiety. 
  • Park Library 
    • Media and Journalism majors, this one will mostly appeal to you. Park Library is Carroll Hall’s little library located on the second floor. It’s small but I always find a seat in there and all of the tables have multiple outlets. It’s not dead silent unless you go on Friday. But be aware that you will get kicked out at 4:30 pm on Fridays and 6:00 pm on weekdays. 
  • Student Stores 
    • I personally like the second floor of Student Stores, the area by the caffè, when I’m working on something that isn’t too intensive.  I would not go here during a weekend game day. There are waaaaaaaaay too many people then.  
  • Empty classroom in Murphey Hall 
    • One of the most difficult times to find a place to sit on campus is during finals week.It seems as though every nook and cranny of the entire campus is stuffed with a million students. If its finals week and you are one of those people who can’t find a spot, I recommend heading to Murphey Hall, located on the main quad of campus, and sitting in an empty classroom. The classrooms are fairly new, they have a computer, chalkboards, and are surprisingly empty most of the time. Murphey is a good place to go if you want to study with a group of people in a quiet and private place. 
  • Port City Java 
    • As someone who has lived on south campus for all four years, Port City Java is my place to go. The music is good, the #vibes are good and the ice…. they have the good ice, you know, the Chick-Fil-A ice. I like Port City Java because, for a coffee shop, it’s fairly quiet and it’s conveniently located for those days you want to get out of your room but you don’t want to be too far away from it. I recommend PCJ on rainy days. (It’s inside Chase Dining Hall). 

Off-Campus

  • Open Eye Café
    • Unless you wake up at the crack of dawn, or maybe you camp outside all night to be the first one in the door, you will not find a seat in Open Eye on the weekend. However, it’s a good place to go on a weekday after class. Open Eye Café is a coffee shop in Carborro, Chapel Hill. When I go to Open Eye Café I sit there for hours and I’m able to get A LOT of work done. It can get loud, but the music they play helps me get into my own thoughts and be productive. I highly recommend this place. And if you want a drink rec., I would either go for a hazelnut latte with half the syrup or an iced matcha latte if you arent feeling coffee but want some caffeine. 
  • Panera in DurhamIf you have access to transportation, I recommend driving to Panera in Durham to get work done on Sundays. The wifi is fast, certain tables are near outlets and you can get lunch. It also removes you a little bit more from the college student crowd which can be refreshing at times. This is a recent discovery of mine and will likely become a Sunday regular for the time being.

Central Campus Map 

Billie Eilish’s Brother’s Girlfriend Inspired Me.

For someone who loves having notebooks, planners, and making lists, It’s hard for me to admit that finding a way to keep my “to-do’s” in one central location has been a challenge. I’ve tried sticky notes, both virtual and physical, writing in a planner, using the notes app on my phone, but nothing has stuck… until a week ago after I watched a YouTube video. 

I was watching a Claudia Sulweski video, a YouTuber I’ve followed for as long as I can remember. Her latest upload was a home update vlog. In it, she talked about painting her home, her latest projects, and her bullet journal. Immediately after the video, I searched for the blank graph paper notebook I received as a souvenir after visiting a New York ad agency,  pulled out my pencils, pens and highlighters and began crafting my very own bullet journal (Don’t get me wrong Claudia has mentioned bullet journaling before, but for some reason this particular layout she had resonated with me). 

 So far, it’s been perfect. 

I found that the reason I couldn’t stick to a method before this one was that they didn’t fit my needs. Sticky notes weren’t versatile enough, planners had premade layouts with sections I didn’t need, and my phone wasn’t something I could use in any setting without seeming rude. 

Bullet journals offer the benefit of customization. 

Right now, my journal mirrors Claudia’s except I’ve added a “notes” block at the bottom of each page. I use the notes section to jot down, ideas for blogs, random grocery items, or other reminders I think of throughout the day.

Not only has bullet journaling made me more organized, but it’s  also helped my time management. All my main tasks are laid out by the hour, which makes it easier for me to know when I should stop working on one thing and move on to the next.

 If you are like me,  have a busy schedule and want to be productive all day, I definitely recommend bullet journaling (its also a fun craft project). 

If you’re not sure where to start, I will provide a simple supplies list below based on products I would purchase for myself. All of the items are from Amazon.