I still remember what it felt like August of my freshman year. Even though I'd always lived in the Raleigh area, neither of my parents had connections to the colleges here and so I did not grow up going to football or basketball games. We had been to Duke University's gardens before, but I never visited NC State's campus until I decided to accept my offer of admission.
So my first few months on NC State's campus meant lots of exploring. NC State has a large campus that is ever-evolving and blends right into the city-scape. But for students who are starting at NC State this fall, we still don't know what it's going to be like. Some are taking a year or semester off. And while the tentative plan is to re-open campus in the fall, we don't know what events and traditions will take place or if everyone will end up switching to online classes again.
What I can say is that no matter whether you are distance-ed or on-campus, NC State is an amazing school. Even though it's the largest university in North Carolina, you still feel part of one big family. One that bleeds red. Incoming class, you have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.
1. Studying at the Hunt and D.H. Hill Libraries
There are two major libraries on campus: DH Hill on Hillsborough Street and Hunt Library on Centennial campus. DH Hill has been around since the 1970s and is eleven stories tall. I think everyone has a weird story about DH Hill... I've definitely seen some shit there. Hunt Library opened in 2013 and has a beautiful rooftop area for studying. It's architectural design is interesting and there is a lot of cool technology in the library.
2. Singing the fight song at a football game
Oh, Carter-Finley. So many amazing fall memories of tailgating near the State Fairgrounds, sitting in the student section decked out in red and white, and learning the chants and songs.
3. The Brickyard
One of the most central and well-known spots on campus, the Brickyard is where a lot of the magic happens. I've been on the brickyard with hundreds of other people. It's where the campus haunts, like the notorious preachers, hang out, and it's also where a bear was found in 2014. The yearly Shack-A-Thon is held here, as well as various events and pop-up shops throughout the year (book exchange, Farmer's Market, Ag Awareness Week).
4. Rushing the Bell Tower after a win
My freshman year, one of my best friends lived in North Hall, and I went over there to watch the away football game. After NC State won, we ran across the street with other students to "rush" the bell tower, which lights up red after a win.
5. Relax and recreate in the Court of Carolinas
When the weather is nice, the Court of Carolinas is one of the busiest places on campus. There's always students studying or relaxing between classes, sipping on a coffee from Port City Java, or playing a pick-up game with friends. It's also one of the iconic locations on campus for graduation photos.
6. Filling up on Howling Cow ice-cream during a late-night study sesh
For many North Carolinians, the State Fair in October is a chance to get their hands on a scoop of Howling Cow. For NC State students, we know that we can grab some Howling Cow at anytime.
*some Harris Teeters are now carrying it so if you can't be on campus, check out your local grocer.
7. The art of walking on the bricks
Bricks are a staple at NC State, but find me a student who hasn't busted their butt at least once during their college career. Tripping on loose bricks, stepping in a spot where a brick is missing, or making your way to class on a rainy day are all part of the hazards of campus life.
8. The Free Expression Tunnel
There are several tunnels on NC State's large campus, but the Free Expression Tunnel is the most iconic and has been part of campus for over 50 years. No matter whether you paint it yourself or merely look, it makes your daily walk to class ever-changing and visually interesting.
9. Waiting in the drive-thru at Cookout at night or Bojangles on game day
Two of the most popular, iconic North Carolina restaurants are both on Western Boulevard. Just try getting a Cookout tray on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. Or a Bojangles tailgate pack on the morning of game day. At least at Cookout there's plenty of *drunk* people-watching to entertain you.
10. Having a million red shirts from free campus events
There are always free t-shirts. Many of the campus events, like Wolf Pack Welcome Week and PackaPalooza are opportunities to stock up on the spirit wear that are perfect when you haven't done your laundry yet and are running late to class.