NC State or UNC?

What It Is Like Living A Life Divided

Go Pack....or Go Heels?

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Ever since I was a little girl sitting with my mom and my grandparents in late November sitting inside the Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill - I've been a die-hard UNC fan.

My parents are divided. Having a mom who went to UNC and a dad who went to NCSU has been difficult, especially being their only child. Whichever team I chose to cheer on meant I was more inclined to like the other parent (in a joking way).

While I didn't hate NCSU - I went to as many UNC football and basketball games as possible and never dreamed of a day when I'd yell with passion "Go to Hell Carolina!".

But here I am, living my freshman year of college in Wolfpack country (Raleigh, NC) - not a Carolina fan in sight.

I have experienced so many great memories while being a Carolina fan.

The November tradition with my entire family in attendance to a Carolina football game, or attending late Wednesday basketball games with my mom, or rushing the court of the Dean Dome after the 2017 National Champions, or rushing Franklin Street to jump over bonfires after an epic win against Duke.... those memories can never be replaced. I even dressed up in my XL Carolina sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers and held up the "day after the National Championship" newspaper for my senior year Throwback Thursday (representing myself at 3 am on April 3, 2017.)

In January of 2018, I made the decision to attend NCSU for my university of choice and at the UNC/NCSU basketball game where NCSU beat UNC, I felt a change of heart.

Do I start cheering on the team that has accepted me? Or do I continue to cheer on the team that I have since I was born?

It didn't take long for me to start attending NCSU football games and proudly saying "Go to Hell Carolina!" (to the disappointment of my mom).

I easily switched over to bleeding wolfpack red and started arguing with UNC students over who was the better school.

Then I got the opportunity to visit some of my closest friends at Carolina in February of 2019 for the UNC/Duke game. We decided to eat at Supdogs ( a top favorite restaurant of mine) and cheered on my ex-favorite team that ended up beating Duke and allowing us to rush Franklin Street at midnight. (Big shoutout to Obama and Zion Williamson's broken shoe.)

Being in the crowd of Carolina fans (I wearing one of my friends Carolina shirts) and remembering the amazing feeling of an epic win was nostalgic but also strange. I wish I could explain what it really felt like. It wasn't the same rush, most likely because my heart now lived elsewhere but it was a good feeling since I would do anything to relive some of my greatest moments.

Of course, it wasn't fun watching my NCSU friends call me a traitor and yell at me with lots of bad words through the phone, but I had a clear argument against what they said.

While I love NCSU and I will pull for them when they are playing against UNC, or when they are battling a twitter war with Barstool UNC or when they are fighting against a "class skipping" group of students - the rivalry is kind of one-sided.

UNC and Duke have been known rivals for a long time. Yes NCSU is a rival as well, but the battle of the blues is on t-shirts at both universities and results in bonfires and couch burning once the game is finished. I don't believe that UNC rushed their home street after beating us twice in a row. Sure Twitter blew up but that's not the main point. For NCSU, beating either team (UNC or Duke) is what is more important because our team (in basketball) tends to be the underdog and is very impressive when we rise to the competition.

I prefer NCSU, I won't lie.

The student life, university, style, and overall as a whole is better. There is no argument there. We have Wolfpack pride and are not stuck up like the other universities.

Screaming "Go to Hell Carolina!" is perfectly fine, but our rivalry doesn't just exist with UNC, it exists with every other school in North Carolina. If we can rise with Kevin Keatts - then we could end up being the best basketball team out there in a few years and all the other school will count us in as our rival.

And in the meantime, we can continue to hate UNC, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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The First Time My Mistakes No Longer Controlled My Life

Mistakes suck, and though I've conquered a few, I'm still learning.

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The whistle blows as the team cheers on.

My heart pounds as if it will burst out of my chest at any given moment and I taste the salty sweat trickling down my face. I must serve over the net, I must get it in, I must ace my opponent or I will fail. Fear.

In his first inaugural speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously stated, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Such a statement proves powerful to the matured minds of society; however, in the minds of some adolescents, this declaration appears somewhat foolish, as numerous "threats" ignite fear, thus causing teens to grow anxious.

A major cause for fear in the rising generation takes form in failure. In the eyes of these people, making a simple mistake paves the way towards absolute failure; therefore, perfectionists constantly walk on eggshells attempting to do the impossible: avoid human error. This mentality gives way to constant stress and overall disappointment, as perfection does not apply to human beings. If one can come to the realization that not one person can attain perfection, they can choose to live life in ease, for they no longer have to apply constant pressure upon themselves to master excellence. The fear of failure will no longer encumber their existence, and they can overcome situations that initially brought great anxiety. I too once put great pressure on myself to maintain perfection, and as a result, felt constantly burdened by my mistakes. However, when I realized the inevitability of those mistakes, it opened the door for great opportunities. The first time I recognized that failure serves as a tool for growth allowed me to no longer fear my mistakes, and instead utilize them for my own personal growth.

The whistle blows as the team cheers on. My heart pounds as if it will burst out of my chest at any given moment, and I taste the salty sweat trickling down my face. I must serve over the net, I must get it in, I must ace my opponent. As hard as I try, I fail; as the ball flies straight into the net and thuds obnoxiously onto the gym floor, so does my confidence. I feel utter defeat, as I know my fate. My eyes water as my coach immediately pulls me from the game, sits me on the bench, and tells me to "get my head into the game" instead of dwindling on past errors. From then on I rarely step foot on the court, and instead, ride the bench for the remainder of the season. I feel defeated. However, life does not end, and much to my surprise, this mistake does not cause failure in every aspect of my life. Over time, I gradually realize that life does not end just because of failure. Instead, mistakes and failure pave the way toward emotional development and allows one to build character. In recognizing that simple slip-ups do not lead to utter failure, I gain perspective: one's single mistake does not cause their final downfall. Thus, this epiphany allowed for my mental growth and led me to overcome once challenging obstacles.

Instead of viewing mistakes as burdens, one should utilize them as motivation for future endeavors. The lesson proves simple: all can learn from their mistakes. However, it is a matter of choosing to learn from these mistakes that decide one's future growth. Instead of pushing faults away, I now acknowledge them in order to progress. Before coming to such a realization, I constantly "played it safe" in sports, fearing that giving my best effort would lead to greater error. I did not try, and as a result, I rarely failed.

Although such a mentality brought forth limited loss in terms of overall team success, it also brought forth limited, individual success. Today, fear of failure no longer controls life on the court. I use my mistakes as motivation to get better; instead of dwindling on an error made five minutes prior, I focus on the form needed to correct it. As a result, skills will constantly improve, instead of regress. Thus, errors serve as blessings, as it is through these errors in which one can possess the motivation to better themselves.

For some, fear acts as an ever-present force that controls every aspect of life. In particular, the fear of failure encumbers perfectionists, as the mere thought of failing causes great anxieties. In the past, I have fell victim to the fear of committing a mistake, and as a result, could not go through life without feeling an overwhelming sense of defeat. However, in a moment of what appeared to be a great failure, I finally recognized that life does not end due to one mistake, let alone one million. Instead, mistakes pave the way toward personal development and provide essential motivation to succeed in everyday life. Without mistakes, it proves difficult to grow in character. One must first learn to accept their faults before they can appreciate their best qualities. Thus, the fear of failure inhibits the growth of an individual; therefore, all must come to the realization that essentialness of mistakes, as they allow for the further development of overall character.

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