Welcome home

Welcome home

Welcome home, Heels.

It’s that time of year again: Classes are starting, football is right around the corner and Tar Heel pride is heavy in the air.

Last week, my brother went out golfing at the lovely Pinehurst No. 9 with his 2-year-old daughter. After a rough start through the first several holes, he finally hit even. The scorekeeper called out for his tally.

“Par!” my brother emphatically yelled back across the green. “Heels!” his daughter naturally screamed in response.

From our nieces to our classmates, Tar Heel pride is contagious.

As Will Bryant beautifully noted a few weeks ago, this community — this family — is different. We have a fervor for Chapel Hill about which other schools fume. We always wear our blue, talk about our basketball and know our water from the Old Well is our GPA’s saving grace.

Yes, even as a senior, I waited in line at midnight to get a sip of that healing water.

Sure, somethings will change this year. We won’t stick up three fingers during punt returns when Ryan Switzer is fielding, and we’ll miss seeing a Justin Jackson three-pointer swish through the Smith Center hoop. But the greatest university in the world carries on.

Yes, as always, it’s a great day to be a Tar Heel.

Find the floor of Davis best suited for your study habits, figure out which Pit Preachers you should avoid and explore what Franklin Street has in store for you.

Eat cereal every night at Rams and find true Tar Heel love in your weekly recitation (but, for the love of God, stay away from the kissing bench). Brag about Roy Williams and the national championship, and put your faith in Larry Fedora to bring home another.

Get lost in Phillips before whatever class awaits you, stand in line for a free T-shirt and watch the UNC Drumline perform in The Pit before football games.

First-years: Welcome to the southern part of Heaven. Y’all are in for a wild ride. Try not to hate the walk from South Campus too much — someday you’ll wish you still had to make it. I know it’s only day one of the semester, but ask anyone who's been here before: it flies by.

Sophomores: Don’t be in any rush and keep exploring all this place has to offer. Figure out which restaurants are worthy to be your favorites, and never pass up an opportunity to spend a night in the Smith Center.

Juniors: Stop growing up. Call your parents. Just hold on and try not to think too much about next year.

Seniors: Finally take your professor up on office hours at He’s Not. Carolina blue skies are here and they’ll be wherever we go. Reminisce and hit me up for a good cry.

James Taylor, Chase Rice and Mipso aren’t the only ones who know it: Chapel Hill is special. Grab hold of this place and never stop dancing with it.

Happy FDOC, Tar Heels.  If you need me, I’ll be soaking it in.

@brycelessgem