Archive for April, 2009

Overheard in the Pit

Boy 1: “Oh, kiss me/ Beneath the milky twilight”… What are the rest of the lyrics?
Boy 2: “Lead me out on the moonlit floor/ Lift your open hand/ Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance…”
Both together: “Silver moons sparkling/ So kiss me..”

Girl: So how was SpringFest?
Boy: About as fun as my grandmother’s 81st birthday.

Girl 1: What are your plans for summer?
Boy: I’m not really sure yet. I feel inadequate next to this one, who’s going to Washington D.C. to work at the White House.
Girl 2: Well, my internship isn’t paid for.
Boy: Wait, you’re working at the White House and they’re not going to pay you?
Girl 2: I know, right? It’s like, ‘Thanks, Obama. I thought you were my homeboy.’

Boy: My allergies are so bad right now. I am taking like five of these pills a day.
Girl: You’re taking five of those a day? Wow, they’re so big.
Boy: That’s what she said.

Mod Revival

Meagan RaceyMeagan Racey

Sincerest Apologies, Mr. Tancredo

Walking through the Pit on any given day, it is highly probable you will be overwhelmed with the number of student groups with signs or members advocating for events or sharing their beliefs and speakers who are coming to campus. This is one of the beauties of UNC. Everyone has the chance to offer their opinions from any side, both in the classroom and out. And it is also very probable you will not like some opinions. I have heard things I don’t like. We all have. But that doesn’t mean that side shouldn’t still be allowed to offer their points of view.

This is why so many people were disappointed with what happened the evening of Tuesday, April 14, when former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo had to stop his speech early because the protesters were getting out of hand and UNC police felt they had to take action. The situation was so serious that Chancellor Thorp felt he had to send out an e-mail to the student body, expressing the same ideas that many students were already thinking.

He ended the e-mail with “Carolina’s tradition of free speech is a fundamental part of what has made this place special for more than 200 years. Let’s recommit ourselves to that ideal.” Many students are feeling a bit ashamed of what happened, as only a small number of students actually took action and became too threatening. Even protesters spoke out against what happened, and many only went to protest peacefully and actually wanted to let him speak so that they could debate his point of view with him. Yet this smaller group of people that weren’t allowing a simple peaceful protest has made UNC look as if we don’t allow any opposing viewpoints on campus. Which is not true, as I know many of my fellow Tar Heels to be open and accepting to diversity.

So just like the Chancellor said and many students supported in an event in the Pit on Thursday that advocated free speech, let’s show each other and people outside the community that we do, in fact, allow people the chance to speak their minds. Because inhibiting those opinions can only hurt us and make us see things in a one-sided way. And no one would want their opportunity taken away; rather, they should put themselves in the other person’s shoes and think about how they would feel if someone was forcing them into silence.

By Brecken Branstrator

Ode to attendance

Dear Professor,

I would like to express my thanks, sincerely, for the amount of excess time and effort you put into accounting for my presence and absence in your lecture this spring semester. I heartily assure you that without such precision, such outlandish dedication, my commitment to your class may have teetered dangerously on the edge of nonexistence. I am, after all, not a mature adult capable of monitoring my own education. After twelve years ascending the latter of the United States school system, I have not, as of yet, figured out my capabilities, my strengths and weaknesses, when it amounts to getting the most I can out of class. And that not even mentioning what I must do to get my desired grade. After all, if I can learn more from studying the textbook in the library than attending your lecture, what justification do I have of not attending class? What do I know – me, with my slight experience of life as a whole – about what is better for me in terms of my own personal acquiring of knowledge? Clearly if I can get an A on the exam not having been to a single lecture that proves nothing, because I have not been graced by your superior presence, your dazzling intellect and ability to read to me word for word that which you have written on the power point slides, currently posted on Black Board for my full and convenient access.

No, Professor. If I did not have you grading me purely on my ability to be in class for three hours a week, I may have fallen into the depths of the possibly more successful self-learning, into the pit of personal responsibility. I might have recognized my own limitations. I might have even discovered I enjoyed attending your lecture out of the pure desire to be present rather than the need.

So thank you. Thank you, Professor, for turning a class I had the utmost interest in into a chore to attend. Thank you for quantifying my presence in a room with a number, with a percent. Thank you for curbing my drive to teach myself on my own time and replacing it with the desire to drowse to the monotone.

The appreciation is indescribable. I will cherish it, for a second, before it drifts into the oblivion where I stored my other memories of your lectures.


Your Beloved Student

A Delicious Step Back in Time

It’s about a 20-minute drive from campus and nestled in Pittsboro’s small downtown, but if you have the time, it’s well worth the visit. S&T Soda Shoppe is a small, family-owned diner that has incredible food at a very reasonable price.

When I went there, I got a barbecue plate that included a sandwich and fries for only slightly more than five dollars. And for dessert, they have a wide range of ice cream flavors and desserts on the menu. My friends and I could not resist ordering a dessert that had a brownie underneath what seemed to be a mountain-size scoop of ice cream. I attempted to eat the entire thing by myself, and later regretted it as I had to be nearly rolled out of the restaurant. So if you get this, I definitely recommend sharing it with a friend.

The 1950s-inspired décor on the inside is fun and realistic. The tables that the customers sit at are surrounded by real belongings and artifacts from the pharmacy that used to exist in the restaurant’s current location, as well as random antiques collected and given over the years.

But the best part of the restaurant is the friendly service. Everyone that works there or eats there treats you like one of the neighbors. It’s an atmosphere that only a family-owned restaurant can have. My friends and I have never waited more than 15 minutes for our food once we order.

On your way out, pick up one of the T-shirts they offer to show your support for this adorable mom-and-pop restaurant. Then take a stroll to wear off that huge brownie sundae. Explore downtown Pittsboro and the surrounding shops. Just across the street from S&T Soda Shoppe, there are two antique stores you can browse through.

The store doesn’t have a Web site, so here’s the address so you can mapquest directions: 85 Hillsboro St, Pittsboro, NC 27312. Or call them and get directions straight from an employee at (919) 545-0007.

By Brecken Branstrator

Pit Convos

Pit Preacher: UNC is a University of Nasty Cheerleaders!

girl (to two boys) : Well, Lea and I are going to hell, so we’ll see you there, right?

Pit Preacher: Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  There is no “get out of hell free” card.

Boy: I have one.

Pit Preacher (After looking at it): I bet you carry that one around for the college preachers.  Do you smoke marijuana?  You are a sorcerer.  Harry Potter is a sorcerer.

Another boy: The Gospel according to Harry Potter.  (laughs) I’m out.

Mary Catherine Penn

The original, color version of this is somewhere in the depths of Carroll, and to get the full effect of the red dress and black boots, the color is imperative. I’ll find it, along with some of the other shots – basically, girl has presence. Almost all of the shots I took of her turned out great.

For Tar Heels, Born and Raised

Recently, one member of the Board of Trustees suggested that to raise revenue coming in to the University, 300 more out-of-state students should be admitted every year. Because tuition for them is considerably higher than that paid by in-state students, it would have brought in a lot more money.

Yet, I don’t think this is an appropriate solution for the University. I think there is probably a better way to bring in revenue to the university without raising the number of out-of-state students to 25% of the total amount of students at a public state university. Of course out-of-sate students help our academics considerably and we realize their value in being here. Because there is so much competition and the standards for them to get in seem higher, they often bring up our overall GPA and other factors.

But as a person raised in North Carolina and whose parents have paid taxes that contribute to the school’s funding, it seems like an unfair idea to bring in more out-of-staters simply because they will bring in money. The state has capped the number of out-of-state students at 18% for a reason-so that UNC will benefit people from the state. If the idea previously stated had been considered, which it no longer will be, the cap would have been raised to 25%. If the state did see fit to raise the cap itself, then it would definitely be a feasible idea to increase the amount of out-of-state students and thereby increase the amount of money coming into the school.

I think that if the trustees and university administration put more thought into ways of bringing in more revenue, they could come up with more ideas to benefit the school. The state of the economy has made it very hard to continue to bring in money, but new ideas must be searched for, for methods that will ensure this university continues to benefit people living in its state.

By Brecken Branstrator

Let Freedom Ring

The time approaches – classes wind down to final exams, the sun warms up to a satisfactory summery degree and job searches hit crunch time. While most students are just looking for that spectacular internship to build a resume or a solid job to save money, those seniors who haven’t landed the perfect full-time employment opportunity right out of college are scrambling to find something, anything, to fill the void left by a lack of schooling.

A senior myself, I’ve definitely felt the pressure. Home for Thanksgiving break: So what are you doing next year, Erin? Heaving the suitcase through the door for Christmas: Have you heard back from anyone about jobs yet, Erin? Calling home from Washington D.C. over Spring break: Do you know where you’re going to be next year, Erin? Parents and relatives are constantly pushing the question about jobs after school, and rightly so, because they worry and they care.

But the hard truth is, most seniors don’t land that perfect dream job immediately post-graduation. In fact, according to the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers plan to cut their new college graduate hires by 22 percent as compared to those in 2008. And according to NACE’s 2009 Experiential Education Survey, the number of interns hired this year will decrease by 21 percent and co-op hiring by 11.

But this isn’t necessarily the end of the world for graduating seniors looking to enter the work force. As I’ve told my parents and aunts and uncles many times over, the first year or two post-college doesn’t have to be the time to jump right into the career path I’ll choose for most of the rest of my life. In fact, I’d prefer it not to be. It’s the perfect time to explore the outside world as it really is – not protected by the bubble of education. Graduates should feel freer to expand their horizons, to take that trip abroad or try a six-month internship in a slightly related field. Why not? More than likely you won’t have the opportunity again to take half a year off a job and travel the country. More than likely you won’t have the freedom or flexibility to just pick up and go. Besides, valuable life experience can give you a leg up in the professional world, and the employment record of college graduates isn’t exactly swinging in your favor.

By Erin Wiltgen