By Chris Tenant-Flowers.
Ok, so I’ve been here In Raleigh North Carolina for about two weeks now so here are some of my first impressions:
I think the most obvious thing for me to mention is the whole school spirit thing. I was told to expect this but it has still caught me off guard. People love their school and take great pride in going there and it is no different here at NC State. I’m not saying we in Manchester or England generally don’t take pride in our universities but not like here. You may see the odd UoM hoodie in Manchester but here genuinely one in every 6 or so people is almost certainly wearing bright red blazoned with NCSU, Go Pack!, Wolfpack, NC State, anti University of North Carolina (UNC) sentiments or some other school related message. And it’s not just clothing, School sports are a BIG deal here. I was expecting this but just in case others weren’t aware of this I thought I’d share it. literally thousands will turn up to every football, basketball, baseball, etc. game to cheer on the team…and for the tailgating which I will explain later once I have experienced it first hand. There are also wolf statues on campus. everything that can be named something Wolfpack related or coloured bright red is. people long since graduated from the university or parents of those here have NCSU stickers on their cars and wear their t-shirts. shops like Target and Walmart also sell NCSU clothing. Basically you know you are in NC State territory wherever you go.
The weather has to be mentioned as another major change. there is sun and lots of it but we do get that in England…occasionally. it’s the humidity that really makes it seem so different. just the fact that it is so humid here really does make it seem very different. There may appear to be so much that is similar to England but every time you step outside you are reminded that this is not definitely not England.
Then there are also the facilities for students. the dining halls here are not like in the UK. they are all you can eat and are open continuously from the morning until the evening, not just set hours when food is served like in catered halls. The gym or rather whole sports complex is completely free to use, including things like rock climbing walls, swimming pools, sports fields and equipment rental. as well as this there are just quite a few cool things on campus. as well as the aforementioned statues, there’s the ‘free expression tunnel’ where anyone can come and spray paint leading to some pretty awesome and ever-changing pictures and a random but fun set of Acoustic Mirrors (thanks Wikipedia).
Finally room-mates, I thought this would be kind of weird but it isn’t and most people seem to get on really well with theirs. I think I still prefer the setup I had in oak House in my first year at Manchester but it isn’t as awful as I had imagined it might be.
Anyway, i shall wrap this up here as it’s getting quite long but hopefully I’ll be able to update you all soon on life in North Carolina. Chris
p.s sorry for the lack of pictures, my camera has vanished so I’m going to go and buy a new one later today