Seven years after graduation, some people still ask me do I root for N.C. State or UNC when they play each other. If you’re new here, I was raised as a UNC fan but proudly call N.C. State my alma mater. The sports landscape in North Carolina dictates these two universities as fierce rivals, being separated by a half-hour trip on the highway.
A unique situation is happening this weekend, in that the men’s and women’s basketball teams for both universities are playing against each other. For some reason today, I pondered about all the times I’ve been asked the question. Several years ago, I maintained neutrality while naturally leaning to the direction of the school I attended and eventually earned a degree from. Now I can confidently say without hesitation – GO PACK!
I was raised a UNC fan as my maternal grandmother graduated from the university with a nursing degree. My mother was a fan of the Heels as well and they both raised me to be a fan too. It was either that or I choose to go along with my paternal grandparents and be a Duke fan. How ’bout no?!? Being raised a UNC fan, I attended sporting events, wore shirts in full baby blue color. Even got an autograph from former Tar Heel, Shammond Williams, at a local restaurant once.
As it came time to think about life after high school, I had a goal to attend UNC. I applied there to pursue journalism while also applying at Elon and N.C. State. UNC was the first school I applied to, and it was also the first – and only one – to deny my admission. Despite me having excellent grades, a good amount of extracurriculars, and being a legacy applicant. I was heartbroken, devastated. My mother and grandmother were, too. I remember even calling the UNC admissions office to voice my displeasure about what happened – in a cordial manner, of course. I also took this very blog to jot down my thoughts soon after.
On the flip side, the admissions process for N.C. State was seamless. I was accepted into the Sport Management program at the university. I made lifelong memories and friends, there. Heck, I probably wouldn’t have followed the career path I’m on now had it not been for N.C. State. I recall fun times with the dorm mates, late night runs to grab Howling Cow Ice Cream, attending football games and tailgating beforehand. The unique opportunities I had in various classes, both inside and outside the classroom. Even now, as an alumnus for seven years, I visit State quite often for sporting events or just to take a drive through campus.
Rivalries are often accompanied by a certain hate for your opponent. I’ve seen some UNC fans voice their hate for State teams and fans (I being roped into that just by association, apparently) on social media and some Wolfpack fans reciprocating it. I don’t hate UNC or its fans. However, I will say I wouldn’t trade anything for my time in Raleigh. Especially now. In fact, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t even waste my time applying to UNC. Some may say “oh, it’s sour grapes or you’re jealous.” It’s not that at all, trust me. I’m happy about my choice for undergrad. I’m happy about my career path.
I’m proud and happy to be an alumnus of N.C. State University🤘🏻🐺