an aside for new arrivals
By Amanda Hickey
When I first arrived at UNCP in August 2004, I was anything but happy. I had this vision of what a college town would be like, and Pembroke was anything but.
Now, I’m not real big on partying but I pictured a town with restaurants and bars, clubs and pubs.
I figured, at the very least, there would be at least a few (and by a few I mean five minimum) clubs near campus.
Instead, I was greeted by a small town that, for the most part, was quiet. There weren’t bars, pubs or clubs.
There weren’t any big name restaurants that would serve a drink while you enjoyed a meal. The food options were few, to be kind.
Maybe this vision I had of college was based on too many episodes of “Saved by the Bell” and “Beverly Hills 90210,” but it was there. I was certain that life would change once I lived on campus.
My college life, it seemed, would be much different from that of everyone I went to high school with. Everyone else would be having the college life we all dreamed of: classes during the day, clubs and bars after dusk.
Books, beer and co-eds didn’t appear to be the theme for life at UNCP. Books and boredom looked more likely.
In the beginning weeks of school, I was homesick. I wanted nothing more than to get in my car and go back to Jacksonville. I would talk to friends at UNC, ECU or State and while they were talking about their exciting lives, I would compare that college experience to the one I appeared to be having.
The comparison would only make things worse.
Luckily, Pembroke has proven to me that the small town that constantly appears to be sleeping is able to host a good time as well as a good education. Since I've been here, the number and variety of restaurants has increased, even if not by much.
I’ve had many of the same experiences as my friends at bigger universities.
I’ve been to the club, I’ve been to bars, I’ve danced until my feet hurt and slept through my Friday morning class because I forgot to set my alarm when I got home late Thursday night.
But what won me over about Pembroke was something much simpler than the closest club, bar and pub. It was the people I met.
In the last three years, I’ve met people who I can honestly say I will remember for the rest of my life.
I’ve met people of all kinds, many of which I wouldn’t have met without being in Pembroke.
How often do you get to share an apartment with two roommates who are from Mexico? Or go out to dinner with your best friend and her roommates, who are not only hilarious, but from Germany?
Pembroke has introduced me to people who I probably would have never talked to if it wasn’t for being thrown together by the University. Universities that are as diverse as UNCP are few and far between, but the benefits that come with attending such a diverse University are amazing.
There is rarely an opportunity to meet new people, no matter where you are and what you’re doing. But being a new student at a university provides students with that chance.
I wouldn’t trade any of my last three years on this campus, and I have no doubt that this year will be just as great. That is worth more than any bar, club, pub or restaurant.