Chapel Hill

One positive part of growing up is that you might have more friends scattered about in more appealing places, so you can stretch your roaming limits (and budget) further than your younger network may have allowed. My friend Matt is the best kind of faraway friend who will even offer to sleep on the couch and give up their bed to let you rest your weary traveling bones. A gigantic thank you to him for taking me to all of the breweries, wood-fired pizzerias, and string-lit bars that are making Raleigh-Durham the next Austin/Denver/Brooklyn/Place for people who like food trucks and Snapchat. I didn't mind it one bit.

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Being in Chapel Hill during spring break offered a time of reflection for me. Back when 16 year old Cori was checking out schools and planning her future, baby blue t-shirts and tar-covered heels were expected to be a major part of it. I did all of the AP-ing and SAT-ing asked of me. I went to their volleyball camp. I bought a lot of blue clothing items. I learned to appreciate vinegar barbecue. But still when the decision mail came, my envelope was disappointingly skinny instead of invitingly thick.

I was devastated and confused. I cried in my room a lot and quickly formulated plans to move in with my uncle so I could apply again as an NC resident. I'm pretty sure my best friend and I forged notes from our parents to skip Chemistry class and eat waffles, because we did that a lot anyway and because there is still nothing like waffles to heal a broken teenage heart. I think I only chose to go to Delaware later on because it had flowers and brick buildings and vaguely resembled UNC.

It was a long while before my focus started to shift. During Fall semester of sophomore year, I remember gathering my printed transfer applications, ready to be filled-in and sent off in the Spring. I was so sure that I knew where I was going and that there had to have been some strange mistake. It took a few years, a trip to Argentina, and a lot of new friends to convince me otherwise. I never ended up sending those transfer applications and I stayed at Delaware for two extra years. Now I only think about Chapel Hill once a year, in March, when I become a short-term college basketball fan.

Walking around the campus during my visit with Matt reminded me the importance of letting go when my thinking mind is so certain that it knows what's best for me. I realize how much we might miss if we try to squeeze our lives into the perfect plans that we've doubtlessly determined for them. Looking back, I can't imagine my path having gone any other way than it has. If I had transferred to North Carolina, I probably never would have met so many of my best friends, checked as many study abroad countries off my list, or become the mostly well-rounded person I am now. Or maybe by some universal magic I would have ended up as the same me in exactly the same place, but I definitely don't think I would have gotten to shake former Vice President Joe Biden's hand.

So I'm sending love to you, hoping you can always find the very, very good no matter how unexpectedly your path seems to be twisting. I believe it's all working itself out.