Categories
Life

History Has Its Eyes on You

Hi! I felt it was absolutely necessary to discuss my excitement for Hamilton’s debut on Disney Plus this weekend, which has me feeling like this:

via giphy.com

For some context, Hamilton is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius telling of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s story and legacy through a hip-hop musical. It’s incredibly clever, hilarious, poignant, chock-full of talented people and even educational!

I was lucky enough to see the Chicago production of Hamilton in 2017 (one of the best nights ever) in addition to religiously listening to the musical’s soundtrack since 2016.

So, this weekend, Disney Plus released the recording of the original Broadway cast’s performance. Interacting with the show in this new way gave me a new level of appreciation for the musical. With each song, I got a new wave of goosebumps (and there are 46 songs total.) It’s very special to witness a group of extremely talented individuals absolutely thriving on stage and telling a story that is woven together through witty lyrics, alluring visuals and countless other brilliant intricacies.

I could probably write an entire series of blog posts about different elements of the musical, but for now, I want to talk about how topically relevant the show is to today.

It’s fitting to me that this was released on Fourth of July weekend. Not only does the story center around the Revolutionary War and American’s independence, but the show also possesses a relevant theme throughout: pushing the boundaries of what is accepted to achieve something better. As the United States turns another year older, it’s important to look back on what we’ve achieved in the last 244 years and celebrate that. But it’s also important to recognize the road ahead, the work that is still to be done and the amazing things we are capable of doing in the future.

As George Washington tasks Alexander Hamilton with leading a field command towards the end of the war, he sings “History Has Its Eyes On You,” warning him of the immense responsibility that comes with power and influence.

We are a country made up of brilliant minds and big hearts. We are a country made up of different races, ethnicities, backgrounds and stories. We are a country made up of talent, innovation, knowledge, creativity and hope. We are a country that has some work to do.

The recent tragic murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have reinforced the long overdue need for equality and have kept the conversation about racism at national attention (where it should be). As a white woman, I recognize my privilege and my responsibility to not remain silent.

We are called to do better and to ensure that we are educated, we are involved and we are changing the way we think and talk about race. As a country, we must do the work to make the unalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” ring true for every single person. History has its eyes on us to ensure that the hate that has been perpetuated for so long ends with us. How will we use our voices to make a difference?

When Alexander Hamilton recognizes the opportunity he has to make a difference and create his legacy, he proudly exclaims:

“I am not throwing away my shot.”

I pray that we vow to do the same.

Click here for a list of resources and ways you can help.

Now, go watch Hamilton and try not to smile, laugh, cry, and fist-pump the air for the sheer cleverness of it all (you will probably do all of these things.) I’m going to go watch it again, and again, and again!

via giphy.com

Cara

Categories
UNC

Thank you UNC!

It’s weird to think about writing this. You never really think about what the ending is going to feel like until you’re in it. Now that it’s time to move on from UNC, it’s a whole mix of emotions, but mostly, I am thankful.

  1. Thank you UNC for always holding special family significance throughout my life but becoming my own special place as I became a student. It’s an honor to be another member of my family that has continued the tradition!
  2. Thank you Allie Barnett for being an amazing roommate and friend! Not all roommate pairings work out, but you’re the best possible scenario. So glad we decided to keep living together past the days of Crusty Craige.
  3. Thank you to the Hussman School of Journalism and Media for helping me discover a passion and a future career trajectory with several unique opportunities and real-world experiences. I came into school as a pre-PT student, graduated with a PR degree and couldn’t be happier about it. Also, a big thank you to the Romance Languages Department for giving me the chance to go out of my comfort zone and study in Spain (or should I say gracias.)
  4. Thank you Kappa Kappa Gamma for making this huge campus a little bit smaller with the help of beautiful, strong women that I am so lucky to call my friends! I wasn’t sure what to expect from a sorority, but I can’t imagine the last few years without it.
  5. Thank you UNC basketball for a national championship my freshman year, many nights celebrating wins over Duke and jumping around in the Dean Dome. Though the past few years have been up and down, I do have unconditional love for you and all UNC sports.
  6. Thank you Newman Catholic Student Center for allowing me to strengthen my faith and meet people who are so centered in Jesus. The service trips, praise and worship, retreats and weekly dinners became essential to my college experience.
  7. Thank you Carolina Tap Ensemble for being the most wonderful way to continue my love of tap dancing in college! Learning from my fellow dancers and performing around campus are some of my favorite memories.
  8. Thank you to the incredible friends I’ve made. I’ve truly met the most interesting, funny, warm-hearted, good people here and I am so grateful. Thank you to the gang — you know who you are. You guys are the bomb.
  9. Thank you to my parents for not only making these four years possible, but also cheering me on along the way. Your constant love, advice and support built me up and helped me get as much out of college as possible!
  10. Thank you UNC for being the southern slice of Heaven. For being the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen! For teaching me a lot about myself and allowing me to grow and change even when it wasn’t always easy. For putting a huge smile on my face that isn’t going away any time soon. For being everything I wanted out of college and so much more.

I could probably go on forever, but the message is clear: I love UNC with all of my heart and always will. It’s bittersweet to wrap up this chapter, but I will carry these four years with me forever and cheer on the Tar Heels for life. It’s always a #GDTBATH

Thank you UNC! I’m Cara Siliakus, and I’m a Tar Heel.

Categories
Life

an unprecedented event

I held off writing about this for a while because of the magnitude of it all. I’ve just been processing everything slowly as it all unfolds. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around both the immediate halt that the entire world has come to as well as the unthinkable sacrifices that doctors, nurses and other essential workers are making for us daily.

When I left Chapel Hill for spring break, I was looking forward to coming back for the rest of my final semester at Carolina. I still had my last sorority formal, my last dance show and my last few weeks of being an undergrad at the southern part of Heaven. My friends and I were going to take graduation photos and walk in Kenan Stadium on May 10 as new graduates. I was so excited to finish out the Carolina Hurricanes’ hockey season as an intern and work more games for Carolina Athletics. I am incredibly upset that those things have all been cancelled, there’s no way around it. It’s not fair.

But that’s life. I know that I am incredibly lucky to be healthy and blessed with people and places in my life that I miss. I know that this virus has been incredibly cruel to people around the world in heartbreaking ways. In the weeks since I’ve been home, I’ve been thinking about those people a lot.

Though it would be really easy to mope about all of this, I’ve been trying really hard to seek out the good news in the world in an effort to remain positive. One of my favorite ways to do that right now is watching John Krasinki’s weekly show, Some Good News (I highly recommend it!) Also, I’ve been trying to come up with fun ways to stay busy at home (after I’ve finished my school work, of course). I finally have time to read books for fun (what a concept), paint and draw, play board games and do puzzles. I’ve been able to spend quality time with my mom, dad, and dog, and catch up with friends and family via FaceTime or Zoom.

There’s no sugarcoating it, this is a weird, devastating time. And as someone who struggles with mental health, namely anxiety, this is really a challenge. But I’m doing my best, I’m trying to use this time to turn to God more than ever. I know everyone is doing their best to make it through this.

And when it’s all over? Just think about the joy! Think about the reunions and smiles. The hugs (I miss them so much) and excitement that will come with doing the things we miss right now. We will never take any of the small things for granted again, and maybe that’s a small silver lining of all of this. May we learn from this to relish in every moment, unsure of what the next day will bring.

In the meantime, let’s all keep staying inside. Maybe I’ll use this time to update my blog a little more frequently! We’ll get through this. ♥

Categories
Life

Why You Should Learn a Second Language

Hola, hoy voy a discutir los beneficios de aprender una idioma segunda y voy a convencerles estar de acuerdo conmigo. Hi, today I’m going to discuss the benefits of learning a second language and I’m going to convince you to agree with me.

I’ve been taking Spanish classes since kindergarten, and I recently completed my Spanish minor at UNC. Not only has it been fun to learn throughout school, but it has also been exciting to keep up with it on my own and use it in other countries. At first, I didn’t realize that learning a second language had so many different benefits for me and my life. Everyone should learn a second language because it provides health benefits, opens you up to new people and cultures and allows you to develop personal/professional skills.

I think it’s safe to assume that everyone wants to be healthy, right? Learning a language is beneficial for many reasons, but if there’s one that stands out among the rest, it’s the countless ways it improves your health. Research compiled by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) shows that learning a second language leads to increased cognitive ability and brain function as well as improved memory skills and attention span. A study from York University in Toronto discovered that of dementia patients, those who were bilingual developed dementia an average of 4.5 years later than their monolingual counterparts. I think it would be hard to argue against developing a healthier mind and body as a byproduct of doing this.

Learning a second language is also a great way to open yourself up to new cultures around the world, because the reality is, the United States is a melting pot of cultures in itself, and there are countless other cultures to explore around the world. The ACTFL reported that language learners develop a more positive attitude toward their target language’s culture and people. It will only benefit your appreciation of cultural diversity and allow you to fully immerse yourself in new cultures if you are learning the language. Additionally, many people in the U.S. have family members that live in other countries, and learning a new language is often incredibly helpful if not crucial to communicating with them.  My dad is from the Netherlands, and some of my family still lives there today. My cousin, Stacey, is my age but grew up with her native language as Dutch. The first time we met, Stacey had only begun to learn English and we couldn’t really say much to each other. However, over the years, her English has rapidly improved, and now we’re able to speak English to each other almost like she’s a native speaker. In return, I’ve started trying to learn Dutch so I can use it the next time we visit. If she hadn’t started learning English in school when she was younger, we would never be able to have conversations. Learning another language is incredibly valuable when it means that you can speak to your family members from different countries.

Being able to gain perspective and learn about other cultures also develops your sense of empathy and understanding for those that are different from you. Between my sophomore and junior year of college, I decided to study abroad through UNC in Sevilla, Spain. I spent six weeks there taking Spanish for business classes and living with a host family, and I quickly learned that Spanish culture is different from American culture. My host mom, Ines, spoke zero English. Without having learned Spanish, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to her at all — but with the limited skills that I did have, I was able to have full conversations with her, and we were able to bond over the TV show, “Friends,” which we watched every day during lunch, dubbed in Spanish. While I was living in Spain, most of the people there knew some English and could help me out if I struggled with my Spanish, but it was extremely helpful to be immersed in the culture and language fully so that I could further develop my skills and force myself to think and speak in Spanish all the time. Studying in Spain for six weeks didn’t make me fluent, but it definitely improved my Spanish and gave me immersion experience I couldn’t get at home.

In addition to health benefits and cultural appreciation, there are several professional and personal skills that can be developed from learning a second language. The ACTFL has cited research suggesting that problem-solving, decision making, observation of detail, multi-tasking and creativity all have grown as a result. The organization has also compiled research to show the positive effects of learning a new language on academic performance, reporting higher SAT and ACT scores. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences reported that bilingual people have access to a wider variety of jobs out of school, as well as improved communication and networking skills. Virtually every job in any industry could benefit from bilingual people, whether that’s in the medical field, engineering, business, media, etc. International travel is also made easier when you can speak at least some of that country’s language. 75% of the world doesn’t speak English, even though it may feel like most countries have qualified English speakers. Learning a second language also improves your adaptability to situations and overall confidence.

The Pew Research Center reported that a median of 92% of European kids learn a second language in school, while only 20% of American kids learn a second language in school and 7.5% of college students are enrolled in a foreign language course. This statistic is crazy! But school isn’t the only way to learn a second language.

There are a bunch of excuses you could make for not learning a second language — it’s hard, it’s expensive, I don’t have time for that, I’m out of school, etc. If you don’t want to spend money on Rosetta Stone or have time for in-person classes, you can do it for free on apps like DuoLingo. Even five minutes a day could be helpful, and learning it a little bit at a time will make it much easier. Additionally, there are several languages that share the same roots as English, so a lot of the words sound like their English versions anyway. Who knows what kind of doors a second language could open up for you? Wouldn’t it be cool to impress people with a language that they don’t know? It’s an awesome skill to keep in your back pocket, and a skill that provides you with health benefits, a view into new cultures and an opportunity to gain valuable personal and professional abilities. Deben aprender una idioma nueva porque con muchas idiomas, las posibilidades son interminable. You should learn a new language because, with multiple languages, the possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
UNC

Fall 2019 Semester in Review — God is SO Good!!

True to my typical posting schedule, I’m here almost at the end of January to talk about my wonderful fall semester! I do have a good excuse though  — I’ve been fulfilling my role as a student and as an intern 🙂 Here are the highlights of the first half of senior year:

  • Work has been SO much fun! I’ve worked games for a few different sports so far with UNC athletic communications and each one has been different and exciting in their own way. I’m looking forward to working at some of the spring sports this semester as well. At the Hurricanes, we’re halfway through a super exciting season! Everything about the job has been fun, especially the people I work with and being able to be a part of fans’ game day experiences.
  • Classes went well this semester, and I earned a spot on the Dean’s List again! My favorite class was “Public Relations Campaigns” where I got to work with three of my classmates to create a campaign for FOX Sports and MLB’s partnership. It was incredible to get some real-world campaign development experience, especially for a cool client (that’s sports-related, A.K.A. one of my biggest career interests). Our campaign got an honorable mention for its creativity!
  • In November 2018, I went on the Carolina Awakening retreat with my church at school, Newman, and this year I returned as a small group leader! The entire weekend was even better than the previous year (if that’s possible) and was full of so much love, prayer and worship. Weekends like these are when I am able to see God’s love most evidently in my life!
  • When I wasn’t in class or working, I spent free time with my wonderful pals 🙂 Not only did we make a bunch of fun memories on campus, but we also got to take a few little trips as well! We took a weekend trip to Topsail Island and a fall break trip to Beech Mountain, and both were awesome! Other fun moments this semester include Kappa social events and weekends in Chapel Hill.

As I’m writing this, I’m trying to soak up the last semester of undergrad at UNC. There’s so many more exciting things to come this semester and this year. More to come!

Cara

Categories
Life

Four Current Favorites & Four Things I’m Looking Forward To

Music: This isn’t a new find for me, but one of my favorite musicians right now is Ben Rector. He’s a brilliant American singer-songwriter that plays the piano and guitar in additional to his vocals. I would probably describe his genre as “wholesome pop-rock” — it’s feel-good music about love and life that is so dang catchy! I would highly recommend his most recent album, Magic (2018), and if you really like it, there’s a live version too, Magic: The Tour (2019), from his tour that I went to and LOVED. He puts on an amazing show and is pretty funny too. Other good songs include “Brand New” which has gotten pretty popular, “Forever Like That”, “Fear” and “The Men That Drive Me Places”, but really, you can’t go wrong with any of his albums.

Movie: This isn’t in theaters anymore, but I saw Rocketman over the summer and loved it! It tells the story of Elton John’s early life and the beginning of his amazing career. Taron Egerton, who plays him in the movie, is extremely talented and sings all of the songs in the movie himself. The visuals, acting, music and authenticity of the story were very impressive and entertaining to me — it’s definitely a movie I would watch again, especially because of how much I love Elton John’s music!

TV Show: My newest show that I love to binge-watch right now on Hulu is the NBC comedy, Community (2009-2015). I’m a sucker for NBC comedies anyway (Friends, Parks and Rec, The Office, Brooklyn 99, Superstore, The Good Place, etc.) but this one especially has an all-star cast of comedians that I’ve seen all over the place in  movies, TV shows and other entertainment: Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Donald Glover, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong, John Oliver and Chevy Chase! It follows a study group of unlikely friends at a community college where chaos regularly ensues. It’s extremely creative, very funny and clever. I’m entertained by every episode and its oddities always make me laugh!

Podcast: I’m always looking for things to listen to in the car on the way to work, and I’ve been loving Father Mike Schmitz’ podcast with Ascension Presents (he also does them in video form on Facebook.)The episodes range from 4-9 minutes each and offer a priest’s insight about certain topics that relate to Catholicism and everyday life. I love learning things I didn’t know about my faith as well as hearing about things from a different perspective than mine. I definitely recommend this if you want to find a way to change up your prayer routine — praying doesn’t have to be a traditional “Dear God” kind of prayer all the time, it can be countless other things including learning more about your faith!

Things I’m Looking Forward To:

  1. Fall Break spent half at Beech Mountain with friends, and half at home with family!
  2. Carolina Awakening 12, Newman’s annual retreat (Register at uncnewman.org if you haven’t already)
  3. The Holidays — Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching and it’s one of my favorite times of year!
  4. More Hurricanes games — The Canes have started off the season strong, and I can’t wait to work more home games at PNC Arena! I may be biased, but Canes games are a whole new level of fun (which you should come see for yourselves)

 

Happy Fall!

 

Cara 🙂

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Categories
UNC

Hi Senior Year!

After a wonderful summer that went by extremely fast, I have begun my senior year at Carolina! Yes, you read that right. Somehow this is my fourth and final year of undergrad and I have mixed feelings about it. Like everyone else in my boat, I’m excited for the future and what is to come after I graduate, but I’m not ready to say goodbye to UNC in May! I have my entire senior year ahead of me, though, and it has already gotten off to a great start. Here’s a little update on what I was up to this summer and what I’m involved with this semester!

  • This summer, I was a public relations intern at Koroberi, Inc., a B2B marketing agency in Raleigh! I learned SO much about working in PR and was able to improve my skills while having a lot of fun doing it. One of the best parts other than all of the real-world exposure was the office dogs! Every day, there would be at least one (usually two) dogs at the office that made workdays so much sweeter! The team at Koroberi taught me so much about media relations, PR, writing, communications, etc. and made me feel so welcomed and excited to come to work — I was so sad to leave at the end of the summer!

 

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  • The other half of my time this summer was devoted to the Carolina Hurricanes, where I started as a promotions and fan development intern! I spent the summer working in the office and at events around the Triangle to promote the Canes — and I even got to help out at their kids’ summer hockey camp! Getting to work in sports and promotions has been an interest of mine for a while, and the awesome people in my department have made it so much fun so far! I’m super excited that I get to continue my internship through the 2019-2020 season and continue promoting the team and enjoying hockey. Go Canes!!

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  • Other than work, I made some time to relax this summer as well! In June, I went to Lake James for a much needed weekend of sun and family time! I also was able to take a day trip to Wrightsville Beach with my friend Allie, which made me so happy (especially because I squeezed in a stop at my favorite ice cream place, Boombalatti’s).

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  • This semester is shaping up to be a busy, but fun one! I’m one of the student ministers for marketing at the Newman Catholic Student Center (follow us on Instagram at @unc_newman, shameless promo) and I’m already enjoying another year as a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. I’m also the PR Chair for Carolina Tap Ensemble (our Instagram is @carolinatapensemble, more shameless promo). This year, I also have the wonderful opportunity to work as a student assistant in the UNC athletic communications office, which I’m so excited about! Lots of things going on at once, but I prefer to be busy — especially when it’s a schedule full of things that I’m passionate about!

I’m absolutely thrilled to be back with my friends for another year of happy memories — this year has been nothing but fun and positive so far 🙂 It’s hard not to be content when you’re in Chapel Hill! This place has brought so many amazing people and opportunities into my life, and I can’t wait to make my senior year the best one yet!

Talk soon!

Cara

Categories
Features Life Sports

The Modern Renaissance Man

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Squadron Training Commander. Gifted student. Future pilot. Student faith group leader. Athlete. If you thought these were all different people, you’d be wrong. UNC rising senior Colin Schilly is all of these things and more.

Schilly is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance man – he does it all. When he was a kid, his dream was to be a major league baseball player. “That was the only thing I ever wanted to do for a while, until I discovered biology,” he says. “And then astronauts, then the military, and here I am.” While he doesn’t see himself in the MLB league anytime soon, he has kept playing the sport his whole life, most recently with the UNC Club Baseball team.

So when his busy schedule makes things hectic, Schilly knows he has baseball to look forward to for blowing off steam. “Baseball is my stress relief – guaranteed I’m going to have an hour and a half each day that I’m just having a good time and hanging out,” he says. “If I didn’t do baseball, I would have an extra eight or so hours a week, but it’s something that I need.”

We’ll get to baseball a little bit later, but first, there are other things to do.

5 a.m. Wednesday

Most people are still sleeping, but Schilly is already beginning what promises to be a busy day. He wakes up at 5 because he has to be on campus for ROTC physical training at 6, which is usually some variety of strenuous or strength-building exercises. Most people wouldn’t be interested in waking up before dawn for PT 2-3 times a week, but it’s right up his alley. After all, among his accomplishments in the program is his perfect score on the fitness test.

When he was 10 years old, Schilly watched a man receive the Medal of Honor on television, and briefly considered joining the military as a future career possibility. The thought didn’t resurface until his freshman year at UNC, when he met people who were part of the University’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, pushing him to think about his future a little bit more and consider the program as an option. He also began to realize his dream of becoming an astronaut, and the military seemed like the perfect way to get to space.

He decided to join the program the second semester of his freshman year, and hasn’t looked back. His superiors quickly recognized his work ethic and skill set, and he eventually received a national scholarship through the Air Force – from which he receives paid college tuition and a stipend each month. Working his way up from his first year in the program, he now serves as a Squadron Training Commander, responsible for training first-year cadets to understand the basics of ROTC.

His counterpart, Maggie Adams, believes joining the program later than most people allowed him to figure himself out first. Since then, she has witnessed his growth and development in ROTC firsthand — and even thinks that the program has benefited him on the baseball field.

“It’s been cool to watch him break out of his shell the past couple of years,” Adams says. “He is quieter in the background when you first meet him, but when you understand him as a person, he is so strategic in how he acts and talks. Whether he’s actually presenting or just talking with you as a friend, there’s a lot going on in his brain, and he’s probably thought a lot about what he’s going to say and how he’s going to portray himself to you in that moment.”

Schilly just landed a spot in the prestigious pilot program, meaning that he will have to pass a flight physical and then go through several rounds of training to fly aircraft for a 10-year Air Force commitment. The challenge of the program doesn’t scare him, though – it motivates him to do well that much more.

“For me, it’s about controlling the things I can control – that’s something baseball has taught me. Whenever I would make a team, I knew that I could play with the guys, but it was a matter of showing that I was good enough,” Schilly says. He believes he can do almost any job, he just has to prove his ability and willingness to work hard – a sentiment he thinks may pass as a little arrogant, but that’s mostly just in his head.

8 a.m.

After PT, when the rest of the world is just now heading to work, Colin cooks himself breakfast and listens to music.  Besides club baseball practice, it might be his favorite time of the day. He loves being around people, but also really values his alone time, considering himself neither an introvert nor an extrovert. Don’t ask him about his Myers-Briggs type either – he couldn’t care less.

What he’s listening to could be anything from Muse or Queen (his favorite bands) to show tunes or Céline Dion. He has countless Spotify playlists that he usually chooses from based on his mood of the day.

Schilly knows himself very well – something that really came to fruition when he got to college. “What you like and what’s important to you says a lot about you, I realized,” he says. “Since I got to UNC, I’ve been starting to come into my personality. Embracing the fact that I love Broadway musicals and meeting my best friends who have the same sense of humor as me, all of that combined has taught me about myself.” He’s pretty much always having a good day and loves making people laugh with his sarcasm. The fact that his interests stretch over such a wide spectrum makes “Renaissance man” one of the first things people associate with him.

Daniel Petrucci, one of Schilly’s housemates, has only known him for a few months, but he already agrees with that classification. “I think he’s very versatile – I thought Colin might be very straight-edged and ROTC-focused, and not have many other interests,” he says. “But I was surprised to see that he loves Hamilton; he was in a musical his senior year of high school. I also grew up playing baseball, so we connect on that. So, he’s a modern Renaissance man, I think.”

“He’s like, ‘if something is challenging, then I want to try it and master it,’” his sister Haley says.  “That kind of feeds into the whole Renaissance man thing – if he does something, then he wants to be good at it, and he is. He competes with himself more than anyone I know. Like when he ran a marathon a few months ago, he sees this version of himself. He’s like, ‘I could know more, I could learn more, I could be better, stronger, faster.’ And he is going to keep working until he gets there.”

10:10 a.m.

Schilly is off to class, which is a mix of biology, Spanish and Air Force courses. Science classes have always come easy to him, but Spanish takes a little more work, which is fine, because he likes the challenge.

After graduating in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology (that comes with a chemistry minor) as well as Hispanic Studies and Aerospace Studies minors, he will begin his career with the military, then hopefully transition into being an astronaut. At some point during his career, he may go to medical school. Nothing is off the table.

Ultimately, Schilly’s final destination career goal is to be a high school biology teacher — something that stems from his love for teaching, longtime interest in animals and plants and a fascination for how things work in nature.

In between classes, he sneaks in a workout at the gym (because PT earlier was clearly not enough) and then heads back to class.

4 p.m.

ROTC meetings take up the first half of Schilly’s afternoon, but then it’s time for his favorite part of the day – baseball. A full hour and a half to do what he loves and practice with his club baseball teammates is exactly what he needs after a long day. Don’t be fooled, though, because Schilly and baseball haven’t always had the rosiest relationship.

“Growing up, baseball was a staple in my life and always my favorite sport. But me and baseball have a love-hate relationship,” he says.

The Schillys are a baseball family – Colin and his brothers all played in recreational leagues growing up and they follow Major League Baseball. He started playing when he was three, constantly practicing in his backyard when he wasn’t playing rec ball. When he tried out for the middle school team, he didn’t make it and was devastated, but decided to keep playing in the rec league.

High school tryouts in ninth grade were another swing and a miss. Schilly ended up playing travel ball instead, frustrated by the popularity contest and favoritism that made up his high school baseball team. He wasn’t giving up yet though, reluctantly trying out again in tenth and eleventh grades after the coach encouraged him to, but still didn’t make it. At that point, he was playing for fun, but wasn’t in an organized league. “I didn’t hate the sport, I hated the system,” he says. “But I kept playing, kept hitting off the tee and throwing from time to time. Grew a few inches, which is nice.”

Haley first witnessed her brother’s love and dedication for baseball at an early age. She’s impressed with how it has grown over time, remembering when he would spend summers practicing in the driveway with a training net and going out to hit and pitch with his older brother, Tyler. She took it personally when the politics of their high school athletic department got in the way of him making the team. “Colin worked so hard and loved it so much, but it didn’t have to do with passion or skill or anything. It was this hierarchy of our high school. He had this fire lit for baseball and then he just wasn’t able to play, and it was the saddest thing ever.” She admired his dedication to keep trying out year after year. “He knew he was good enough the whole time, but I know that shaped him and how he approaches failure and perseverance. And now, I’m so glad he plays on the club team [at UNC] because he just wanted to play baseball, and now he can.”

Senior year of high school came and went without a tryout, and then Schilly was a freshman at UNC, where Tyler was the president of the UNC Club Baseball team.

“I almost didn’t try out for the club team, but then I was like, you know, I’m going to try it out. There’s a chance I don’t make it, and then I can go with one of my other interests, like musical theatre,” he says.

He felt a little rusty during the tryout, but he made the team (without his brother’s help, he might add) and began to rapidly improve. Now, he’s at the top of his game – and he loves it more than ever.

UNC Club Baseball is a student-run organization. Some of the players could play NCAA Division II or III college baseball, but they’d rather have fun playing in a more relaxed, yet still competitive setting. The team is part of the National Club Baseball Association, playing in a conference with schools from the east coast with 10-12 series in the spring and a few out of conference games as well. Their biggest rival is the East Carolina University Pirates, who consistently finish at the top of their division – but Schilly and the UNC club team beat them this year at their matchup.

Schilly began his role on the team as a first-baseman, but has recently pitched as well. In addition to that, he runs the team’s social media accounts, which give him an outlet for his clever wit. His teammate, Jackson Cabell, says the team appreciates him for his multifaceted role. He was impressed with Schilly from the start, when he saw him play during tryouts. He had no idea that he didn’t play in high school until Schilly told him.

“In club baseball we do a lot of joking around, but we all want to win too, so Colin gets involved with the shenanigans, but he’s also a great baseball player on the field,” Cabell says. “This is his first year pitching and he’s doing really well as a lefty pitcher, which is exciting to see. He’s always been strong at the plate, but he’s just made a really good transition from playing the outfield to first base. Very supportive of his teammates and friendly with everyone too, and new guys on the team feel more comfortable because of him.”

UNC Club Baseball beat two top ten-ranked teams in the 2019 regular season (Maryland and Florida), which helps their playoff chances for a potential wild-card bid. The jury’s still out on whether or not they’ll make a postseason appearance, but they have high hopes. Even if they aren’t able to keep playing, for them it’s mostly just about having fun. Like Schilly, most of the guys on the team are not just involved in baseball on campus.

“That’s why we don’t take it super seriously, because people prioritize school and are able to stay involved with other things on campus…but when we get onto the field, we want to win, and Colin is definitely one of those people [who can do both],” Cabell says.

His current walk-up song to bat is “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, because “it’s filthy. I do it to feel cool. It gets me hype.” And when he’s pitching, it’s “What’s Up Danger” from “Into the Spider-verse.”

Other than his walk-up music to get him hyped up, Schilly says the guys on the team are really good about supporting each other. “I made a pretty awesome catch about a month ago, and it got super hype and they were all high-fiving me. But we also make fun of each other,” he says. “When it comes down to it, you are by yourself out there, but everything is still as a team, you’re moving for this team. We’ll scrap for each other.”

Schilly is glad he decided to try out and gets to do what he’s passionate about in college. When asked what he brings to the team, he has to think about it for a second, but reluctantly and humbly says, “I think I’m one of the best fielders on the team, if not just a pure set of hands. I don’t know if there’s anyone better than me at catching balls in the outfield and stuff.”

“I love being on that team,” he says. “It’s nice to go to baseball and be with a bunch of people who like the sport too, and who will know what I’m talking about if I make a sports reference. And baseball is just a beautiful game – it requires a very unique skill set. I feel like it just takes a natural hand-eye coordination and ability and that just kind of fascinates me.”

5 p.m.

Time for dinner and some more time to himself.

While he eats he might check up on the latest baseball news, especially with his hometown team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Schilly was born in St. Louis, but moved to Charlotte when he was six, where his family still resides. He is one of five kids – he has two older sisters, Kelci and Haley, an older brother, Tyler and a younger brother, Caleb. He loves the Cardinals so much that he regularly sports special-edition Vans sneakers printed with their logo.

Growing up as Schilly’s older sister (by one year), Haley knows him better than almost anyone – and she thinks his loyalty is his most prominent value. “He has loyalty not only to his family and friends but also to his country…just this dedication. He will not ever let you down, he’s such a good listener and such a loyal brother and friend. He’s super empathetic and good at knowing how people feel – he cares really, really deeply about his friendships, his family and different things – and he always, always wants to do the right thing.”

He’s not always serious, though. In fact, Haley says that “even though he has become more thoughtful and a matured guy, he has always been a goofball and a weirdo.”

6 p.m.

Schilly usually can’t focus on homework in the afternoon, so he waits until the evening to get started. Sometimes he works at home, but today he’s headed to the Newman Catholic Student Center to get some studying done. The activity center at the church serves as a great study spot for students, and it’s a particular favorite of Schilly’s. While he’s there, he might even sneak in some time to pray in the chapel.

His faith is extremely important to him, something that has only grown during college with the help of Newman. Schilly got involved with Newman and campus ministry during his freshman year when he was encouraged by his siblings, Tyler and Haley, to come to one of the social events. Since then, he’s been on the annual retreat every year, serving as a leader for the past two years. He co-hosts a small faith group every week, which focuses on reading and discussing Scripture as well as connecting with other Catholic students. He doesn’t stop there – he also sings in the choir at Sunday mass and occasionally leads the congregation as a cantor.

“Religion gives me my purpose in life,” he says. “Newman is great because it allows me to connect with people on that level and have people to talk to about faith.”

Sophomore Alex Pinder, a member of his small faith group, says that Schilly was integral in making his transition to college a smooth one. Pinder immediately connected with him over their similar Catholic school backgrounds.

“Colin sticks out to me at Newman because he takes his faith into his own hands,” he says. “He shows not only me, but the people around us, that it’s okay to practice your faith in your own way.”

“He does a lot of different things but they all fit together into one person…he’s a jack of all trades,” he says. “He’s a very unique guy – active in the Newman community, skilled on the baseball field and a man of many talents. There is probably nothing he can’t do.”

9 p.m.

Home again, and time to relax. By now, all of his housemates are most likely home and all hanging out together. Depending on the night, he’ll watch “Brooklyn 99” with his housemate and best friend Jeffrey Davidson, catch up on hockey (the St. Louis Blues are his favorite) or scroll through Twitter to get his daily dose of baseball news and other happenings.

“He takes his schoolwork seriously, as well as his commitments to things, like religion, baseball and ROTC,” Davidson says. “But he’s a funny guy too, has a very sophisticated sense of humor similar to mine – which is why we get along so well.”

Davidson shares a room with Schilly, whom he considers to be very low-maintenance and easy to live with. They talk about anything and everything, including Schilly’s baseball games and Major League Baseball current events to random, hypothetical comedy bits they like to make up. He’s the first person that Davidson wants to talk about his life with.

He hasn’t been to a club baseball game yet, but he jokes that he’s heard Schilly has “quite an arm” on the the pitching mound. “In all seriousness, his passion for baseball is unparalleled,” he says. “I know he really loves baseball, and it’s cool that it makes him happy.”

“My friends that I live with are home base – I never get tired of hanging out with them and I’m able to be the most myself with all of them,” Schilly says.

Because of his jam-packed schedule, Schilly is early to sleep, early to rise. He has to be well-rested to keep up with everything on his to-do list.

As for how he balances everything he’s involved in, Schilly says it’s all about prioritizing. “It’s committing to actually doing stuff when you say you’re going to do it,” he says.

So what’s the next activity for the Renaissance man to take on? He could learn another language like he did with French two summers ago. Maybe he’ll pick up a musical instrument – though he has already dabbled in bass guitar. “If Colin told me tomorrow that he was learning to play the tuba, I would not be at all surprised,” says Pinder. If he had the time to try out a new hobby, he says, he would probably try dancing or explore musical theatre more. He’s been drawn to that ever since his theatrical debut as Papa Bear in “Shrek: The Musical” senior year of high school. Maybe he can squeeze it in his schedule somewhere, but if not, he’ll continue listening to Broadway soundtracks and busting a move with his friends. There aren’t many hobbies he wouldn’t be interested in trying, except for golf – he’s not a huge fan of the sport and not naturally inclined in it, according to his own assessment.

He’s heard the Renaissance man term before, and he knows that he’s good at a lot of things – but he keeps those thoughts to himself.

“I’ve been blessed with a combination of abilities and I want to make the most of them,” he says. “I’m confident, but I never go anywhere with that arrogance.”

Schilly may not know exactly how the next few years will pan out, but if it ever stresses him out, he knows he has baseball to turn to.

“There’s nothing more relaxing to me than just watching a baseball game or going to throw,” he says. “No better feeling in the world than hitting a baseball.”

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UNC

Junior Year in Review

Somehow it’s already that time again…another amazing year at UNC has come and gone and I’m feeling quite sentimental about it! Three years done at the best university in the world (an unbiased opinion, of course). This was undoubtedly the best year yet — here are the highlights!

AUGUST

I moved into my house for the year, A.K.A. my first time living off-campus in college! It was so great living with two of my friends and being able to cook, study, do laundry, sleep and hang out all under one roof! Also, I began interning at Shannon Media (Chapel Hill Mag, Durham Mag and Chatham Mag) where I took on editorial responsibilities. Newman festivities kicked off, as well as sorority recruitment and classes!

SEPTEMBER

Sorority recruitment continued, and we welcomed a wonderful new pledge class on a “New Years” themed bid day! I also began leading a small faith group at Newman with my friend Emily (which quickly became a highlight of each week). CTAP hit the ground running with a new semester full of dance, and I continued running the social media for the group. My friends and I went to a Hornets vs. Celtics game hosted at the Dean Dome, and my parents came up for Family Weekend, where we celebrated with a cookout! Kappa also hosted its annual Q for the Cause philanthropy event (benefitting Earlier.org) with BYX Fraternity, which was a big success!

OCTOBER

Kappa had its annual sisterhood retreat, which was at Camp Weaver in Greensboro this year — we got to do several bonding and team building activities, including a ropes course (that I surprisingly got through). I went to the first-ever Sports and Entertainment Summit (hosted by the Sports Business Club) and learned so much from UNC alums about the sports industry! I came home for a much needed fall break in Waxhaw, and then finished out the month with Halloween on Franklin Street — my friends and I dressed up as the aliens from Toy Story, with my friend Grayson as Buzz Lightyear.

NOVEMBER

I went to the Fall Clef Hangers concert (always a good time) and got to see renowned tap group Dorrance Dance perform on campus in their show “Myelination”. The best part of the month was definitely Newman’s Carolina Awakening retreat, which was a life-changing weekend that left me with a strengthened sense of faith and several new friends in my church community at school! I also celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in Winston Salem, something I always look forward to (not just because of the mashed potatoes and chocolate cake, though).

DECEMBER

Exams! (Gross) I wrapped up the semester with finals and projects and even got to see some snow in Chapel Hill before I went home for the year! I was so excited for my winter break at home, spending time with catching up with family and friends and watching silly Christmas movies on Netflix and Hallmark.

JANUARY

Spring semester begins! I turned 21 on the first day of class (woohoo) and celebrated with friends that day and the following weekend, where my friend Grayson and I had a joint party (he turned 21 two weeks after me.) It made me SO happy to have all of my friends in one place and that people came to celebrate with us! I also celebrated a few friends’ birthdays throughout the month (yay January birthdays!) and started choreography for my first-ever routine for Carolina Tap Ensemble to “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man! Definitely was a daunting experience to try this for the first time, but it was so much fun from the start. I also continued my internship from the fall with Shannon Media, which was a privilege to get to work with them for another semester!

FEBRUARY

I went to the Arise College Summit with Newman for the weekend, which was a great way to get away from school for a few days and focus on faith! Basketball season was in full swing (the best time of the year) and I got to go to a few games, as well as rush Franklin Street when we BEAT DUKE at Cameron Indoor!! Never gets old, let me tell ya. I also spent two days at CLEAN agency in Raleigh for a bootcamp, where we learned all about agency life and what it entails! I also got an exciting opportunity to begin working with Carolina Athletics as a Marketing and Promotions Intern, which meant volunteering at baseball, lacrosse and softball games to help run game day promotions and fan engagements (right up my alley). Kappa also hosted its annual Heartbreakers social event, where we got to dress up in ’80s rock outfits!

MARCH

My friends and I danced the night away at the first-ever Newman Mardi Gras Formal, which was a blast! Any excuse to dress up with pals and break out some dance moves is a win in my book. I got to take an amazing trip to Kentucky for my alternative spring break with Newman (which you can read about here). Somehow, I won a lottery ticket to the home Duke Dook game at the Dean Dome, which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience watching UNC beat the Blue Devils in person!! (Sorry Zion) By the time we got to Franklin Street to celebrate, nobody was there, but I was fine with that in exchange for watching the game surrounded by thousands of my classmates and listening to senior speeches from Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson and Kenny Williams.

APRIL

This month I was busier than ever! I went to Kappa’s formal at the Carolina Inn with one of my best friends, Colin, and the rest of my Kappa pals, which was one of the highlights of my year, for sure! Again, I always love dancing with my friends (especially when it involves a DJ and the silliest of dance moves). I celebrated Easter at home for the weekend and then in Winston Salem, and it was so nice to see family after a super busy few weeks of school. CTAP had its annual showcase, and my friends and family came out to support! I was so excited to perform my own choreography for the first time — definitely an accomplishment after months of hard work (shout out to the hardworking girls in my routine) and plenty of nerves. The last day of classes fell at the end of the month, which was properly celebrated with friends as well.

MAY

Exams again! (Still gross.) I put in a lot of time studying and preparing to finish off the semester well, and also had to accept that my friends who are seniors would be graduating! It wasn’t easy to say goodbye to them, but I’m so proud of them for everything they’ve accomplished and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do next! I wrapped up my junior year hanging out with my friends before we all went our separate ways for the summer.

As for me, I’m super excited for my summer plans! I am working as a public relations intern at Koroberi, Inc., a Raleigh marketing agency, as well as a promotions and fan engagement intern with the Carolina Hurricanes! I am so thankful and excited to learn and grow this summer!

With the end of my junior year, the realization hit me that in August, I will begin my final year at Carolina — a sentence that is incredibly weird to write. My time at UNC has truly been the most rewarding and memorable three years of my life so far, but it has gone so fast! I am incredibly grateful for another amazing year at the southern slice of Heaven (trademarked) and I think some thank yous are definitely in order:

THANK YOU to:

  • My parents and family for supporting me through everything this year (as always) and always being a phone call or text away! I am so grateful to be loved by you and love sharing my life with you guys!
  • My friends for being my cheerleaders, advice givers, shoulders to cry on and people to laugh with. There is no one I would rather do college with than you guys!
  • Newman for becoming my home away from home this year — my faith has been transformed this year because I have invested in the fellowship of this campus community, and for that I am so grateful! I have forever friendships to show for it.
  • God for always leading me down the right path. I may not know His plans ahead of time, but I can always trust that He will get me where I am supposed to be!
  • The Media and Journalism school for making my classes so interesting and fun. It is so exciting to begin each new semester looking forward to what I’ll learn in my MEJO courses, and this year was no different.
  • UNC, for being the priceless gem that you are. And UNC Basketball, for making me feel so connected to this school (and almost making me cry several times).

I’m already looking forward to my senior year, but first, it’s summer time! It’s always a GDTBATH 🙂

Cara

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UNC

An Alternative Spring Break

You may have seen the title of this blog post and thought to yourself, “Cara, spring break was ages ago. Why are you just now writing about it?” And to that I would answer, spring semester was crazy busy! So now is the time!

This year, instead of the usual spring break beach trip, I felt pulled to give my time elsewhere in the form of an alternative spring break trip to Kentucky with my church at school, the UNC Newman Catholic Student Center. I spent four days working to repair a house in the hollows of Martin with Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) and I’m so glad I did — here’s a recap!

Our group left early Sunday morning and drove five and a half hours to the Christian Appalachian Project Mission Center in Paintsville, Kentucky. CAP’s mission is “building hope, transforming lives, and sharing Christ’s love through service in Appalachia.”

UNC was one of a handful of schools there to volunteer with CAP for the week. We were split up into different worksites with people from the other schools, so I got to know people from Pennsylvania, Indiana and Iowa!

We slept, ate and prayed at the mission center and we were well taken care of! A fabulous team of women called the “kitchen ladies” made the most amazing food that we looked forward to after a long day at work.

Wakeup time was 6:00 every day, followed by breakfast, devotion/prayer time and a pep talk that got us warmed up for the day. Then it was off to each of our worksites!

My team was supervised by our fearless leaders Tony and Myron, who were extremely experienced, skilled and patient with us as we learned how to use power tools (a big highlight of the week). We got to work with Angie at her house, who was the sweetest soul! She represented the love of Christ so beautifully and it was so worthwhile getting to know her and help her repair different parts of her house.

We had a lot to take on during our four days of work, and I think we accomplished a lot! During our time at Angie’s house, we hung three doors, replaced her kitchen counter, put new flooring in two rooms, leveled the foundation and flooring in her bedroom and built her new stairs off of her porch! The work was hard, but so much fun. I got to use several fun tools (a couple of saws, drills, etc.) that made me feel pretty badass (that’s the best way I can describe it, sorry!)

One of the best parts of the whole week was that the whole experience was centered around prayer. We began and ended our days at the mission center with prayer, started our work day at the site praying with Angie and finished up work each day praying before we left. That made such a big difference! To interweave God through this project allowed it to take on a deeper meaning for us — our team got closer with each other and with Angie, especially because of the conversations we had about our faith throughout the week.

I also grew closer with my UNC friends on the trip through our free time that we spent together playing games, eating authentic Kentucky barbeque and trying to win a stuffed animal from multiple claw machines (sometimes successful, sometimes not).

By the end of the week, I was exhausted — but in the best way! I’m so happy I decided to participate in this alternative spring break trip this year. It exceeded my expectations and connected me with people that I would have never met otherwise.

I am so grateful for CAP and the amazing work they do, UNC Newman for providing me the opportunity to go on this trip with my awesome friends and to God for putting me in the right place at the right time to do this!

So yes, my spring break story was slow to hit the blog — but I promise you, I’ve thought about the trip almost every day since I left Kentucky.