Graduation was on Saturday, and today I moved out of North Carolina and headed up to New York. I realize that in my last post I failed to reflect on North Carolina as a place where I lived rather than just my program here in North Carolina.
Chapel Hill is a perfectly reasonable location for a university and a graduate program. It is a beautiful area, and I loved a lot of the services, amenities, and activities that the university offered, beyond what I received at the business school. Chapel Hill is small enough to get around and see everyone and everything when you want to. There were many times that I was walking, biking, or taking the bus around campus or in the greater Chapel Hill area and I said to myself or others, “This place is beautiful.”
Sure, the weather is nice. The traffic isn’t bad in this area. The local airport is great, in terms of ease of access and number and destinations of flights. There is a lot to like about Chapel Hill and North Carolina. However, it wasn’t for me. Outside of the university atmosphere, there’s nothing going on in Chapel Hill. There is not much culture, Cat’s Cradle notwithstanding. Durham has got more going on, and so does Raleigh. The restaurants of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are, dare I say it, overrated.
Chapel Hill is also a bit of a contradiction. Outside of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and Charlotte, North Carolina is a southern conservative state. Chapel Hill is all fine and liberal and all, but people seem to revel in it so much they forget the real world. Everyone loves it here for the weather, but they complain when it’s hot, they complain when it’s cold, and they never open their windows and they run the A/C and the heat with reckless abandon. The buses are free, yet no one takes them (instead they complain about the cost of parking). Chapel Hill is really just made for middle class people with cars, and that’s just not me.
This song has a lot of themes. Many of them, particularly the debilitating mental illness and the alcoholism, do not resonate with me, but the undesirability of getting a corporate job in North Carolina certainly does: