25 Unmistakable Signs You Go to NC State

NC State is special. Not only is it located in Raleigh — North Carolina’s state capital, which always ranks among the best places to live  — it is a world-famous university that is known for its strong academic programs and extremely loyal fan base.

Here are 25 signs that you’re an NC State student (or 25 tips to help you act like you’ve been going to this college for decades).

1. You know no other ice cream compares with Howling Cow.

Not to brag, but the world’s best ice cream is made right here on campus. Okay, it’s at least North Carolina’s best ice cream, since it’s been featured in Our State magazine in 2014Walter magazine in 2013, and the North Carolina State Fair every year.

If you will be attending NC State, make sure you try the Chancellor’s Choice (Wolf Tracks), and get a pint from the Creamery, the only place on campus that gives you ice cream for a meal swipe.

wolf tracks ice cream in a cup

2. You’re an expert on the best places to sit at football games.

Football games are an all-day event at NC State. The day starts with tailgating and the Walk of Champions — where the Power Sound of the South (NC State’s marching band), cheerleaders, and dance team welcome the football team and hype up the crowd even more — or with waiting outside the gate for the best student seats in the stadium. It’s not uncommon to see people dressed up or donning full body paint.

If you want to fight for a front row spot, you should get to Carter-Finley Stadium several hours before kickoff. Avoid the end zones if you’re not wearing sunscreen — awkward sunburn for days.

NC State football field on a bright, sunny day

3. You think Cookout is better than Chargrill and In-N-Out Burger.

Cookout is a fast food restaurant with hands down the best deal: The Cookout Tray. It’s a sandwich, two sides (which include corn dogs and hush puppies), and a drink. Substitute the drink for a gigantic milkshake, and the whole thing is just $6. (Chargrill is the Raleigh equivalent of In-N-Out.)

Sign above the Cookout menu at NC State University

4. You pick fights with UNC students about which school is better.

But we both know NC State is the better choice. Any State-Carolina game is a big deal, but things get crazy during football and basketball season.

Here’s a gem from the State-Carolina basketball game at PNC Arena this past season: “We were friends before college but she picked the wrong school.”

a state student holding a sign at a basketball game

5. You own about a thousand red shirts.

Between the free shirts you get at campus events to the nicer red shirts you get as gifts, you have enough NC State t-shirts to last you for years. Searching for your favorite red shirt, though, is a nightmare.

a stack of red t-shirts

6. You run out of Dining Dollars faster than clean clothes.

Dining Dollars (formerly called Board Bucks) are part of your student meal plan and can pay for (expensive) snacks at the C-Stores around campus, or for Howling Cow ice cream and Yates Mill Bakery items at Talley Market in the student center.

chips and frozen food in the Talley C-Store

7. You know it’s impossible to find a seat at Bojangle’s on Thursday nights.

People pack into the Bojangle’s on Western Boulevard after Cru meetings on Thursdays for Cajun fries, biscuits, fried chicken, and sweet tea. (That’s because Western Bojangle is best Bojangle.)

If you’re really not from around here, head to Bojangle’s as soon as you step on campus. NC State students live for Bojangle’s.

fries and a biscuit from Bojangle's

8. You order Pokey Stix every time you go to Gumby’s.

Pokey Stix are basically a cheese pizza sliced in strips, but they’re the perfect cheap late-night snack.

Fun fact: The Gumby’s at NC State is the only one located in North Carolina. The next closest one is almost 500 miles away in State College, Pennsylvania.

exterior of the Gumby's restaurant

9. You love Chick-fil-A.

We have a Chick-fil-A in the Atrium food court beside DH Hill Library. Even though it doesn’t have the full menu, it’s still great because you can get their signature chicken and waffle fries with your meal plan. You just can’t get Chick-fil-A on campus on the weekends. The Atrium closes at 3 PM every Friday for some reason.

There is a 2-story Chick-fil-A in Cameron Village, though.

Chick-Fil-A bag and drink

10. You’ve tripped on a brick while walking across campus.

NC State is probably 95% brick, from the buildings to the walkways to the sculptures next to Burlington Nuclear Labs. Uneven brick surfaces, especially in the Brickyard, are guaranteed to trip you up. But you’re also the expert at walking it off after you do trip.

a brick walkway at ncsu

11. Jimmy V is on your list of inspirational people.

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

Every NC State student knows about Jim Valvano, the memorable coach who took our 1983 basketball “Cinderella” team to victory in the NCAA tournament. Before he passed away after battling cancer, he delivered this unforgettable speech at the first ESPYs in 1993.

Video credit: The V Foundation for Cancer Research

12. You’ve rolled down the ramp in Harrelson on a swivel chair or skateboard.

Harrelson Hall was the first round building ever constructed on a college campus. It was loved at first, and then hated for its pie-shaped classrooms and bathrooms, poor heating and cooling, and circular inner ramp that made you dizzy after just one floor.

It’s currently being demolished. If you missed out on this landmark, check out our previous blog post about three of its unofficial student traditions.

the ramp in harrelson hall at ncsu

13. You wait for the “Cardiac Pack” at every game.

Win or lose, we support our Wofpack. But it’s the final minutes of football and basketball that turn an ordinary game into a historic moment (and get our heart rates a little high).

Hey, we’ve come back from 41-14 to win against Maryland. Remember that? No? Check it out here:

Video credit: ncsu1

14. You thought you would get free tuition if you got hit by a Wolfline bus.

Actually, a lot of NC State students believe this. It’s one of the many persistent rumors floating around campus. The Technician wrote an article debunking this myth in 2014.

a pile of dollar bills

15. You’ve attempted the Krispy Kreme Challenge with your friends in costume.

Every February since 2005, thousands of NC State students and long-time Raleigh residents have done the Krispy Kreme Challenge for charity. Everyone races from the Belltower to the Krispy Kreme in Downtown Raleigh, scarfs down a dozen glazed donuts, and then runs back to the Belltower. Or, as the race website puts it perfectly:

2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour.

A lot of people actually complete the challenge, many dressed in costumes. But a lot of people just walk the race route and take the donuts home.

Video credit: The News & Observer

16. You hate signing up for classes.

On a scale of one to Hunger Games, signing up for next semester’s classes is a nightmare. If your signup slot is much later in the semester, your perfect schedule is shot.

someone hunched over a computer

17. You know exactly where to find the only Pepsi products on campus.

If you need to satisfy your Pepsi craving, head to the 1911 Building Snack Bar for your choice of soda and other snacks.

Fun fact: The snack bar is not owned by NC State, and it doesn’t take meal swipes (only cash). It’s existed for more than three decades and is funded by a program through NC Division of Services for the Blind, according to this Technician article.

brick exterior of NC State's 1911 Building

18. You have “Wagon Wheel” stuck in your head after every football game.

You can count on hearing “Wagon Wheel” over the PA system in Carter-Finley Stadium after the football team has left and we’ve sung the Alma Mater.

You also tell everyone you meet that the Old Crow Medicine Show’s version is far superior to the Darius Rucker cover. But this cover by our own Chancellor Randy Woodson and Scotty McCreery at Packapalooza 2013 beats everything.

Video credit: NCState

19. You have gone to the epic snowball fights at the Court of Carolinas.

When it actually snows enough (and it rarely ever does), the Court of Carolinas becomes a stage for the best snowball fight on campus. It’s not uncommon to find people snowboarding down the hill and jumping the brick wall to the lawn.

NC State students in the snow at Court of Carolinas

20. Hanging out in your Eno is the best way to relax.

When the weather is nice, everyone brings out their Enos. NC State students hang out everywhere, from the beach between Tucker and Owen Residence Hall to the Court of Carolinas, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

the court of carolinas on a sunny day

21. You visit campus events just for the free stuff.

Broke college kids appreciate free things. Most of NC State’s events, like Packapalooza and Wolfpack Welcome Week, give out free t-shirts, sunglasses, food, you name it. Of course, campus events are also great places to meet friends if you’re a commuter student.

crowd of people on Hillsborough Street

22. Your favorite line of “Red and White” is “go to hell, Carolina.”

Technically, “Red and White” doesn’t even have that line in it. The song’s original lyrics — created in 1961 by J. Perry Watson, former director of the NC State music department — are:

We’re the Red and White from State
And we know we are the best
A hand behind our back
We can take on all the rest
Come over the hill, Caroline
Devils and Deacs stand in line
The Red and White from NC State
Go State!

But according to this news article, he totally expected the change. It’s the most prominent line in the entire song when it’s shouted at State-Carolina football, basketball, and other games.

Carter-Finley Stadium during a game

23. You can’t wait to pass the Belltower after a win to see it lit red.

Anytime NC State wins a game, or anytime the university celebrates special occasions and achievements, the Belltower lights up bright red at night. It’s a popular tradition that has its own Light It Up shirts.

view of NC State's belltower from below

24. Your go-to for pizza is I ♥ NY Pizza.

Out of all the pizza places near NC State — Brixx in Cameron Village, Checkers on Hillsborough Street, and Papa John’s in Mission Valley — I ♥ NY Pizza has the biggest slices. You could hold it up to your face as a comparison. (You probably already have.)

the patio and dining room of I Heart NY Pizza on Hillsborough Street

25. You know where (almost) everything is around campus.

You know the difference between Withers Hall and Witherspoon. You could tell someone where the nuclear lab and the only non-brick building on campus are located. You could probably point someone to the Bureau of Mines, Laundry Building, or the old student centers, too.

No? Don’t worry. Check out the NC State student commuter guide and you’ll be the expert in no time!

directory of buildings


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