By ERIN HOLLOWAY
Editor: MICHELLE DANNER
It is often difficult for students to return to their studies after a relaxing break. For many of them, December was a time of celebration, reflection, visiting loved ones in China, or further exploring the United States, Mexico, and Canada. In order to energize our cohort for a productive semester, UPP at NC State hosted a welcome back party on Sunday, January 10th, the day before IEP classes started. A 5-minute walk from their dorms in University Towers, students reconnected with their friends over billiards, darts, ping pong, and snacks at Pantana’s Pool Hall from 4pm to 6pm.
With 10 tables and several dart boards available, students were free to gather in groups of their choosing and chat during the festivities. “I like the pool table,” Xinran Li said. “I played a lot of pool.”
“It’s a way for students to have some entertainment,” Qiang Yang said.
The spring 2016 UPP cohort includes 78 students, 9 of whom are new students. This was also an excellent chance for them to meet returning students and learn from their peers. “I met some of the new students,” returning student Xinyu Huang said, referring to Nianing Xu and Xiaoyu Liu. “The [new] girls are very nice.” All UPP advisors were also in attendance, allowing them a fun way to catch up with their advisees and introduce themselves to the new students.
An improvement from last year’s event was the food selection, catered from Grand Asia Market. Options included bbq pork buns, egg tarts, rice cakes, chocolate koala cookies, and shrimp chips.
“I like the egg tart,” Jiading Zhou said, as he helped himself to one more.
For many of the students, this was the first time they saw many of their UPP friends since exams.
“They dyed their hair!” Han Yang said, referring to several students sporting new blonde, red, and even white hair. “It was good to see my friends after the break.”
The event concluded with a photo session, so students could get pictures taken with their advisor to send to their parents. Overall, most UPP students attended and began the spring semester on a lighthearted note by seeing old friends and making new ones over billiards and snacks.