Get in the best cardio condition of your life before you even walk through the door. You'll quickly realize it wasn't good enough especially when you start rolling.
Check out your school/gym thoroughly . Some places love to sign you to a contract then use you for a heavy bag 'til you quit.
Make sure your coach and training partners know about any and all injuries you're concerned with. they don't want to hurt you.
Make sure you have med insurance. You will get hurt.
Don't load up on equipment before you pick a gym. They need that money.
Pay the extra money for a GOOD mouthpiece. It's worth it.
I don't know anything about Raleigh but there are a couple of first class gyms right down the road in wilmington.
Champion mma and evolution mma both have instructors who have trained with the best in the world.
Have fun and keep your hands up!