“Let’s Go Duke, Let’s Go Duke!”
The chants rang throughout Cameron Indoor Stadium, home to Blue Devil Basketball, Cameron Crazies, and the legendary Coach K. I was tightly packed into the first row of the student section after waiting with my group in K-ville for 7 hours. A Duke game was always worth the wait. The whistle sounded, and I watched Allen, Bagley, and Carter lead the team to another victory.
Joining the basketball craze has been one of my favorite parts of Duke, but the first semester was not always smooth sailing. For a quick recap:
Going in to Duke, I was given little advice on classes to take, and I ended up taking three extremely hard weed-out classes: Economics 101, Statistics 111, and Calculus 122 (the most failed class at Duke), and a Writing 101 class on Documentaries. Suffice to say I had many breakdowns over the months. The classes were harder than anything I’d experienced, there wasn’t enough time in the day to do everything I wished, and worst of all, all the hard work I was putting in could hardly get me a 50% on a midterm.
Despite this, I learned a lot, in my classes yes, but especially about myself. Duke is guaranteed to do two things to you, no matter who you are. The first of which is: Duke humbles you. These tough classes finally taught me to let go of the high expectations I once had, and though I would have still liked to do well in my classes, I could no longer place my value in my grades, which I always subconsciously did. Because of these classes, I finally learned to let go of this constant academic pressure I always placed upon myself. And once I did, I enjoyed college so much more, and grew to appreciate my classes for what they were. My professors were fantastic for all my classes too, which really helped.
The first two months were some the most exhausting, isolating, uncomfortable and tough times I’ve ever experienced. I joked that I just seemed to meet the worst people; I experienced many passive aggressive, selfish situations. Many times I would ask a classmate for help and be completely rejected. It was a situation I had never experienced.
Additionally, everyone really loses their minds in college. Wednesday night Shooters, Thursday night Devines, Friday night Frat Parties, Saturday Darties and Shooters. It seemed like the parties never stopped, and I’ve never been one for going out, so the constant stream of people going out made college that much harder. It’s very easy to get sucked in without the right community, and at the beginning I felt as though no one was like me. People with my values seemed like a minority. All I wanted to do was go home. I missed my friends and my family much more than I had imagined. When I went back to Austin for Fall break, I cried from the airplane the minute I saw the city’s lights shining in the night sky, and I cried each time I saw my old friends.
However, my saving grace came through Cru, an on-campus Christian organization. Through Cru, I met an amazing discipleship mentor and partner, as well as a really solid community that took me in, invested in my life, and became like a real family. When I told myself I was going to commit my time to Cru and invest in my relationships there, that’s when I began to accept Duke as home.
There are so many extracurricular things to do at Duke that it’s so difficult to choose what to fill your time with. My favorite thing I’ve joined is Duke’s magazine FORM, where I work in PR and Marketing, especially with the online publication, though I also write part of the Duke Political Review’s 60 Seconds update each week. I especially love FORM because it is a creative outlet and provides incredible experience. Also, it’s an amazing feeling to see your organization come together to create something you’re very proud of.
College is hard. I wanted to transfer, and nearly started the application. However, Duke has changed me, and I believe for the better. Community has been so important in my growth. I also realized that when everything is changing, the only reason I was able to persevere was because I relied more and more on God each day. The Bible verse Ephesians 3:16-19 and the album “Simple Gospel” by United Pursuit are two things that I looked at/listened to everyday to remind me of God’s intentionality and faithfulness, that things would always get better.
Duke is guaranteed to do two things to every person that enters its Gothic walls: it will humble you and it will change you. Your reactions define the type of person you will become.
As far as my plans for next semester, I’m taking five classes I’m super excited about: Intro to Psychology, Intro to Digital Photography, Arts Entrepreneurship, Political Communications in a Social World, and Intro to Policy Analysis. Also, rush and tenting begin in the Spring. It’s about to be an eventful few months!
Now, my friends back home and I typically do highs and lows each day to keep up to date with each other. Here’s the highlight reel:
- Spontaneous Midnight Road Trip to the Beach
- Cru Barn Party and Cru Fall Retreat
- North Carolina State Fair
- Anything Duke Basketball (except the loss to Boston…)
- My Brother’s Visit
- FORM Launch Party
- Going to a friend’s house, watching the snow fall, baking Christmas cookies, and watching Christmas Movie