There are a lot of things people look for in a school – academic merit, desirable location, accessible faculty, diverse community… One factor I didn’t think to consider back when I was applying to college was the element of inconsistency. It’s odd to think that irregularity would be a desirable quality in anything or anyone. However, through the droning academic schedule of a competitive college student develops a desire for excitement, distraction, and spontaneity.
While the degree of variation is completely up to the discretion of the student himself, Duke provides a platform for variance in so many ways. My life as a freshman on campus differed significantly from my life as a sophomore, as a study abroad student, and as a now returning junior, too. It’s not to say that my identity has changed, that I can’t keep a friend, or that I’ve changed my major 25 times. In fact, none of that is true. I have maintained the same close-knit group of friends that I made about midway through freshman year, I’ve kept the same career path I declared on my application back in November of 2008, and I’ve stayed very true to the me I try to be. But the abundance of social and extracurricular activities on campus has made this the most tumultuous and unpredictable time of my life. Here’s my experience in a nutshell:
I move into Bassett Hall as a first-year. I join the House Council, and I start making friends.
I join a sorority, introducing me to a whole new world of people that have made my Duke experience what it is today.
I join Campus Council, a residential student government organization that connects me to administrators and involved peers.
I lose a friend. The school unites behind the loss of one of its best and brightest, bringing hope to a horrific situation. I am now more intentional in everything I do.
I break my nose playing powderpuff football. Just an example of the way I’ve kept things interesting, and it’s always a great story to tell.
I join the First-year Advisory Council Board. Once again, a door is opened to a world of motivated and enthusiastic people that make my life worth living.
Campus Council is dissolved. An organization that I was dependent on as a source for friendship, a connection to the administration, and a creative outlet is dissolved into the already-existing student government. I reevaluate my campus involvement.
I join the LDOC Committee. I help bring Dev and Ludacris to campus for the Last Day of Classes music festival.
I declare my major, meaning I’m done with getting pre-requisites out of the way, and I’m taking classes that I’m really passionate about.
I participate in a DukeEngage program, opening my eyes to the US-Mexican border conflict and allowing me to explore what is wrong in the world, what little is right, and what I can do to change that.
I study abroad. A semester in Spain is equally therapeutic and turbulent. I hardly have to explain how this made my time at Duke a little more interesting.
I return to campus as a Resident Assistant. I’m responsible for 30 students, only 3 of whom I’ve met before. The new faces and new experiences just keep coming.
Some Blue Devils would say my experiences have been nothing like their own, and others would say that we are two peas in a pod (I’m looking at you, Cherry Tran and Shilpi Kumar).
Whether you’re an athlete or a mathlete, an international student or an American, the type who prefers a full plate or the type who prefers a full night’s sleep, Duke is your playground. With every day comes new faces, new ideas, new challenges, and new beginnings.
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