To the incoming class of 2016:
First of all – congratulations on getting into Duke, a school that is in extreme demand among all you bright folks. Over 31,000 high achievers–high grades, high SAT scores, high altitude mountaineers, &c. – applied, and, what, 11% of are in. Cheers.
Secondly, you make me feel very old.
I am a senior here, enjoying the first weeks of consistent spring weather in Durham and the last weeks of Duke Life. I received my Duke acceptance in a Chicago hotel room four years ago—it was North Pole cold, I was visiting a couple of unhappy-seeming schools and I promptly got food poisoning from some tacos of unknown origin.
Suffice it to say I was eager to accept the offer.
In the weeks after, two emotions ran rampant: elation and relief. It had been a testing journey to that letter. I applied early decision, was deferred, and worked like a man possessed to prove to Duke that I belonged in the flock. Your journeys to this decision have all been similarly textured, I’m sure. But now you’re in, and by God you should celebrate.
As you come down from that cloud in a few weeks, though, heed a few points of counsel from a seasoned senior.
I am a little shaken at the thought of leaving this place, but Duke has prepared me thoroughly for the next step. I’m excited you’ll all be here soon to take the reins.
Again, congratulations. You will all do great things.
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