After an incredible Last Day of Classes, knocking out my final exams and enjoying a few days at the beach, I arrived back in Durham for this year’s commencement activities. It was an incredible week for reflection; Duke is like Disney World when you don’t have any classes to attend, so I was in the happiest state of mind. I enjoyed walks through the Gardens, leisurely lunches at the Refectory, and just sitting on the Plaza paired with good conversation. With my fellow Juniors (well, I guess we’re Seniors now!), I compiled a Bucket List of things we want to see, do, and eat before next May. With my beloved graduates, I toasted great memories and planned for Homecoming returns.
As a Resident Assistant, I was lucky enough to hang around for graduation, and what a treat it was. I thought I would spend most of the week fighting back tears, but it turns out I was only partially right. Throughout the week I held it together pretty well; I spent lots of time with the graduates, laughing, reminiscing, and meeting family… It wasn’t until I saw them dressed in cap and gown that things started to set in. They were leaving, and I was going to be a Senior soon. Their days were up and my days were numbered. Initiate panic attack.
As I put together a scrapbook for a close graduating friend, I had a bit of time for personal reflection. The graduates had welcomed me onto campus, showed me the way, told me what to do and what not to do, let me learn from their mistakes and make my own every now and then, too. It’s difficult to imagine campus without them, but I’m comforted knowing that they helped me to make Duke University my home, and that they’re always just a plane or car ride away.
To the Class of 2012: thank you for shaping my experiences thus far at Duke. Thank you for making me laugh, keeping me sane, driving me around, and teaching me how to cheer in Cameron Indoor. Thank you for showing me the incredible things I can do now as a Duke student, and later as a Duke graduate. Thank you for welcoming me into your Duke, and helping me to create my Duke. Know that I’ll be awaiting your return in this Gothic Wonderland, right where you left me.
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