Dear Jessie,

I thought about what I wanted to write my final senior column on for a long time. Should I write a heartwarming piece of nostalgia, asking campus to take advantage of all Duke has to offer? Should I attempt to be funny, promptly resulting in a collective campus eye-roll? Truth be told, I'm just not a good enough writer to pull either of those ideas off.

So what can I do? It's a question that many ask themselves when they first arrive on Duke's campus. I asked myself that very question during President Brodhead's commencement speech in the Chapel freshman year.

Over the course of my college career, I found that my path led me to media. I became the president of Duke Student Broadcasting, a columnist for the sports section of the Chronicle, a co-host of a sports show on WXDU and a student videographer for the Office of News and Communications. I've met athletes, politicians, musicians, entrepreneurs, the whole shebang. You should have seen how excited I was when I met Smash Mouth... it was one of the few times in my life I was actually nervous about what to say.

Hard to believe I could ever be speechless, I know.

But how does any of this pertain to you? The point is to show you that even when you think you're a step behind the pack, you're simply walking to your own beat. For me, it's media, for you, it’s math. God knows why you chose math as a freshman at Duke, but what the hell, you chose math. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Despite being college students, you and I still seem to do things reminiscent of when we were little. I remember that during our long car rides, we would listen to mom's music and make up our own dances to the songs just to pass the time. Who would have thought that over a decade later, you and I would do a choreographed routine to "Gas Pedal" on the bar at Shooters that would have made Sage the Gemini proud. Or embarrassed. Actually, it probably would have prompted a shake-my-head response, but it'd be pretty fun to meet him, wouldn't it?

Of course, there's also the singing, or at least an attempt at it. Not many would expect a 21-year-old man and his sister to belt out "Let It Go" from Frozen, "Breaking Free" from High School Musical or pretty much any popular Disney song. And yet here you and I are, shouting the lyrics day after day, night after night.

We have a lot in common, but the beauty of Duke is that there are so many different options that help shape student identities. For the first time in our academic lives, since we have attended the same schools every step of the way, you don't need to follow the same path as I did in my four years at Duke. I ate at The Loop a lot; you may choose ABP. I lived on West Campus for two years; you may never live there. I spent a lot of time with a camera turned towards other people; you prefer using cameras to take a lot of selfies.

You and I have wanted to be Duke Blue Devils since we started academic school. We were both fortunate enough to be accepted to this top-10 university. I can say that, without a doubt, coming here was one of the best decisions of my life, and having you here made it that much better.

I love you Jessie, and I'm going to miss seeing you every day. You're one of the coolest, brightest and most fun people I know and your next three years as an undergraduate are going to be some of the best years of your life. Cherish every moment of it.

And if you ever need me, big brother is always just a phone call away.

Speed up, gas pedal.



Danny Nolan is a Trinity senior and former sports columnist for The Chronicle. He'd like to thank his thousands of readers for sticking with him over the years.