Welcome to the Opinion section. If you’re anything like me, regardless of how long it may take you, you’ll find your way here.
My trajectory to the editorial pages has certainly not been direct. When I first opened The Chronicle, it was the opinion pages that attracted me most. I remember reading Linda Oliver Grape’s heartbreaking column about her son, a former senior who had died as a result of a drunk driving accident that fall. The piece still makes me cry today. But in that same paper was Lillie Reed’s scathing, hilarious take on the flaws of the FAC system. Both were important parts of Duke culture in very different ways, and both opened me up to the possibilities implicit in simply writing down one’s opinion.
Still, contrary to my own belief, I did not run off and become the most opinionated columnist ever to walk through the Gothic Wonderland. I approached that year’s Editorial Pages Editor, begging her to let me be a columnist, only to hear that I would have to wait until second semester. Wait, I could not do. So I became a news writer and I loved it. I talked to famous professors, hardworking students and local leaders. I traveled to Raleigh for a fast food worker’s protest, I explored downtown Durham for a protest against U.S. involvement in Syria and I became the “campus crime” girl, always on hand to deal with the latest crazy Duke Alert.
But now, as a rising junior, coming back to Opinion feels like coming home. We are the heart and soul of The Chronicle. We are a place for the Duke community to vocalize their roles as activists, as professionals, as philosophers and, most of all, as humans. At a large research University, it is easy to see the honors and lose sight of the people behind them.
That amazing girl in your Organic Chemistry class who aces every test? She spends her days thinking about the human condition. That brilliant professor who seems to have all the right ideas? He is secretly a devout Law and Order fan. That football player sweating away in Wallace Wade? He reads Jane Austen before he goes to bed.
One of the greatest things about a school like Duke is its ability to introduce you to shockingly intelligent people who are more than meets the eye. We do not all fit into the tight stereotypes and labels we choose to give ourselves. So it is truly thrilling when we can look past those to see someone’s true self.
If the Opinion section has an official purpose, it is to spark campus dialogue. But, in my mind and in my hands, I hope it also serves to elucidate your own thoughts. By exposing our deepest beliefs, I hope we bring you closer to discovering who you are. Ultimately, that is what college—and Opinion—is about.
Unfortunately, I cannot practice what I preach. It probably comes as no surprise that I myself am nowhere near close to figuring out who I am. When people ask me what I want to do when I grow up, I spout off lists of careers I might want to pursue—emphasis on the might.
It seems like maybe I should open the paper once in a while and check out the Opinion section. But I sure hope you will, too.
Elizabeth Djinis is a Trinity junior and the Editorial Pages Editor.