Upon exploring the ever-popular college section of Barnes and Noble, I found myself, once again, browsing through those infamous college books. You remember those ones from high school that enthralled your attention? The "100 Top Best Ultimate Colleges in the History of Time" books that either filled you with a swirling sense of pride for Alma Mater or left you with a grand distaste for the author's ignorance. Instinctively, I checked out Duke. Awaiting the stereotypical quotes of "Harvard of the South" and "Best All-Around," I was surprised, if not utterly shocked, to discover that one particular author had found that Duke students, with all of our quirks,"Love Durham, North Carolina." Now this is the part of the movie where the music comes screeching to a halt, the lights dim, and the spotlight shines exclusively upon this confused Dukie. I mean, honestly? Do we love Durham?
To say that I hate Durham would almost be insulting to the word 'hate.' Yet why is it that I, and others, have come to such a harsh conclusion and why is it that I don't have the same affection for Durham that I afford Duke?
Shouldn't this author's conclusion be an accurate portrayal? We have all come to terms with this metropolis and found our social, habitual niche in some way, shape or form. Like no man is an island, no Dur-ham is an island, as well: Duke and Durham are necessary for the other's survival.
What we make of our experiences at Duke is greatly affected by our experiences in the greater community. We live, work and play all at the very same place. It's not necessarily true that Durham has absolutely nothing to offer but more so that there is somewhat of a staleness to our little habitual cycle of Main West, Ninth Street, 15-501 and Southpoint. It's this staleness of the same people, same locale and same activity throughout the entire year that has made me harbor such an unfair resentment for Durham.
However, as many have proposed, strengthening Duke-Durham ties will not suffice to improve the situation. Instead, we need to jazz up this staleness and appreciate what we have by taking a break from Durham and go explore the Triangle.
Summer is perhaps the ideal time to explore the Triangle beyond Durham. And, if my geometry serves me well, with only three corners, there's a lot to do, with not much to miss. As the lazy sunsets and sunrises of summer school bring about a thirst for social venues, try to take this time, otherwise channeled into going to see a movie at Southpoint, Friday's at Sirens or a weekend excursion to D.C. to venture out and explore a virtually unexplored region of the Triangle: Raleigh. This summer I decided to enroll in an N.C. State class through the inter-institutional agreement that Duke has with her neighboring Carolina universities, affording me the pleasure of attending classes in the Capital City. Within the first week of class, not only was I able to find dozens restaurants just in the downtown area, (including three Sushi restaurants--a staple necessity), but an entire array of pubs, lounges, restaurants, bars and clubs that I otherwise would have never considered as an alternative to Parizade's or George's during the normal school year. Albeit that with a lack of an extensive public transportation system, transit to Raleigh is on the order of 25 minutes, and that is only if you have or know someone with a means of transportation.
That being the case, this could also be an ideal opportunity to branch out and meet your summer neighbors. As I was about to leave Barnes and Noble, passing the periodicals, I had come across yet another interesting tidbit about our area. The greater Raleigh-Durham area was recently rated by Forbes magazine as one of the top-10 the best places to live and work in the country. So why not take advantage of a place that's right in our backyard, literally, and find out why Forbes magazine loves this place. Just as much as Raleigh is necessary for Durham, and Durham is necessary for Duke, so should Raleigh be necessary for your Duke experience. By appreciating what is beyond Durham can we begin to appreciate Durham.
Charlie Gomez is a Pratt senior.