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Duke, you make me proud

I’m sure that you’ve all noticed that Duke bashing is quite popular among your peers. These very back pages are filled with it, and I’m just as guilty as any other columnist. Whether its professors, fellow students, administrators, security officers or rambunctious cats, we love to pick on our school.

There are definitely many things that are not quite right within our Gothic Wonderland and the only way to fix them is to address them. I must admit, though, that after a whole semester it’s beginning to wear on me.

As we begin to study for finals and write research papers, I think it is important that we are reminded of why we do this. Why do we spend an incredibly large sum of money and endless hours studying at this place that we all seem to have a high level of dissatisfaction with?

This question often creeps into my head, usually after I’ve done particularly poorly on an exam or paper, after agreeing with a strongly anti-Duke article or after the administration has made a bad policy even worse. Then I get in a bad mood, mope around and think about all the other colleges I’d be happier at.

Most of the time, I do come to the conclusion that Duke is not so bad after all. There are many things that help me realize this: My friends, that class I actually enjoy going to, the sheer number of my peers who are really freaking smart or that really fun weekend I just had.

There are also things that make me feel proud to go to Duke. Some of them are normal, some are a little strange. I want to share them with you so that maybe in the last leg of the semester, you can take pride in this institution that makes you work your ass off. So, in no particular order, things that make me proud to go to Duke…

  1. Duke basketball — When people think of college basketball, they think of Duke. If I tell someone I go to Duke, they say “great basketball” just as often as they say “great academics.” Whether I am cheering in Cameron or screaming at the television, Duke basketball fills me with pride. So many people hate us, and that makes it even better. My friend at Maryland asked her roommate for a shot glass. Expecting a Terrapin logo, she instead received one that proclaimed “F--- Duke.” We are their most hated enemy, but they are barely on our radar. And we get to go to games for free! Go Blue Devils.

  2. Tailgate — While the Duke football tradition is not currently one we are exceptionally proud of, the tailgate tradition is. Essentially a massive, school-wide Halloween party that occurs in broad daylight, tailgate has a little something for everyone (including some parents and even grandparents). I like to imagine that nothing like it exists at other schools. I’m sure it does, but still, tailgate rules.

  3. The Chapel Bells — Last semester I had a class that ended at 5:10 p.m. in the Gray Building. For the last 10 minutes of class, we could hear the Chapel bells ring. When I walked out of class, no matter how boring it was, one look at the Chapel with its bells chiming beautifully made me feel incredibly smart and incredibly happy to be here. Sounds lame, I know. Just try it.

  4. The Benches — None of the schools I’ve been to have benches like ours. My friends from home just don’t get it. Whether doing homework, hanging out or staring at passersby, the benches are the perfect locale. I made many of my friends on the Alspaugh bench last year, and the benches continue to be an awesome place to chill. They look pretty cool, too.

  5. Textbooks — At risk of sounding like a giant loser, I love when I encounter Duke in my textbooks. I am reminded of what an outstanding university I attend when my text tells me that an amazing science innovation was invented or groundbreaking research occurred at Duke University.

Maybe these things don’t really do it for you as far as Duke pride goes, but remembering what you love about Duke just might be what gets you through finals week.

Lauren Fischetti is a Trinity sophomore.

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