Letter from the editors

Our holiday memories at Duke comprise quite a sentimental montage. When it snowed in November our freshman year, all of Caitlin’s dorm rushed outside to revel in the unexpected snowfall, none more so than students like herself from warm-weather states. We’ve exchanged secret Santa gifts with college roommates, and gorged on cookies and cheese at the annual holiday party at the Nasher.

As the holiday season of our senior year approaches, we’re grappling with a strange, new reality. This is the last Christmas we will celebrate as college students.

There are so many aspects of the holidays that are unique to Duke, and suddenly we’re wondering which we will miss the most after we’ve graduated.

Next Christmas, we won’t get three weeks off. We might get a couple of days, tops, or have to use our vacation time. We’ll be responsible for paying for all of our Christmas gifts. Public service announcement to our friends: say goodbye to pricey Christmas presents. For now, at least.

Will we be able to get home at all? If Ashley decides to go to vet school at University of Melbourne in Australia, she’ll be on summer vacation enjoying the reversed seasons on the beach. Caitlin will be employed somewhere… hopefully!

But before we worry about that, we get to savor the holidays at Duke one last time. In the spirit of our last holiday season here, our issue is inspired by Duke traditions that we cherish, from Durham’s ever-burgeoning food scene to the stress and consequent fiascos of exam season (p. 30).

Lauren Carroll showed us where Dukies get their Christmas trees (p. 5), and we learned about holiday cultures from around the world in our Watch List (p. 8). Eating is an integral aspect of any holiday tradition, so Emily Feng looked at what makes Durham the tastiest town in the South (p. 15).

We delved into relationships that are often overlooked in Kasper Kubica’s story about friendships between Duke’s transportation staff and students who ride the buses (p. 22). Our cover story features revealing interviews with three former mascots and the current Blue Devil himself, one of the most iconic members of the Duke community (p. 18). Brandon Levy’s profile of the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Sciences helped us understand how we make choices about our everyday lives (p. 10). But Jamie Moon shows that decision sciences aren’t the only things that are interdisciplinary at Duke in her exploration of Duke’s dance program (p. 26).

We have to conquer finals week, but we’ll be celebrating along the way. Chin up, everyone, and happy holidays!


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