A streak of sentimentality has run through our editors’ notes, perhaps because Ashley and Caitlin are seniors, but this one will be different.
Let’s be realistic. There are plenty of things about Duke that we’re looking forward to leave behind. We’re don’t necessarily mean “hook-up culture” or “effortless perfection.” We’re talking about inherent complexities and dilemmas of our everyday lives at Duke that we absolutely will not miss.
1) Being surrounded by people who are all at the same place in life. The relative homogeneity of the Duke student body, especially with regards to age, means that we’re all making the same transitions at the exact same time. Questions like “what are you doing next year?” are guaranteed stress-triggers that induce fake smiles and canned answers.
Ashley is ready to be rid of classes full of pre-meds, stressing about MCATs or asking if she applied to 25 medical schools, especially since she’s going to vet school and they’re not the same thing. Also, you can save lives without having a A+ in every organic-micro-biochemistry-physics class you take.
2) Fun comes at a price. When we put our emotional well-being first and carve out time to hang out with friends, go out to new restaurants, etc., we’re constantly aware that we’re using up time that could be devoted to other commitments. No matter how sincere our intent to set everything aside, it can be difficult to squash the nagging doubt that says, “you’re going to regret being behind on your work tomorrow.”
Here’s how such a scenario plays out in real life. Caitlin felt compelled to leave a Saturday reunion dinner for her DukeEngage Togo group because she had to write an essay about The Scarlet Letter. Her friend asked, “what do you have to do,” in a flat tone suggesting, “what could possibly be so urgent that you have to leave early on a Saturday night?” She chose to stay. But she was torn about her decision, and her paper didn’t get done that night.
3) Being broke and dependent. In the world of a graduating senior, fun also comes at a different kind of price. With the uncertainty of Caitlin’s future career path and the certainty of massive graduate school debt for Ashley, our pockets are looking less than full next year.
In our Editor’s Note, we’re obviously choosing to look at Duke from a cynical point of view. But perspective is subjective, and the personal pieces throughout our issue offer various points of view. David Rothschild, Trinity ‘12, shares his fond memories of Ben Ward, senior Chelsea Sawicki reflects on her personal encounters with street art around the world, and junior Sophia Durand reflects on her experiences as a Third Culture Kid.
Springtime is here. Good bye, and good riddance.
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