The independent news organization of Duke University

The unknown

This column forces me to come to terms with the fact that I am graduating from college and one step closer to entering the real world and unequivocally being an adult. The fact that we are transitioning to this new phase in life is frightening for many. Perhaps it is because we dread the day when 10 am is no longer considered early and weekend socializing doesn’t start in a dingy saloon on Wednesday night. However, the g-word may scare us because we do not truly know what life has in store for us, yet we know that there is no turning back.

The ironic aspect of that sentiment is the fact that this very same fear of the unknown we have now accompanied many of us when we pulled up to East Campus on that August afternoon in 2010. As a hyperactive posse of Blue Devils in brightly colored T-shirts emptied your car and took it to your new room, Duke represented the unknown, though for different reasons.

For many freshmen, that unknown was their first time living away from the comfort of family.

For others, that unknown was a fear of moving to the American South and all the preconceptions that accompany that.

Some students saw college itself as the unknown since they were the first in their family to go to college.

And for probably the majority of us, the unknown was a fear of not succeeding here, of not making friends and of not knowing what we wanted to do with our lives. It was accepting that what we had always wanted to do with our lives might not be meant for us—whether it was becoming a doctor or professional athlete.

However, the same unknown allows us to completely reinvent ourselves. We have the ability to develop new skills, make different kinds of friends and become the person we desire to be. It was part of that desire to try something different that led me to The Chronicle.

My first on-campus interaction with The Chronicle occurred during freshman Orientation when I attended the second information session the paper held on East Campus. I don’t know why I was interested in writing for the student newspaper. My high school did not have a “real” newspaper and I did not harbor professional aspirations of becoming the next Woodward or Bernstein of my generation. But in the spirit of trying something new and reinventing myself, I decided to write for The Chronicle.

Still, Chronlife isn’t perfect. There is the stress that would inevitably come when the story is due in an hour and you haven’t spoken to half of your contacts—or, on one occasion, the story is due in an hour and no one told you about the story in the first place. Or the occasional complaints you get used to hearing when your friends don’t like an article or editorial someone wrote and they wonder why you did not stop the editors from printing it. But the best part of The Chronicle has been the community of students from a myriad of fields you meet through weekly section meetings, late night copyediting and watchdogging, semiformal and formal dinners, the all-night conclave called Editor Elections and other fun and crazy things that I probably shouldn’t mention (but if you want to learn about it come to 301 Flowers and pick up a story).

The unknown is frightening because we cannot know what it has in store for us. It presents us with a set of challenges and opportunities that we must accept. They may yield success or failure and, sometimes, we have no control over the outcome.

However, it is only by embracing the unknown that we gain the opportunity to find our true selves and grow as human beings. The unknown allows us to get more than we can ever imagine out of life. The unknown in college led us to join clubs, play a new sport, pledge a fraternity or sorority (or partake in “membership development” to be technical) or develop a new passion. After graduation, when we have the entire world at our fingertips—to quote the summer reading book of the graduating class—anything, anything, anything is possible.

Kelly is a Trinity senior and the managing editor for online. He would like to thank everyone who made 301 Flowers a great place to go feel like you were doing important things, even when we were just making memes and avoiding real work

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