Recruitment and rush have always been my favorite and least favorite times of year on campus. Like most days at Duke, every day during recruitment feels like a year, since everyone’s running off from one flurry of social events to the next. Some of us are trying to go to our classes, but many of us are there in physical form only. Our minds are somewhere else.
This rush of excitement and activity—see what I did there?—instigates two emotions in me: anticipation and anxiety. Part of me is like a kid in a candy shop: new school supplies and new friends and parties and fun, oh my?! The other part of me thinks it would be nice to spend a whole day holed up in my room watching “Grey’s Anatomy” on repeat. (Full disclosure—I might have done that last night.) Staying sane in this type of climate is almost impossible. Seriously, I’m a senior, and I’m shocked I’ve survived three years of this. So, in honor of the fact that we are all simply struggling just to stay afloat, regardless of whether we pretend to feel otherwise, I am offering a list of “thank you’s” to the people and the things that have helped me the most.
First and foremost, to my mom and dad, thank you for fielding my many tearful phone calls. They range from the “I got a bad grade on a test” tears to the “I hate all my friends, and they all hate me” tears to the “my car won’t work and there are fruit flies in my apartment and I’m so stressed” tears. Whoever said college was fun forgot about all the times that college isn’t fun.
To my friends, thank you for accepting my seven texts in a row, usually including just emojis or just punctuation “!!!” or “?!?!?!,” and not judging me for my panicked 3 a.m. Facebook messages. Or if you judge me, thanks for not telling me about it at the time. Suspended judgment is a perk of a good friendship.
To my car, thank you for being a safe haven in the cold, the heat and just pure exhaustion. Sometimes I feel like my car is a person. It’s the best. It holds all my trash, my bags and my old coffee containers, and it doesn’t even complain. That’s more than I can say for most people.
To my car radio, you are my savior. Belting out tunes in my car is basically the antidote to a stressful school day or a fight with a friend. Crying in my car is also a personal favorite, mostly because my despair is somehow simultaneously muffled and amplified by the tight, four-door space in which I am crying.
To the gym and, specifically, the treadmill, thank you for letting me run and pretend I’m doing it to get fit when we all know I’m doing it so I can tell my friends I went to the gym. Or better yet, Snapchat them from the gym. Then they’ll have to see it and know that it’s real.
To my classes, thank you for being a place where I can time travel to Ancient Rome one minute and Victorian England the next. Yes, sometimes I could use a few more cups of coffee or a little less discussion, but when I am focusing, it’s the best hour and 25 minutes of my day.
To Vondy, thank you for being an angelic glass box space of happy coffee and people-watching. When I say I’m working in Vondy, most times I mean I’m going to rate people’s sweater-boots combination and occasionally glance at my laptop screen.
I say all my thank you’s not to prove just how together I am, but instead to prove just how together I am not. Sometimes I feel like Duke is all about exteriors: not just what someone looks like but what image they offer of themselves. After four years here, I’ve learned that almost everyone is struggling with something. We all have our little coping mechanisms that get us through the day, our routines that give us faith that tomorrow will be better. Whatever they may be, I hope you realize that we all have them. And when it gets really hard, sometimes just having those can be enough.
Happy Spring semester, everyone.
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Elizabeth Djinis is a Trinity senior and the Recess managing editor.