The independent news organization of Duke University

Now or never

Editor's note

As a senior with graduation fast approaching, every moment inevitably becomes a “last” or a “close to last.” A little less than a month ago, I celebrated my last “First Day of Classes”—FDOC for those in the know.

And yet, despite all the finality, I am still waiting for it to sink in. I’m graduating. I won’t live on Duke’s campus anymore. Suddenly I’m going to become an alumna of my home for the past four years. All I can say is: oh geez.

To stave off all the sadness that comes with realizing graduation is real, I have compiled a “senior year bucket list.” Each week, I am attempting to go to a new place, eat at a new restaurant or try a new thing that I haven’t done before. And one of my big ones was—you guessed it—karaoke.

Whenever I think of karaoke, I always remember the timeless work-party karaoke scene from “500 Days of Summer.” I like to picture myself as a pseudo-Zooey Deschanel who gets on stage, belts out a song and everyone’s like “Whoa, you’re like a semi-okay singer.” Also, I meet Joseph Gordon-Levitt and fall in love with him. You know, these are all very achievable goals.

A few weekends ago, my friends decided to make this goal a reality in the form of a karaoke party. Admittedly, I wasn’t the reason for the party, but I was going to take full advantage of the opportunity. I started preparing early, practicing Adele’s “When We Were Young” any time I could. In the shower? Done. In the car on my way to class? Yeah, I was belting. I even slow-jammed a few times in front of the mirror. I was ready to knock this out of the park.

But when the night came, I wasn’t ready. I opted out of the party, my friends opted out of karaoke, and the best laid plans of mice and men, or just me, went awry. I told myself the moment would present itself when I was ready. My friends would throw another party. I would find another perfect Adele song. (All of her songs are perfect, so I wasn’t worried.) I shrugged it off.

Evidently, I didn’t realize what was in store for me. On Saturday night, my friends and I found ourselves at Sati’s after we were deterred from Shooters because of a long line and frigid cold. We opened the door eager for nachos and some warmth, but were shocked to find some legit karaoke going on.

My eyes widened. Here was my chance. With my Saturday night-infused courage in tow, I immediately strutted up to the karaoke attendant and asked for the song menu. My friend and I decided on a classic duet—the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.”

Song after song passed, and they never called our name. I was convinced that I’d have to wait for karaoke again. But then I heard it: “Patrick and Elizabeth.” It was time.

We had recruited two more friends in the process, and we approached the makeshift stage in front of an audience of probably 30 people. They handed us the microphones, and I gulped a bit with nerves. It was now or never.

The opening bars played. “You are my fire,” I tentatively sang. Come on, you can do this, I told myself. “My one desire,” I started pointing to the audience. “Believe when I say, I WANT IT THAT WAY.”

That was it. The audience practically evaporated in front of me, and it was just me and the mirror. At first, people just smiled, but slowly they started singing along. They danced with us. My friends and I were actually performers. This was crazy.

By the end, I was sure my dreams had come true. People high-fived me and told me what a great job we had all done. This was what I wanted.

But more importantly, I realized that this was how I wanted to live my life. I didn’t want to be afraid of what other people thought. I didn’t want to sing the Backstreet Boys tentatively, I wanted to sing it at the top of my lungs. I wanted to be the girl who sang karaoke on a random Saturday night, not the girl who said “maybe later.”

Last weekend, I was.

Elizabeth Djinis is a Trinity senior and the Recess managing editor. 

Discussion

Share and discuss “Now or never” on social media.