Today, we extend a sincere welcome to the hundreds of prospective students on campus who are currently scouring the great expanse of our beloved Gothic Wonderland for Blue Devil Days. Deciding where to matriculate and spend the next four years of one’s life can be understandably a daunting task for many visitors currently on campus. To help the many visitors on campus as they undergo this momentous decision-making process, we present glimpses of “quintessential” experiences of our ever-changing, ever-growing school.
Duke’s entire first-year class, which means the Class of 2021 during the 2017-2018 academic year, is housed on East Campus, about two miles away from the Gothic Wonderland of West Campus. Nan Keohane, Duke’s first and only female president, implemented this first-year housing model in the mid 1990s, and it has subsequently evolved into an integral part of the Duke experience. Being surrounded almost entirely by other first-year students within a separated learning and living community offers many Duke first-year students the unique opportunity to transition communally into what at times can seem like an overwhelming, new experience.
Within the national media, Duke is often touted for its maintenance of elite academics along with a successful Division I sports program. Every year, the Duke-UNC home basketball game attracts hundreds of Duke students to tent within the confines of the now legendary Krzyzewskiville outside Cameron Indoor Stadium—a tradition so popular that a graded exam had to be recently implemented to determine the tenting roster for this year. Despite such extreme obsession displayed by many Cameron Crazies during basketball season, the multifaceted nature of the Duke experience allows for students to channel school spirit into a whole host of other activities outside of sports. Whether it be writing for The Chronicle, playing intramural ultimate Frisbee or joining one of the many Asian dance teams on campus, Duke students exhibit the same level of enthusiasm that is visible in the student section of Cameron.
As an elite national university, Duke attracts a whole host of students from across the United States and world, which facilitates an extremely diverse undergraduate experience unparalleled at most other institutions. Along with such regional diversity, comes a diversity of political and intellectual thought that at times can be frustrating to navigate around. Certain instances of political conflict, whether it be through the invitation for a contentious academic to speak on campus or the requirement of a controversial graphic novel for summer reading, will manifest themselves on campus periodically. As Duke students, it is important to educate oneself on such sensitive issues given the extremely multi-faceted nature of Duke’s large student body.
Choosing the right university to spend the next four formative years requires a consideration of whole host of other factors—cost, location and academics to name a few—before most students are able to finalize their college decisions in the coming month. All things considered, we hope you join our campus in the Fall. Although the Duke experience can sometimes be unnerving at times, it offers a rich, rewarding undergraduate experience to those who choose to enroll here. From our famous lemur colony to our communal pet cat, from jazz nights at the Mary Lou to Springternational on the quad, from our deep roots of Duke tradition to the innovations you will bring to this campus yourself, this Gothic Wonderland will never fail to surprise you.