My Dad used to listen to this station called 95.7 The Ride all the time growing up. It wasn’t my favorite music (lots of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, etc.) but now that I’ve come to college I made a Spotify playlist with a bunch of ride classics. I find myself listening to that music when I’m missing home and feeling sentimental and also because I’ve realized it’s actually Good.
Something I think about a lot is it’s hard to predict which aspects of my Duke experience will make me most sentimental years from now. One cool part of identity is that sometimes we don’t necessarily realize how an event or experience has impacted our personal development until much later. I think that’s true for me—I’m very aware that I’m a different person than when I entered this place four years ago. I think I will continue to realize the impacts of these four years in the months and years after I graduate.
In my past few times leaving the Chronicle office I’ve thought about the selective nature of memory. What will stick out most to me about the office when I visualize it miles away from Chapel Drive? Will it be the white walls, odd collection of artifacts past editors have left behind, the comfy couches or maybe the carpet that has seen better days?
Unclear. I may not retain all the details held within those walls: quotes from the funny interactions we had with sources and the ridiculous commentary amongst the staff who became my good friends. What I will remember is the freedom I felt in that office to be creative, pitch new ideas and figure out how we could get them to work. They didn’t always, but it was fulfilling when they did.
My phone still autocorrects the word "chron" to "churn" which is funny and I guess is somewhat true because one definition of churn is to move about vigorously. That we did!
Every year, I moved about campus and the Durham community trying to get perspectives for articles and in doing so, had the opportunity to speak to people who I otherwise would not necessarily have interacted with. I’d find myself learning details about student initiatives and fields of study I didn’t know existed.
Some of my favorite articles were ones I wrote this past year covering the local plans for the Light Rail project and the municipal elections. I reported on forums where community members voiced their opinions on issues ranging from affordable housing to policing. As someone interested in public policy, I learned so much about what good governance should look like at the local level.
Student journalism made me feel so much more connected to both the campus community and the Durham community.
That feeling of connectedness was not necessarily present throughout my Duke experience, however. I’ve learned that we can be critical of the institutions we’re part of out of love and wanting to see them improve. It is because we see what they have the potential to be that we push through with our critical questions. I'm grateful to the Chronicle because it has facilitated so many conversations, deepening my relationship with the University and those who have a vision for improving it.
My friends may be tired of me saying this, but the phrase “home is a feeling, not a place” has been incredibly true for me this year. I want to extend my gratitude to the people at Duke and The Chronicle in particular who supported me in my journey as a student here. Likhitha, congrats on a wonderful year. Bre, I’m so eager to see what's in store for the paper under your leadership.
It’s been a great ride and I can’t wait to see where the paper is headed.
Sarah Kerman is a Trinity senior and was Senior News Reporter. She would like to thank her family for their support, and her Duke friends who have become family. To Adam: never sit!
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