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'Secure the bag': Advice for the Class of 2023

As the Class of 2023 settles in to their East Campus dorms and prepares for a packed Orientation Week, they may feel overwhelmed with the size and grandeur of Duke. To help, The Chronicle asked people on Twitter and on campus for their advice on how best to navigate their four years at the University.  

One person on Twitter pointed out two of the biggest reasons why students come to Duke—academics and the chance to make money.

It's expensive to attend Duke, but can the value of a Duke diploma make up for it? Becky Holmes, Trinity '15, told the Class of 2023 to make it so.

Other students and alumni offered a litany of advice, from chatting with professors to getting to know the names of staff in your building.

Another reminded the first-years to take advantage of the electric atmosphere at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

There are lots of accomplished students at Duke, which can intimidate some students. But don't let everyone else preoccupy you, Amelia Cheatham, Trinity '18, advised.

On campus, student leaders and administrators weighed in with their advice for the Class of 2023. 

"You belong here, you are a very important part of this community we call Duke, and we are here to support you through this journey," wrote Sue Wasiolek, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs, in an email to The Chronicle. "Please ask for help and just do your best but not too much!"

The president and executive vice president of Duke Student Government offered their thoughts too. President Liv McKinney, a senior, advised first-years to never hesitate to ask for help, whether it's from a professor, teaching assistant, adviser, resident assistant, first-year advisory counselor or "random upperclassmen."

"Also take advantage of your first year common room to make your dorm feel like home!!" she added.

"Ask people to hang out with you," wrote Executive Vice President Avery Boltwood, a senior. "It’s easy to think nobody would want to go to your party, your event, your show—but I promise you, there are people who do. YOU are an interesting person, and if people aren’t interested in hanging out with YOU specifically, maybe you shouldn’t be worrying about their wants anyway."

Seniors Allie Rauch and Ally Perez, the FAC co-chairs, had a list of things to keep in mind at Duke.

"Don’t worry if you don’t know what to study yet," they wrote in an email. "Use all your resources (e.g. identity centers, wellness, academic resources, etc.). Take time for yourself and practice self-care. It is really normal if you don’t find your community right away. Go to all the themed dinners at Marketplace."

Kerry Haynie, associate professor of political science and chair of Academic Council, recommended first-years go outside their comfort zones by both taking a class and making a friend that "will surprise your current friendship group and your parents." 

"As an undergraduate, lean more towards becoming an accomplished generalist rather than a narrow specialist," he added. "Think now about how you can help Duke be better off in four years than it is today."

More advice from Twitter: