While preparing to write this senior column I thought of several different directions to go in, some beyond the framework of archetypes that has been so useful for me this semester. But having considered other forms of reflection, I’ve realized another series of archetypes is exactly how I want to construct this column.
One of my goals throughout this column has been to improve my ability to write not only in a logical line of analysis or with the precisely expected chronology of academic style, but rather in words that paint images, composed layer upon layer with form and proportion in mind and bending into spirals the lines of logic and time to create a more realistic vision of what I’m trying to communicate.
To the readers it is given to decide whether or not I have achieved as much in my prior columns, but I know that the landscape and fresco a series of archetypes can paint is how I want to compose my senior column, because no one moment or image can comprehend my experiences at Duke so far. To communicate the whole picture of my time at Duke would take volumes, but short of that the best I can offer is a moving image of archetypical experiences that have been present in every year, every semester, and nearly every day of Duke for me. The contours of these categories have imprinted their shape on me and on my experiences here, filling me with all the bitter and sweet emotions of their challenges.
Written as gerunds to communicate their ongoing and perpetual nature, these categories overlap and fracture into smaller ones and so are inexhaustive, but nevertheless serve to illustrate the story of the past few years. So walk with me through another series of archetypes as I reflect on what four years at Duke has brought me, and see if you connect to them your own moving images of experience.
CHALLENGING: My first Orgo midterm. Retching uncontrollably into a trash can when I had food poisoning for the first time in my first year (does anyone remember the e. coli strain in romaine in Spring 2018?). Confronting fraternity brothers as an RA.
FAILING: My first Orgo midterm.
SUCCEEDING: A moving image of me projected onto a wall of the Louvre.
CREATING: Writing for Chronicle. Composing. TikTok. Visual Arts. Design with Duda/Paine. Films.
CONNECTING: Professors, mentors, giants, unknown saints, and most importantly, friends.
HURTING: A sincere trust broken irreparably. My body recalling something I had tried very hard to forget and sending me into violent panic attacks.
HEALING: Learning to run and eat again. Learning to trust someone again, and still be okay if they break the trust, as imperfect people sometimes do.
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LEARNING: Now I can do things I never could before.
In choosing the title of this particular column, I’m attempting to express not only the collage of flashing memories that project into my mind when I reflect on the last four years but also the tone of the overall image—moving not only in the sense that it is in motion, but in that it moves you the reader as well to a place of understanding you didn’t occupy before.