My final semester of high school was the hardest time of my life. I was dealing with hardships that I never imagined I would have to go through. Those last few months, I constantly reminded myself that soon enough I would be at Duke. Soon enough, I would be at my safe haven.
And that’s exactly what Duke has been for me. Duke has been my place of growth. I have laughed, cried, dated, broken up, made friends, lost friends. I’ve tented, missed a tent check, lied to my tent about missing the tent check, finally admitted to missing the tent check two years later in my senior column. If you’re reading this, sorry guys. I’ve gone from brunette to blonde highlights to back to brunette to back to blonde highlights. I even got to park in miracle lot a few times. I wrote the first draft of a book, and then let it sit for a year. I got a dog, my friend got a cat, my other friend’s roommate got a rat. But most importantly, I healed here. I went from crying every day to not remembering the last time that I cried. I love my school and everything it’s brought to me.
I love the 31-minute mark before every home game, where I’ve perfectly timed my bathroom break so that I don’t miss that special moment. I love looking up at that screen, watching the championship banners one by one during my favorite pregame video. I love chanting along with each championship win, and then yelling “we want six,” with desperation in my voice because I’ve grown to love Duke basketball so much.
I love my involvement with the Society of Women Engineers, and how we’ve worked hard together to rebuild our section at Duke. I love that I am able to say that under my presidency, we sent 17 people in-person to the national conference.
I love the loud and very long chimes the Chapel blares out during the sports department meetings on Fridays. I love the three flights of stairs I have to climb to get up to the office, and the “you’re almost there” sign that helps get me to the top.
I love walking into my research lab where I’m greeted by the graduate students who have been my mentors since my sophomore fall. They’ve given me endless advice that I will cherish and miss deeply.
I love the green tea at Ginger & Soy; it’s actually the same one I used to always drink when I lived in Japan. I love that this tea, and the cherry blossoms in the gardens, remind me of that defining part of my life.
I love that Pratt gives me free beer on Fridays at ESG socials, and I know all the Trinity kids are jealous of our comfys. But don’t worry, it came at a cost, just ask my physics professor.
I love the haystack at Pitchforks. Sorry, I loved the haystack at Pitchforks. I ate that the day before spring break in March 2020. We all came back, but the haystack never did.
I love the Giles common room, sitting on the BC Plaza, being able to park wherever the hell I want after 5 pm, the view from the third floor of the Wellness center, when Thursday night hits, underclassmen with too many food points, and the parma rosa at Il Forno that I had every day of freshman year. I love all of the people I’ve met, the stories they’ve shared, and the support I got in a time of my life where I needed it the most. Duke was my safe haven after all, but it’s the community around me who made it that way.
I procrastinated writing my farewell column and am at the point where I’m turning it in late. I kept putting it off because I knew that as soon as I sat down to write this, I would finally have to accept that it’s all really over. I am actually saying farewell. And most people can look ahead at the next thing they have planned to give them comfort as this door begins to close behind us. But I can’t do that. As of now, I’m not really sure what path I want to take next. I could take the MCAT because technically I’m still pre-med. I could use my biomedical engineering degree, or I can say screw it all and go pursue my writing. Unfortunately, I missed the memo about consulting. If you take anything away from this column, don’t miss the memo about consulting.
Up until now, I’ve been fortunate enough that my life has always been planned out for me. Each of my family’s moves were a result of my dad’s relocations. Even college was dependent on where I got into. There’s always been an outside force to tell me what my next move will be, but now it’s up to me. At first, it scared me, but now I realize there’s an excitement in not knowing.
It’s okay that I don’t know what’s happening next, because that means I can finally write this next chapter myself. And if there’s one thing writing for The Chronicle has taught me: it’s writing.
Ramona Naseri is a Pratt senior who served as a sports associate editor for The Chronicle's 117th volume. She would like to thank Winston Lindqwister and Michael Model for all of the support they gave her as a freshman in The Chronicle, and for teaching someone who knew nothing about sports how to be a sports writer. She thanks Evan Kolin for the games he attended with her so she wouldn’t be alone, and for all the nights he helped her with her articles in the Crowell common room. She also thanks her fellow senior writers who she’s embarked on this journey with the last four years, and everyone else in the department, who she will especially miss on Fridays at 5 pm.
Finally, Ramona would like to thank Michelle Dove for helping her find her voice, Nick Strash for his mentorship, Dean Cooke for his ongoing support, Jennifer Ganley and Becky Simmons for their help with SWE, all of her professors, and friends she’s made along the way.
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