Listening and learning

farewell column

The Chronicle has been a safe haven for me to explore my interests in student journalism and a window for me to learn more about the work of students and people who are a part of the Duke and Durham community. 

When I first came to Duke, I was overwhelmed by the new environment, homesickness, classwork, daily symptom monitoring surveys and COVID-19 tests. After being in my room for a full day of Zoom classes and going to Marketplace to get to-go meals, I lacked the traditional social experiences of college life. Luckily, I made close friendships with others in my first-year dorm, Brown, and formed a strong relationship with my first-year RA. 

Joining The Chronicle almost immediately after classes started was one of the best decisions I could have made. It allowed me to connect with people and learn about Duke in deeper and more unique ways. 

I did not have previous journalism experience in high school but loved writing and wanted to venture outside of my comfort zone. I vividly remember working with another new writer on our first story focused on student experiences with pool testing experiences. We sat in the Brown common room and brainstormed plans to reach out to students and approaches to structure the story. I enjoyed reaching out to students and reporting about their experiences. 

Through Sunday afternoon news meetings on Zoom, the support and enthusiasm of lower and upper masthead members made me feel that I had a place in The Chronicle. Soon, I picked up more stories and applied to be a staff writer. After being invited to The Chronicle office following my acceptance as a staff writer, I remember climbing up the stairs and opening the office door to hear laughter and see a group of editors sitting in a circle. This tight-knit community of editors welcomed new staff writers with our favorite snacks and guided us on a tour of the office space. Witnessing the behind-the-scenes work that masthead does for The Chronicle inspired my first-year self to continue.

Looking back over the years, I certainly had difficult times when I struggled through my engineering and pre-med chemistry coursework. But I became happier when I could work on a story for The Chronicle or go into the office for my editing shifts. Through The Chronicle, I loved exploring my interests in writing and journalism outside of academic work. 

Getting to write stories about student life during the pandemic, Duke Athletics Band, the Center for Muslim Life educational workshop, Young Trustee candidates, Durham mayoral candidates, RAs during COVID and health and science research have been highlights of my time with The Chronicle. Each story was an opportunity for me to both learn something about Duke and the vibrant communities within it and share what I learned with a broader community. From speaking with band members to attending a CML educational workshop, I listened to each interviewee share their eye-opening and rich perspectives. 

The practice of listening and learning from others’ stories soon extended to my life outside of The Chronicle. Seeing my first-year RA’s dedication to hosting events for everyone to connect while following strict social-distancing rules inspired me to apply to be an RA. I lived in Brown for my first year at Duke, and then I served as an RA in Brown for my sophomore and junior years. Being an RA challenged me in various ways and taught me critical teamwork and organization skills. I loved meeting and supporting first-year students and taking time each week to connect and reflect with my RA team. Brown will always hold a very special place in my heart. 

As my graduation date nears and I reflect on my four years at Duke, I’ve realized that I will miss the simple moments such as cooking weekend breakfasts and making dumplings with friends in the dorm community kitchens, attending cycling and other fitness classes with friends, and taking long, peaceful walks around the East Campus loop. 

After four years, my involvement with The Chronicle has certainly shaped who I am, helping me to improve my writing, learn about Duke and gain sweet memories and friendships that I will forever cherish. 

Many of the doors that have opened for me in my Duke experience are ones that I could not have expected when I first arrived. As I look back, I am grateful that I was able to take a step forward and try new things. I look forward to the future as it holds many unopened doors waiting to be explored. 

Amy Guan is a Pratt senior and served as senior editor of The Chronicle’s 119th volume. She would like to thank Audrey Wang (editor-in-chief for Vol. 119) and Milla Surjadi (editor-in-chief for Vol. 118) as well as all masthead members for their excellent leadership. She is grateful for the entire Chronicle community that makes 301 Flowers a welcoming and enjoyable space. She is grateful to her mentor Leah Boyd (editor-in-chief for Vol. 117) for providing unwavering support in The Chronicle and advice for BME. Finally, she would like to thank her professors, friends and family for their support over the past four years.

Amy Guan | Senior Editor

Amy Guan is a Pratt senior and a senior editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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