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Re-reading first year me

(05/05/20 4:00am)

I was walking through the Duke Gardens when I learned that classes were moving online, and I remember thinking how ironic it was that campus was going to be at its emptiest right before it was about to be at its most seductive. The tulips had been planted but hadn’t yet bloomed, the koi pond was being cleaned, and no one was going to see that effort. I had visited campus at around the same time as a high school senior and fallen in love. 

Major madness: What does data on English majors say about preprofessionalism at Duke?

(02/27/20 5:00am)

When I’m cynical, I think that data is used as a tool for social control, collected and closely monitored by institutions without giving the people they serve a say on how it’s being used. I think about the tech companies that are under scrutiny for collecting massive amounts of data, and I wonder if our institutions (including Duke) are guilty of similar things.

Knowledge is power, power corrupts

(01/29/20 5:00am)

Duke has made it clear that it will not interfere with students’ career choices. In an article written in light of recent protests at Tech Connect and the Career Fair, multiple Duke administrators, from Bill Wright-Swadel from the Career Center, to Michael Schoenfeld from Public Affairs and Governmental Relations, to Ravi Bellamkonda from the Pratt School of Engineering, to Mary Pat McMahon from Student Affairs, have all said some variation of the statement that students should have the critical thought and ability to choose their own careers, and Duke wasn't going to interfere with those efforts.

The confidence of a mediocre white male

(11/26/19 5:00am)

My junior fall, I spent many weekend nights with my roommate working on internship applications. In our double facing main quad, we'd sit at our desks or curled up in bed, typing away at our computers, editing cover letters and resumes, filling out applications, doing coding challenges, recording video interviews, emailing recruiters, preparing for interviews, updating our internship spreadsheets—all the things that made up “recruitment.”

A triple-major in scheduling

(10/25/17 4:00am)

Sometimes I joke that everything at Duke boils down to a scheduling problem. As bookbagging begins, I see all of the classes and interests that I can't pursue simply because the times don’t match up. The difference from developing a relationship with a professor has sometimes boiled down to whether or not I had another class during their office hours. I like to add talks and events to my calendar only to realize later that I can't go because of a scheduling conflict. Last column, I mentioned how Arianna Huffington likes to schedule her sleep.

Sleeping too much, too little or just right?

(10/11/17 4:00am)

When my brother was in high school, I remember attending a college info session where a senior talked about how he learned to embrace the non-academic aspects of college. The only part I remember now is him talking about his sleep schedule. For his first few years, he went to sleep at 10 p.m. every night and missed out on a variety of social experiences as a result. But when he became an upperclassman, began sleeping later and started to embrace spontaneity, he was able to embrace college life more wholeheartedly. At that point in my life (when I was in elementary school), I thought I was an insomniac because I couldn’t fall asleep by 9:30 p.m. every night. The idea that one could be missing out because he or she was getting a healthy amount of sleep boggled me. 

Inclusivity on an exclusive campus

(09/27/17 4:00am)

My first year, I tried to so, so hard, not to tie myself to any one identity. I didn't want to be identified by my potential major, dorm, hometown, race, Myer-Briggs personality type, extracurriculars, or any other affiliations. In groups, I laughed at things when other people laughed, because hey, I could see the humor, and I tried to match the energy of whatever conversation was happening. Not exactly in the name of conforming, but in the name of understanding, of wanting to deeply understand people, in an attempt to focus more on others and not myself (or could it be out of a belief that I had nothing to contribute?).

Harvey: A reminder that resources matter

(09/13/17 4:00am)

As another hurricane is likely narrowly missing Durham right now, I'd like to take one last breath to discuss the hurricane that I escaped back in my hometown a few weeks ago. After Hurricane Harvey brought a year's worth of rainfall to Houston in but a few days, there’s a significant amount of infrastructure that needs to be repaired or replaced ($40 billion worth, by some estimates).