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I enjoy being a student, but I’m not passionate about it. That much has become clear this year through both inter- and intrapersonal observations. I see peers, professors and family members who chose to build careers out of pursuing their interests through academia — whether research, teaching or both — and they live and breathe it. The university, and all that it entails, brings fulfillment to them in a way it doesn’t for me.
Based on Duke’s response to the Supreme Court’s recent overturn of race-based Affirmative Action, it’s clear that our admissions department doesn’t like being told whom they should admit. While Duke did not go so far as to eschew the decision, President Price responded in a university-wide email to reaffirm a commitment to racial diversity. However, race-based boosts aren’t the only ways students receive advantages in the admissions process, and regardless of what we think about the court decision, it calls strongly into question the other ways in which the playing field is by no means level.
Picture this: it’s 75 degrees and sunny on a Friday afternoon near the beginning or end of the school year. Clubs are tabling on BC Plaza; friend groups are sprawled out on the steps; some organization is passing out Locopops. Every grassy surface in sight is covered in picnic blankets, and several groups of guys have set up spikeball on the main quad.
As we reach the end of the school year, it has become time to prepare for the next one. As the current president of Rotaract Club, I recently sent our applications for the executive board to current active members. This request came with the understanding that, unless a minimum number of people apply, the club will likely cease to exist. Don’t worry—this isn’t an ad to join my club, but a means to talk about the frustrations that come with our extracurricular involvements here at large.
It’s safe to say the idea of “effortless perfection” or “the expectation that one would be smart, accomplished, fit, beautiful, and popular, and that all this would happen without visible effort” has been suitably belabored. We’re not supposed to write op-eds about it anymore because it’s so overdone.
We’re probably all tired of talking about ChatGPT at this point. Yet, here it is, continuing to permeate practically every conversation, especially those related to doing school work. I’ve heard all the opinions, from “oh my god, the world as we know it is ending” to “thank god I never have to do homework again.” As I see it, they both have a kernel of truth: we will need to adapt at least somewhat, but that’s not necessarily bad.
The following is a satire column.
When was the last time you heard someone speaking with a Southern accent? Maybe a native Durhamite or a Duke employee? Let me rephrase that question: when was the last time you heard another Duke student speak in a Southern accent? Beyond the socially acceptable occasional “y’all” about half of us have adopted, my answer to that is, well, never.
Recently, the Quad Identity Project announced the addition of “Quad Arches”—since we all know that logos are the absolute best way of creating community and apparently crests have been canceled. I wonder whether Quad identity or lack thereof should be the problem we are focusing on vis-à-vis the current living situation at Duke.
Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of complaints from friends about the general lack of personal accountability in our campus culture. I get it, and I’m frustrated, too—especially when I can see how I’ve let these antisocial norms influence my actions in ways that are antithetical to my values of community and responsibility.
I’ve been getting very intimately acquainted with my resume recently as I navigate the very particular hell that is applying and interviewing for internships. I’ve learned how to spin the things I’ve done into an overarching narrative and individually cultivated stories, as though a page of titles, operationalized descriptions, and dates is all it takes to make a life. From there, I can reveal an employable quality about myself by breaking down these experiences into discrete situations.
The worst thing to experience as a woman in tech is not failure, I’ve realized, but success met with surprised congratulation. Maybe this is a solid showing in a technical interview in which I’m repeatedly commended on my impressive performance—you actually did really well! Or perhaps it happens when I’m discussing future plans with a random adult—interesting, good for you! Sometimes it’s when I’m confused for a fellow student during my own office hours—oh, you’re the TA. It feels icky to be reminded that 1) I am doing something I’m not supposed to be, 2) I am succeeding at it and 3) the combination of 1 and 2 is surprising.
Many of our professors have begun to change how they teach, whether that be to better connect with the “TikTok generation” or to evaluate us based on more “holistic criteria.” Thus, we as students have become accustomed to the new, more task-based style of quantity over quality of work, and when asked to perform at a higher—i.e., previously average—level, we are not always able to do so.
The idea of Duke’s fall break has always perplexed me. Spring break makes sense; even though it isn’t usually positioned around Easter or another holiday, it marks pretty evenly the middle of the second semester, and gives a long enough pause from classes and assignments to do something. Whether that be to go somewhere, get ahead on your work or just relax for a while, spring break at least lets you breathe.
When I entered Duke the fall of 2020 in the heart of the pandemic and during a crest of social reckoning, the idea of having the typified college social experience felt rather absurd. And so, for quite a while, I vilified the idea of Greek life and SLGs, of going out, Shooters and Devine’s, drinking, smoking—you get the idea. I largely attribute this mindset to the pandemic era regulations—in which you were forced to choose between breaking the law to socialize in a way congruent to what was acceptable in the past or following the covid rules and resenting those who didn’t for being selfish—but I’m not sure that if the state of the world were different I wouldn’t’ve had comparable views.
“Let’s get lunch.” It’s a classic Duke student saying, along with “how are you?” And “good, how are you?” And while sometimes “lunch” is replaced by “dinner,” it’s seldom breakfast. Why? Because, especially after freshman year, almost no one eats breakfast at WU, if at all. Why? Because it’s so goddamn expensive—besides, who even eats breakfast, anyway? And when you start to think about scheduling breakfast dates, waking up earlier, balancing your virtual food point budget, and whether Mobile Order will even be working, it’s easier to just skip it than to play the breakfast game.
Walk into any lecture hall here, and you’ll see what a fellow columnist described as a “sea of Macs.” Work out in Wilson gym, and more people than not are sporting some generation of AirPods. Swipe into your dorm, or pay for your food at WU, via Apple Watch. Be added to a text chat of 10 people and still have blue bubbles. Write the first draft of this column on an iPad with an Apple Pencil. Type it up on a MacBook. Welcome to Duke.
About this time two years ago, my peers and I, save those admitted ED, opened many a fateful web portal to receive our admissions decisions from Duke and other colleges. Because I’m here, writing this column, you might assume my college admissions process went well. Well, it did not—at least not initially.
If you’ve talked to a professor recently, you’ve probably heard a complaint vis-à-vis the lack of students coming to class, especially for, but not limited to, the classes for which in-person attendance is non-mandatory. The past few weeks seem to have been the perfect storm of tenting, Covid-fatigue and spring break anticipation that have led to the steady decline in class attendance.
While plenty of Duke students have been playing Wordle since its recent inception, a new, less benign manifestation of campus hype has settled upon the new/old app YikYak. The platform began in 2013 and was shut down for the first time in 2017, primarily for bullying and threats of violence. Now that it has entrenched itself back within the university milieu, the questions remain as to how long it can last this time, and whether it should exist at all.