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Devils in the closet

(02/04/20 5:00am)

It’s 3 a.m. on a Saturday night at Duke, and I am happily tucked in bed after a long night of socializing. Bored and curious, I open up the gay dating app Grindr and scroll through eligible bachelors in my area. The page is filled with blank anonymous profiles, mostly college-aged and within 1,000 feet of me. Bios read “Discreet” and “DL” (down-low) or say “DM me for a face pic.” The few profiles with face pics belong to my friends. 

Diversity should not be an educational tool

(01/20/20 5:00am)

In conversations about what Duke students love about Duke, we like to cite the diversity at Duke and the ability for us to be surrounded by people from “different backgrounds.” In academic contexts, the perspectives provided by a diverse populace are invaluable for meaningful conversations. 

Is being gay compatible with religion?

(03/27/19 4:00am)

Every day on my walk to class, I stroll past the stunning Duke Chapel that towers above me. Sometimes I stop to stretch my head up and take in the glorious architecture. I see this iconic structure every day, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve stepped in. The chapel is the epicenter of this school, yet religion is the most distant thing I experience on this campus. The stained-glass windows give me aesthetic delight and a warmth of nostalgia, but the reminder of religious institutions brings back dormant memories that leave a sinking feeling in my stomach.

We regret to inform you that you’re mediocre

(02/27/19 5:00am)

If anyone were to ask what singular skill I am most proud of acquiring at Duke, I would respond that it is dealing with rejection. Not memo writing, pouring agar plates, or wiggling my way onto the C1 at 9:50 a.m. Rather, it is learning to be rejected from amazing opportunities that has been the greatest challenge, and thus achievement, so far in my early Duke career. Not much in my high school prepared me for the constant cycles of application and rejection that sneak their way into every aspect of my life. The 25 percent early decision acceptance rate at the time I applied felt low, but now seems high compared to the acceptance rates of every insanely competitive opportunity at Duke.

Subtle Asian Diaspora

(02/13/19 5:00am)

During this Lunar New Year festival, I felt an incredible amount of pride for being Asian-American. I wish this feeling wasn’t something rare for me, but it is. Although I’ve always looked Asian to others, my ownership of being Asian-American has been sub-par to say the least. Only recently have I been able to wholeheartedly embrace my Asian-American identity. However, in my experiences, I’ve found that my racial identity hasn’t initially come from a connection to the Asian-American community, but rather from a rejection by the white community.

Why I choose to be politically correct

(01/16/19 5:00am)

In the past few years, anti-politically correct (PC) movements have grown in popularity and vigor. Groups of young college conservatives have criticized the liberal hold on universities and conservative activists have mocked censorship and “sensitivity” among young millennials. The sentiment that “people get offended by anything these days” seems to be growing among the larger population. Scandals of comedians getting booted from gigs for racially insensitive remarks or being fired from hosting an awards ceremony due to old homophobic tweets have sparked discussion over whether PC culture has gone too far. Even at Duke, students and professors complain about the PC culture on campus.

Gay and alone in the Gothic Wonderland

(11/27/18 5:00am)

As November comes to an end, the leaves are done changing and the chilly air is here to stay. Staying in and cuddling becomes more enticing, and cuffing season begins in full force. The undergrads of Duke scramble to secure a secure relationship before the holidays begin. It’s a time for single people to reflect on why no one loves them, and to invest in their own sweatshirts since they have no significant other to steal one from. In this time, I sit alone in my room as a young, single gay man and wonder what I did wrong.

Half-white privilege

(11/13/18 5:00am)

When it comes to identity, I can frame myself two radically different ways: I am a gay person of color on a large amount of financial aid, and I am a white male legacy student at Duke. Both descriptions are technically accurate, but fail to illustrate the nuances of my competing identities. As a half-white half-Asian, or a “one chopstick,” my racial identity has remained inconsistent to myself and others. I feel like I fluctuate between being white and Korean depending on the scenario or group of people I am around. In college, we are often engaged in discussions about identity and privilege, and I have struggled to pinpoint my place in such conversations.

The luxury of being disengaged

(10/30/18 4:00am)

Earlier this week I attempted to re-watch the music video for Shallow from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s masterpiece “A Star is Born” for the 76th time, but was interrupted by a ten-second clip of an elderly white woman asking me to vote for “Marsy’s Law.” In those ten seconds, I heard the words “Marsy’s Law” for the first time, learned that it was a N.C. constitutional amendment, and learned that its stated purpose was to provide equal rights for crime victims. I immediately made a mental note to ask a Prattstar friend how to install AdBlocker. Then I began to research Marsy’s Law, and the rest of the constitutional amendments being voted on in North Carolina.

Durham isn’t sketchy, Duke is

(10/16/18 4:00am)

We’ve heard it long before coming here: Duke is safe and Durham is sketchy. Step outside the stone walls of East Campus and crime-ridden neighborhoods await. When I toured Duke in summer of 2017, someone asked if East Campus was safe being situated so close to downtown Durham. The tour guide reassured the pfrosh that several safety features such as help towers, security guards, and Duke Alert existed on campus. She went on to say that most students feel extremely safe while on Duke campus, quelling the fears of the trembling pfrosh while implying that Durham inherently imposes a threat on the Duke student population.

New school year, new hurricane

(09/18/18 4:00am)

I remember one morning last September, my parents called me and told me that my neighborhood was flooded and water levels were slowly rising. They were going to start moving everything up to the second floor. Before my 8:45, I went to the Oasis outside the Wellness Center and I cried while looking out into the forest. I thought of my parents and my little brother being stranded there for days. I thought of everything I owned, photos and trinkets I deliberately didn’t take to college to make sure they were safe. I thought of my little dog Heidi, who shivers in fear when it’s sprinkling outside. After a few minutes I wiped my eyes, stood up, walked to organic chemistry, and went on with my busy week.

My concerns for gay first-year students and their roommates

(09/04/18 4:00am)

Last Spring, Duke announced that incoming first-year students, aside from those in varsity sports, would no longer have the option to choose a roommate. By dissolving the roommate selection option, administrators hoped that students from different backgrounds could be forced to live in the same 100-square foot room for an entire year and thus learn from each other. This decision was controversial, as some agreed with the housing decision and others said it placed a burden of education on students with marginalized identities. While I agree that the benefits of randomized housing can be substantial, I am concerned for the first-years who are now tasked with being a lesson in tolerance for their roommates. For this piece, I am going to focus mainly on gay male students, as that is the perspective I understand most—although many other minority groups will experience similar issues.