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I have lived a Duke haunted by both a coyly expressed frustration with the lack of residential community for all students, and the prominence of exclusive groups granted housing privileges. Selective housing precludes all-encompassing residential houses wherein a grounded parity may be nurtured by intentional programmatic efforts.
Graduation season is as apt a time as ever to reflect upon the formative moments that define our undergraduate experiences. I spoke with several members of the graduating Class of 2018 to ask about the good, bad and ugly aspects of their past several years. In hearing about the journeys of these peers, and sitting patiently as they reflect, I was struck first and foremost by their astonishing degree of resiliency.
“I could never get into Duke. I don’t do anything special, I’m not in student government or anything, haven’t started a club, and my ACT score just isn’t high enough.”
Course requirements in Quantitative Studies (QS) and Natural Sciences (NS) are known for dragging down humanity majors’ GPAs. Still, they can offer skills in data analysis and leveraging reason with evidence as opposed to anecdotal claims. These are abilities our liberal arts curriculum values. But just how effective are all current requirements in informing students on the values and knowledge that will serve them best in the future?
Menstrual hygiene access is a human rights issue. It is a matter of agency, public health, human dignity and gender equality. But it may also be wrongfully framed as an issue at the heart of feminism, with little regard to the issue’s location within the context of individual privilege and disprivilege.
Both of my grandfathers at one point had four simultaneous wives. I am one of fifty-nine grandchildren, my mother is the eldest of twelve, and my father is the eldest of twenty four. While these figures—and my own status as the eldest of six—confound many, they are present-day realities of societies and communities the world over.
“Knowledge in the service of society” is a widely professed strategic goal of Duke University. It is the guiding principle behind several partnerships, organizations and institutes on campus. Though some argue the axiom should remain a mere aspect of universities, “knowledge in the service of society” should be more than that, as it is the ultimate purpose of education.
The rhetoric of female empowerment is meant to be uplifting. Unfortunately, the university institutions designed to fulfill this mission are not always effective, all-inclusive and far-reaching.
The current Duke University housing model lends itself to self-segregation. This is a major obstacle for the diversity-celebrating, inclusive environment for which Duke claims to stand.
What’s a biomedical engineering degree worth if you only pursue one for its supposed prestige?
You were the president of your high school debate team. You are rejected from Duke Debate.
At the end of the day, bullies—often driven into tormenting others because of their own insecurities—want to feel respected. Both bullies and the bullied struggle with the consequences of feeling left out—a natural human sentiment we all can relate to.
While UNC copes with its fair share of shortcomings, a basketball team coached by Roy Williams and a nauseating school color to name just two, the university down Tobacco Road offers its rare benefits. Or, perhaps, at least one: it’s called “the Pit.”
Two years at Duke University have not left me unchanged. From joining (and leaving) various student groups, and spending countless hours speaking with professors and students alike, I’ve compiled some reflections and takeaways, based on my experiences and those of others. At the end of the day, your Duke narrative is what you make of it. Here are some things to keep in mind.
11 percent Black, 10 percent Latino and 1 percent Native American/American Indian/Native Alaskan/Native Hawaiian. 50 percent “of color,” 14.5 percent International, and 10 percent first-generation. Duke is colorful. Duke is global.
A Duke student expresses frustration with a lack of diversity in options for coffee on campus. In response, a peer creates a GoFundMe page to fund his annual “plantation vacation” to “fight exploitation of child labor in coffee plantations.” On his annual trip, he claims to find coffee beans that he uses to brew his own coffee. His recommendation to the distressed coffee-lover? Go to Colombia to find your own coffee beans. While you’re at it, help him fund his own trip.
Just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the Washington Metro Orange Line from New Carrollton to Vienna was packed like sardines. Inside the train, shouts of “they just struck the White House” and “the Capitol is gone” confounded the fearful workers and students onboard. Hysteria was ubiquitous and clarity was absent—such as the mania consuming millions in the world today.
"If you can afford Cartier, who can stop you?"
“We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”
Humans are innately limited in their perceptions and consequential understanding of the world. Vernacular is confined to the regions we have been exposed to, and thus it is impossible to conceive that which we have not been yet exposed to.