For first-years at Duke, stress comes in various forms: making friends, struggling in class, missing the bus
Editor’s note: As advice for the Class of 2022 has piled up in recent weeks, The Chronicle staff took it upon ourselves to answer all the most important questions first-years could have.
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.
Think you know us? You have no idea.
“Lowered expectations mean that everybody’s happy.” This was the quote one of my best friends from high school chose as their senior quote.
The last time I went to Shooters was mid-March. Until then, I felt relatively safe when I “rolled Shoots.”
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” This is Socrates’ whole method reduced to a refrigerator magnet, but its insight is profound. We cannot live well if we do not shake ourselves out of our complacency. We must question what we are doing and why. If we haven’t interrogated our beliefs, how can we know them to be true?
There is a difference in noticing that you are not like everyone around you and feeling like those differences ostracize you. Noticing my own Blackness comes when I recognize how little Black people there are in the social circles I find myself in. Whether it be my social group, my major, my extracurricular clubs and activities, or my work-study job I am constantly noting the disproportionately low number of familiar faces in a concentrated environment. These moments, however, are not what concerns me about Duke’s commitment to Black students.
Because of their significant resources, influential alumni and academic authority, elite universities play an outsized role in influencing public discourse. Reflecting the importance of elite colleges in our culture, the general public lavishes them with praise, attention and, occasionally, anger. Primarily, the focus is on the actions and attitudes of the young adults who attend these institutions. This preoccupation not only calls our national priorities into question, but is also absurd. What other demographic in modern America is nitpicked like college students? To date, I have not read an article about the dangerous ideas of McDonald’s employees. Obsession with higher education and its students stems from a powerful belief—a belief so powerful that it calls into question whether or not colleges are “secular” institutions.