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OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Older, wiser and still overwhelmed

Welcome back to campus! Hope you’re feeling ready for that first beautiful view of the chapel, first super late night in Perkins, and first encounters with all of the bright-eyed, confused-looking first-years who are now on campus. With the start of a new school year comes the traditional deluge of advice, goal setting, and ‘we back’ Snapchat stories, so I figured I’d throw in my two cents. However, the first-years have had enough of people talking to them this week. They’ve already heard how amazing their Duke experience will be and to take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities coming their way, so instead, this one is for the sophomores. I feel totally qualified to give this advice, since I myself am a sophomore (meaning I’ve got about ten days of not being a first-year under my belt) and have now been to O-Week twice, so obviously I know everything.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Dear Noah: A letter to my brother on O-Week

Exactly three years ago, I stood where you now stand: on the doorstep of the rest of my life. It was my first day of college, and I had so many thoughts running through my mind. Who are my friends going to be? Will I find my passion? Is this prison cell of a dorm room really where I’m going to be living for the next nine months? I felt much uncertainty, and even more excitement, as I crossed the threshold into my future. What followed was an exhilarating first year at Duke, a series of highs and lows, of 3 a.m. conversations with soon-to-be best friends and unshakeable feelings of insecurity, doubt and fear.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Need advice? Same!

Over the past century, The Chronicle traditionally welcomes first-years (historically known as freshmen) to campus with a short editor’s note dispensing advice. It goes something like this: don’t forget that learning occurs inside and outside the classroom. Don’t overcommit yourself, but definitely do something. Thank your FAC because they don’t get paid. Try to be social but don’t try too hard. Give your roommate a chance, even if they’re different from you. Ask questions if you need help. Welcome to a new chapter in your life.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Wait, can I really say the 'n-word'?

In the music video for Chris Brown’s “Freaky Friday,” the white rapper Lil Dicky wakes up in Chris Brown’s body. Now, just because he’s black, he can throw the “n-word” around as much as he wants. If you want, watch the clip here (fast forward to 2:19).


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Study abroad in Latin America

Despite the best attempts of my high school teachers and college professors to emphasize the breadth of experience smushed into the terms “Latinx” and “Latin America,” before I studied abroad I could still only repeat their explanations blindly: “There’s a lot of diversity!” I also knew from a Pew Research report that Latinx is not how many “Latinx people” identify themselves first. Rather, many, especially foreign-born, identify first with their country of origin.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Duke and Boston have me in common

The end of my DukeEngage program is rapidly approaching. I have spent the past seven weeks in Boston, one of the most historically rich cities in the country. I’ve learned about the lives of the Founding Fathers, Boston’s controversial track record with segregation, and the cultural heritage that accompanies the Northeast all while working as a marketing intern at a mentoring-based nonprofit. Yet, as the program draws to a close, I have found myself reflecting more on the lessons I’ve learned at Duke and less on the experiences I’ve had over the past two months. 


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Chinese-American and Asian in Argentina

In high school, I wanted to study psychology, which made my dad panic. He didn’t know any Chinese psychologists. Whether I was chatting about my high school debate team, seeing a movie with friends or choosing universities, my parents and grandparents always ask if “there are any Chinese.” 


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

'How was study abroad?'

Last semester I was abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina with a non-Duke program called “Transnationalism and Comparative Development in South America.” With a group of 14 other American students, I have taken classes on comparative development, transnationalism and research ethics. Through the program, I went to Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay. Our program was affiliated with the Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social (Institute of Economic and Social Development), which is a research non-profit. Our program was not affiliated with any American university.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Why Duke should do more to fight housing segregation in Durham

When I first toured Duke, everyone told me about the exciting city of Durham.  My tour guide proudly stated that Bon Appetit Magazine had recently named Durham “America’s Foodiest Small Town.”  As I began my first semester at Duke, I found this boasting about Durham’s food culture to be well-founded.  Downtown Durham offers a wide variety of locally owned, popular and healthy options.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

How I learned to be Asian-American

This column was born because I was tired of not being able to express my Asianness. I’ll admit that I spent my first three years at Duke trying to figure out how to be Asian but not too Asian. After all, I came here to expand my identity, not to close myself in to just one characteristic about my life. It was at Duke that I started to take on the idea of being “Asian-American”, but still don’t know quite now how that label fits in the greater scheme of my life. I’m still trying to parse through bits and pieces of it every day.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

Learning to see clearly

After four years, I feel an enduring gratitude to Duke for the ways in which it has shaped me and helped me to continue the process of defining who I am. At the same time, I have never felt stronger in my conviction that there are important questions to be asked, systems to be reformed and social structures to be shattered. Feeling grateful does not mean that we must accept the institution in its entirety without acknowledging its shortcomings, and daring to affirm that they can—and must—be improved. 


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

The benefit of the doubt

If there’s a reason I’ve contributed as much as I have to The Chronicle in four years, it’s because of a desire for truth. I think we reporters serve a real purpose in bringing topics to light that deserve the light—I have proudly seen my friends write about sexual assault, Tallman Trask and even Pitchforks at its prime hour, 2 a.m. on a Sunday.


OPINION  |  COLUMNS

My final column, my first byline

We all have moments we operate on autopilot. For many of us, these moments are frequent during our first year at Duke, but I’m not sure when we adopt this cruising attitude. Maybe it begins with orientation week pushing us through the unfamiliar Durham heat from information sessions to hall meetings to social events with dormmates we don’t quite know. Maybe it’s sparked by our first class registrations when we aren’t sure if we’ll be engineers in a semester or how difficult the math classes here are. Maybe it’s heightened by applications for our summers or majors or post-graduate lives before we’ve even completed our first semesters, as we struggle to match pace with classmates who are better with plans and goals and lists than we are. Even in a current as fast as our university’s, it can feel most comfortable to just be swept along.