Contributed by SangHee Jeong, Program Coordinator at International House
Jun 108:42 am
Hello everyone! How is your summer going? I am sure it is going well, but here is an idea to make it even more flavorful! IHouse Summer Social with Music in the Gardens Concert Series kicked off last Wednesday, June 5. It was a perfect evening for an outdoor concert – the weather was very pleasant, and the rain was courteous enough not to come down in Durham in that evening so we could enjoy the concert happy and dry.
If you have never been to local outdoor concerts here in Durham, you should come with us. You will see how relaxing, summary and friendly atmosphere it has. People come in couples, families, and groups; sometimes alone – I saw a guy sitting in a lawn chair and reading from his Kindle while listening to the soothing live music. When a fast-beat, cheerful country music is played, you will see moms and dads with babies and toddlers stand up and dance with their kids. It is such a harmonious environment, and you will feel that you are having a quintessential experience of the local American culture.
Last Wednesday’s concert featured Jkutchma & The Five Fiths. They played country rock, featuring the pedal steel guitar, harmonica and guitars. I am always fascinated by the unique sound of the pedal steel guitar in country music. Do you know what that instrument is? It is a guitar placed horizontally in front of the player who plucks the strings and uses pedals to control the pitch. Even if you don’t know what it is, you must have heard of its sound. If you are interested, see this YouTube video clip featuring a pedal steel guitar playing “Desperado”. Its melancholy sound has special “country” characteristic!
The lead singer said he came to North Carolina when he got an offer to teach at an art school in Durham, and now he cannot imagine living anywhere else! I hear many international students say they will miss Durham so much when they go back home. So, why don’t you make the most of it while you are here? The Summer Social will meet every Wednesday evening in June, and the next one will be on June 12. The concert starts at 7pm and the seating begins at 6:30pm, so we will meet in front of the Duke Garden Visitor Center at 6:30pm. Come through the Garden’s main entrance on Anderson Street, and you will find me on your right, sitting at the fountain with the IHouse sign. Hope to see you there. Seize the day!
Contributed by from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Jun 710:46 am
American students who interact more with their classmates from abroad don't just gain greater cultural awareness but also develop skills that benefit them after graduation, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University.
The study, which is described in an article published in the Journal of International Students, draws on data from comprehensive alumni surveys of some 5,675 former students from the 1985, 1995, and 2000 graduating classes of four highly selective private research universities. The surveys were administered in 2005, approximately five, 10, and 20 years after those classes graduated. (The institutions are part of a pre-existing research consortium and agreed to share survey data.)
The researchers—David Jamieson-Drake, director of institutional research at Duke, and Jiali Luo, an assistant director of institutional research at the university—found that students who had substantial engagement with peers from abroad reported significantly higher levels of skills development in a variety of areas.
I just came back from NYC after taking part in a DukeForward event (ie, stood there and looked pretty). I’m surprised they let me go considering the extremely critical lens I see this institution through. Anyway, it was this big shebang that came with a great promotion video. Aerial shots of campus zoomed in to observe the innovative happenings of three students. The speaker’s voice boomed with pride as the viewer suddenly felt like maybe Duke could be Hogwarts after all. Magic was happening. Broadhead followed the video by talking about how amazing Duke is, per usual. I’m not here to debunk this claim. This school has grown into an impressive institution. However, while watching these three students invent things and walk dramatically, I could not help but feel like my Duke experience was not captured in the 5 minutes of video. Because college is less like dramatic walks towards cameras, and more like dramatic walks of shame passed tour groups on Saturday mornings.
In this video, I saw no students wandering campus in pajamas, no x’s on hands, no frowns, no failures. All of the things that I’ll remember most about this campus, the life changing revelations, the tears, the stress, were overlooked. Now, tears won’t raise you a couple of billion dollars, which was the whole purpose of the shindig. But I just felt that the real personal growth of college was valued much less than the things that could be sold, the tangible accomplishments.
At the end of the event, as I brainstormed what to write for this piece, I finally arrived at the question that encompassed all of my discomfort with the promotional video as well as Broadhead’s speech. And it was: How do you own and/or sell chaos without seeming inferior? Broadhead talked a lot about the Duke experience. But what if my Duke experience was confusing? What if I failed compared to Duke standards? I couldn’t help but think of how the writer is valued within a society that tries to overcompensate. Questionable achievements meaning more than honest failures. I don’t know how to be without my failures, to write without them. I don’t know how to brag. And I feel uncomfortable admitting that here. I don’t know how to look back without seeing pain. I hope this is ok. I hope it is ok to leave this place with a different viewpoint of campus that will still be appreciated and heard.
As I graduate from Duke University, I want everyone to know that I do not have a job. I have no plan. I stumbled through this place with mediocre grades, depression and a cigarette habit that has gotten worse since high school. I have been broke for a good majority of the four years. I had a core group of friends but lost them. I’ve been in love three times and have had my heart broken all three times. I have been used. I have been stepped on. I have been unappreciated. I haven’t appreciated myself. I’ve smiled. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve wanted to quit. Transfer to a college in the city. Through all of this though, I’ve grown and I’ve learned and I’d like to think if I’d went to NYU, I would have figured all of this out and maybe been happier along the way. But I think my Duke experience was necessary for me to be the person I am today. Nowhere near perfect, nowhere near figured out, and with little to show except some blogs I got the courage to write my senior year. And I hope this is enough. I hope this still sells Duke to people, my Duke experience. Because I wouldn’t have been the same without those billions of dollars people and programs like DukeForward try to earn each year. Without my financial aid, I wouldn’t be one of the first people in my family to graduate from an elite institution and no matter how much I cringe when I think back on these years, that fact alone is enough to make me smile. So au revoir sweet Duke. You are the lover I never intended to love but here I am heartbroken nonetheless. You dirty bastard, you.
Oh and shameless plug, if you’ve read my like 5 blogs this year and enjoyed them and want to see me become a real writer or struggle to become a real writer, or read my drunken ramblings or haikus or shitty poetry, follow me on twitter. It’s the cool thing to do @DejaJontelle. Peace, love and hair grease. Besitos Dukies. :-*
Senioritis, the urban dictionary defines this crippling disease as one that strikes 2nd semester seniors, resulting in laziness, a lack of studying, and generally a dismissive attitude. The only cure for senioritis is graduation! For the past few weeks, I’ve been slowing, showing symptoms of this terrible epidemic. As the end of the year roles around, and I and my fellow seniors begin to make plans for after graduation, the mere idea that we are just weeks from graduation has begun to set in.
For the longest time, I lived in a state of denial. Not wanting to admit that on May 12th I would no longer be occupying my little dorm on East Campus, and would be moving to NYC for law school. In many ways my senioritis was not solely a symptom of no longer caring about my studies at Duke, but a way to avoid the conclusion of the school year. However, with LDOC just around the corner it’s safe to say that denial no longer works and I must approach my last few days at Duke head on.
I will miss Duke immensely. The city of Durham, the intensity of Cameron Crazies and Cameron on a game night, Jazz at the Mary Lou and Thursday at the Dillo, my amazing friends and all my super smart professors, long crazy nights at Perkins, and even these creepy inch-worms that hang all across campus. Undergrad has been great and not many people can say that. I didn’t want this year to end as I’ve been oddly nervous about leaving, but I am ready for new challenges, new people, and a new city. I can’t wait to see the amazing things my peers do upon graduation, and though my senioritis symptoms still subsist, I’m ready to embrace the little time I have left as an undergraduate student at Duke.
As I enter my last week of classes, I can’t help but to think back freshman convocation in the Chapel. Sitting in those brown wooden pews I listened to President Broadhead tell me and my peers about how amazing our classmates are and questioned why the heck we were sitting among them. I still thank clerical error in the Admissions Office. Anyway, many of us had incredible stories and accomplishments that seemed to define us. Olympians, authors, successful entrepreneurs. I shrank into my seat trying to figure out what I could say about me. I could only muster seemingly trivial experiences from high school.
In early March of this year, however, I found my answer. Permit me a short anecdote. I was on a job interview when the recruiter asked me one final question to be answered in Spanish. “Why did I choose to go to Duke?” I froze. Not because I couldn’t articulate myself in Spanish but because my mind flooded with thoughts on everything that I’ve experienced since coming to college – living in Belfast working on a Duke Engage Project, watching us win a national basketball championship in Cameron Indoor, rushing the football field after we beat Carolina, all nighters in Perkins, late night Cook Out runs, dancing salsa at Cuban Revolution on Thursdays, hearing John Legend belt it out in Page, studying in Madrid and traveling around Europe, Cruising with 200 members of the senior class on spring break, ditching class to go to the gardens when it was 80 degrees in February, section parties, Tailgate with a capital T.
So much has happened since stepping foot onto East, I couldn’t think of an honest answer. After I left, I realized I could have just told him I picked Duke for basketball and the weather. Oh well. Next time I’ll remember to lie.
The inundation of memories reminded me of sitting in that pew as freshman thinking on experiences that were momentous for me. Though I may not have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, I had a collection of small instances that impacted my life, which isn’t something I was conscious of at the time.
In the 18 years leading up to college, it is made to seem like the pinnacle of our education. It will be that final step that instills in us the skills necessary to succeed in life. The four years at Duke has taught me that a lot of that is crap. We stress about finals or papers, making them out to be a life or death situation. If your thesis doesn’t receive distinction, you’ll survive and graduate.
The hyper academic focus the administration is trying to adopt for the students does us a disservice. Had I wanted a school that forces you into the books day and night, I would have chosen the Ivy League. But guess what. Duke is not an Ivy League. College isn’t about putting my nose to the grind. It is about experiences, which is something Duke used to be cognizant of and is now losing. Everything I just mentioned are memories that I carry with me and collectively define my character. Notice how few are actually academic.
The past four years have changed our lives because of the things we’ve lived. College gave us experiences that supposedly help determine our spirit. We are not static now, however. The next four years and the four after that will also transform us. Academics have and may play a part in that, but it is important to see and do more. The parties in blue zone, late night chats with your friend, and finding culinary gems are likely to be more impactful.
So live every day like it’s college, experience, and change.
The Student Health Fee for Spring Semester 2013 EXPIRES at 5:00 pm on Friday, May 17th. This means that all Duke students who have paid the Spring Fee can continue to use the Student Health Center (SHC) through May 17th. Depending on your status at Duke, there are different rules that apply after that date. If you are:
Graduating on May 12th – After May 17th, you can no longer be seen as a patient at the SHC. You must find another source for health care. The only exception to this is if your SHC provider requests that you follow-up for a condition for which you were seen prior to May 17th.
Taking summer classes at Duke – Students who are taking summer classes pay the Summer Health Fee each term.
Summer Term I May 15 – June 27 $106.00
Summer Term II July 1 – August 11 $106.00
Summer Term I and II May 15 – August 11 $212.00
If you are taking classes for the first term or both terms, you can continue to use the SHC uninterrupted. If you are taking classes during the second term only, you must elect to pay the first term health fee to be allowed to use the SHC between May 17th and the start of the second summer term. Likewise, if you are only taking classes during the first term, you must elect to pay the second term health fee to continue to use the SHC throughout the whole summer.
Not taking classes, but staying in the area – Students who will return to Duke for Fall Semester but are not taking summer classes can elect to pay the Summer Health Fee, utilizing the SHC uninterrupted between Spring and Fall Semesters.
Prescriptions can be renewed at the discretion of the prescribing provider for up to 30 days after graduation (e.g. June 12, 2013). After June 12th, only returning students can have prescriptions written or phoned in by SHC providers.
Students may request that copies of their records be forwarded to other providers. Appropriate release will be required. For more information, visit our website: http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth, click on Forms & Policies and look under the “Clinical Forms” section. Alternatively, you may call 681-WELL (681-9355) and press menu option 6.
Contributed by Doris Iarovici, MD, parent of a college student
Apr 2210:14 am
Life with a college student in the family is full of change, but folding your child back into the family for the long summer break can be a surprisingly challenging transition. Whether they come home for the entire summer, or for a few weeks before an internship or travel abroad experience, or whether the family and student vacation together, things likely will not be as they were. As a college counseling center psychiatrist I’ve talked with many parents of students who encountered difficulties about the best ways to support their child when he or she came home, but as the mother now of a college-aged child myself, I see first-hand that all students and families must navigate new roles and patterns of communication if we’re to make the most of the times we get to spend together.
Most of us parents have stayed in place this past year while our son or daughter has been in college—whether for their first year, or for their last. For most of us, life has been relatively unchanged: same house, job, family configuration. But our child has experienced massive change and growth. Psychologist Jeffrey Arnett describes the time between ages 18 and 25 as “emerging adulthood,” a developmental stage which differs from both adolescence and adulthood. It exists mainly in industrialized nations where people delay employment and child-bearing, and is characterized by unprecedented change and role exploration. Your son or daughter has experienced significant residential changes, variability in friendships, romances, and other relationships, and new expectations regarding self-sufficiency. They’ve encountered worldviews that may drastically differ from the ones with which they were raised. They’ve made choices regarding how they structure their time, whether—and how—they are sexually active, whether and how much they use alcohol and other drugs, who their closest friends and most admired role models are, and what academic fields most interest them. Whether they’ve had to use counseling services or not, every one of them has experienced difficult or even overwhelming times this past year, as well as moments of great joy and triumph.
So how do we re-engage with our emerging adult across this difference of experience?
It’s helpful to remember that in surveys asking whether they feel “adult,” most college students answer “in some ways yes, in some ways no.” This “in-between-ness” characterizes the behaviors we see in our child when they return. But if we, as parents, treat them as we did when they were in high school, we’ll encounter major conflicts. One study of parenting styles and outcomes in emerging adults found that for both mothers and fathers, authoritative parenting—a combination of warmth/responsiveness, valuing autonomy, and clearly stated expectations—led to the best outcome: a healthy sense of self-worth in the child and a strong, positive parent-child relationship. Parenting that used punishment, verbal hostility, high control, or, conversely, extreme indulgence, led to depression and anxiety in the offspring and a poor parent-child relationship. (Nelson et. al., 2011).
Stay open and curious. Talk and listen! Your child has likely learned some amazing things and met fascinating people. Don’t just ask about their grades, but be interested in how classes went. Ask about what they learned, what they enjoyed, where they struggled. Students at Duke and other highly selective colleges fear seeming less than perfect; show interest in their wellbeing and their challenges as well as their successes. Remember that now is the time to collaborate rather than dictate; focus on maintaining your relationship, gradually reduce the amount of control you exert, and draw up new boundaries which acknowledge their increasing autonomy.
Emerging adults are trying on new roles regarding work, love, and worldview both as preparation for their consolidated adult identity, but also sometimes just for experimentation’s sake. For example, in the romantic realm, they may be both starting to think about life partners, and also experimenting with romance and sex via “hook-ups.” Similarly, not all summer experiences lead to an ultimate career path. It’s best to not overreact to any particular new path a student is taking, because likely it will change again soon. That doesn’t mean we can’t voice our concerns as parents when these arise—but to be heard, we must do this in dialogue, not in edicts. Edicts backfire, either in the moment with you, or later, when the student is again on his own.
Let them sleep, especially when they first get home, but then feel free to talk about their goals beyond just sleep for their time off. Plan with them, not for them. Focus on the present moment, and enjoy your time together. And if you do see signs of more significant problems: persistent low mood or continued oversleeping, significant weight loss, problematic substance use, or big changes in personality—please encourage them to get help. Feel free to consult with us at CAPS should you be unsure how to best do that.
--Doris Iarovici, MD Psychiatrist, Counseling and Psychological Services
Several recent incidents on Central Campus have raised concerns among students and parents about security. While Duke, including Central Campus, has a very low crime rate, we want to assure you that every incident gets our full attention. Student safety and well-being is our highest priority.
Central Campus has become a vibrant community and a popular gathering place for many at Duke. We introduced the house system this year, which afforded sororities the opportunity to live together for the first time in Central Campus apartments. Sophomores and other living groups were also added to the mix, together bringing a new level of student enthusiasm to Central.
In anticipation of increased activity on Central Campus, Residence Life and Duke University Police enacted enhanced security plans during the academic year, including:
• Increased presence of campus police and security auto and foot patrols assigned to Central Campus • Staffing at Anderson and Alexander bus stops for students who want a walking escort • Outdoor lighting improvements • Continued monitoring of “blue light” security phones
Discussions for further improvements continue. In the coming days, DUPD and Residence Life staff will be visiting a number of apartments to offer crime prevention tips and on-the-spot safety improvements where possible, such as locking bars on sliding doors. Residence Life and DUPD staff met just recently with DSG and Fix My Campus student representatives to walk around central and discuss concerns and possible solutions. A variety of security improvements are being explored to make campus as safe as possible, and further safety enhancements will be shared as they are approved and implemented.
Safety is a shared responsibility. Students can do their part by taking simple steps like locking their doors, keeping to lighted paths at night, walking in groups when possible, and reporting suspicious activity to police. The university will do its part by ensuring that police officers are deployed to areas of concern throughout the day, and that information is shared with students on a timely basis.
We welcome your questions or suggestions. We are here to help, and to keep campus safe.
Larry Moneta Vice President for Student Affairs
Chief John Dailey Duke University Police Department
No one warned me about the wall I’d hit senior year. I heard that I would reach a point when I’d just say screw it and do things for completion because I’m almost out the door. I have more important things to do like skipping class and sitting on the plaza with some friends and some of the finest Busch Light or walking to Ben & Jerry’s to get a scoop on free cone day. It’s LSOC (last semester of college – because Duke loves useless acronyms); I’m supposed to be on an emotional high and full of life. Yet whenever someone asks me, how I’m doing I reply, “not that great.” Which generally elicits the “BUT YOU’RE A SENIOR!” response, particularly from underclassmen.
Thank you for reminding me that I’m supposed to be in a perpetual state of euphoria. Sorry to disappoint. Of course there’s fun to be had in college, especially as a senior. Everything is a little heightened and more meaningful. Lunch of Wednesday could be and likely will be the last time I eat at the Law School Refrectory. Gotta capture that moment and feel it – the living nostalgia that makes me long for the memories I’m in the process of making. It makes me hyperaware of my reality and impossible for me to turn a blind eye to the rest of life. The job hunt, papers, readings, and meetings are annoying, but they’re nothing to lose sleepover. Weird, considering I can’t seem to manage more than two consecutive hours a night recently. And maddening because I couldn’t explain why, until the other night.
I had been trying to pinpoint the source of my insomnia, looking to blame anxiety from work, fear of graduation, angst from unemployment, and worry of missing out on my remaining time. They were the natural places to look, but a few nights ago I had one of those muddled dreams that makes zero logical sense yet somehow is loosely intelligible to my consciousness. Meaning I don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell in explaining it. I can say, however, when I woke up I realized looking for a single root cause of my mood was a mistake. Every problem that should be like a small breeze blowing against the fire that keeps me going has slowly compounded to create a gale force wind that extinguished my flame. I’m burnt out.
I’m tired of engaging in the same conversations about the Duke social hierarchy, the administration’s numerous shortcomings, people “not getting it or not paying attention,” and imagining what-if. I’ve heard the same canned dialogue since August 2009. I’ve learned a lot from it, but it’s time to move on. Those conversations, which are old and irritating to me now, shaped me. I’m sure I could still gain more from sticking around and listening to the same qualms, but I think I would grow more cynical and disillusioned. I need a clean break and to face a whole new set of conversations.
Which brings me to the classic question that a senior answers on a daily basis, “What are you doing with your life or in the real world?” Does it not baffle anyone else? Why ask me now? Why did you not ask me that question last year or two years ago? I understand the sort of response it’s trying to elicit, and that is exactly my problem. It equates life with work. Maybe it has escaped your attention, but the four years we spend at Duke are real. True, many of us may not have as many concerns or responsibilities as we will post-graduation, but the operative phrase is as many. We still face challenges and heavy situations here. Financial struggle, sexual assault, discrimination, death, and relationships I would say a more real than the impending “real world” that most people use as a misnomer for the workforce.
College has been real, and that’s why I’m exhausted. “I’M A SENIOR.”