With the end nigh, I find myself taking the long way home, unnecessarily driving or more accurately crawling up Chapel Drive. Soaking it up as it were. Enjoying the flood of years past washing to the front of my mind.
I’m not alone. Walking to blue zone yesterday, I ran into a block of my friends leaving just having paid tribute to Tailgate with key and can. They were strolling through the Indiana limestone arches visiting their favorite spots on campus. Their next stop: Bella Union, a place that makes living in Edens infinitely better (Few can keep Alpine).
For me, Bella is central to sophomore year. Early morning coffee, afternoon tea, late night espresso. It met all my stimulant-related needs. It was my go to for half-heartedly doing work. So naturally I spent most of my “study” time on that fourth floor of the tower. And by most I mean nearly all. I used the abundant life and foot traffic in Bella to procrastinate until closing. Midnight didn’t signify the start of an intense productivity, however. It meant the beginnings of virtual distraction and that my laptop stayed plugged in ‘til the wee hours of the morning.
Every time I went home during college my neighbor told me to find the balance. That is, find the healthy medium between being social and studious. Maybe I did or maybe I just tell myself that to not be upset that I stayed up until six in the morning more times than I care to remember. Even if I am lying to myself to live a synthetic happiness, my current reflection points to a concrete benefit from the “balance” I chose at Duke, which gives me solace.
While sitting in Bella at four in the morning, long after close, I couldn’t focus on my work. The mind wanders for want of diversion from exhaustion and misery. I questioned my choices that brought me exhaustion and blood shot eyes. Why hadn’t I done my work earlier? I usually realized or at least told myself it was because I was enjoying my life – talking to friends and trolling around. Of course I would then imagine the future years here and beyond. Going abroad, coming back, opening a bagel shop. The mind wanders without sleep. Though I often hated myself for being up so late, I found great happiness in my projected possibilities and reflections of the has-beens.
So I confess that my best thinking happened not in class or with my nose in the books but while procrastinating. Think about the conversations, the real talk, you’ve had with people long since the sun’s set. That’s where I learned the most in my time here. 4am in Bella – my greatest thinking happened while on the edge of dreaming.
Last week at WNS a fellow senior shared with me a confession of her own. She told her mother that she’s moving to Australia without any direction. But hey, minimum wage is $19/hr. She’ll be fine. Yet I could hear a level of guilt in her voice telling me that she thought her parents would be upset for “throwing away” her expensive schooling. She told them that she’s grateful for their sacrifice and that she will use this amazing education after she figures things out down under. If you ask me, she’s wrong. In uprooting, she is putting that education to use right now, more so than most of us. What is the point of pulling all-nighters writing papers if we can’t make that intellectual dexterity work for us?
My friend’s moving to have an extended 4am procrastination session of self-discovery. She is taking an extended ride up Chapel Drive. She is going to live on the edge of dreaming.
Please see the attached letter from the 2013-2014 Executive Board.
The Inter-‐Greek Council (IGC) is proud to announce the official change of its council name and logo (coming soon) to that of the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC). The decision was made by unanimous vote from the eight constituent members of the MGC to better reflect the diverse nature of our component chapters and to better align ourselves with peer institutions. Universities with such a large and diverse Greek life as Duke’s, and the chapter members that we are fortunate to have, normally operate under the title of MGC. The term IGC is reserved for the umbrella organization that facilitates cross-‐council interactions. Thus, the move was determined in part by the need to better represent our function and relationship to other councils and the administration here on campus.
However, while the council caters to cultural interests, it is not culturally exclusive. Our chapters attract members from across the demographic spectrum, resulting in groups that may draw up to 50% of membership from outside the historical demographic of that fraternity or sorority. Together, the eight chapters of MGC constitute around 12 percent of total Greek life on campus, and maintain a strong campus through the innovative and broad reaching programming of the following groups:
-‐alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority, Inc. -‐Delta Sigma Iota Fraternity, Inc. -‐Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. -‐Lambda Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Inc. -‐Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. -‐Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. -‐Pi Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc. -‐Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.
In recent years the MGC has continued to expand upon its ideals, showcase the diversity of its members, and increase cross-‐council connections though annual events like the Blaze the Stage Stroll Show—which brought over 30 chapters from across the four councils together in song and rhythm for a night of performance and celebration. In addition the MGC/NPHC Carnival has become the most well attended event at Duke’s First Big Weekend, reaching nearly 1,000 new students and upperclassmen as of Fall 2012.
Internally, the MGC has begun council-‐wide philanthropy endeavors in 2013 to better help our community and university, and we have just recently instituted mandatory PACT training for new members and exec boards in an effort to spearhead the cultural changes needed on campus for a more inclusive and safe student experience.
Under our new name and logo, the Multicultural Greek Council looks forward to continuing and expanding upon our relationships with the National Pan-‐Hellenic Council, the Inter-‐Fraternity Council, and the Panhellenic Association in the years to come.
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.
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